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How to get attention for your old, unanswered questions

I have seen this happen on SO multiple times:

As soon as a question is not a simple "what is operator overloading?" or "what are the hidden features of javascript?" or something that anyone can answer using google or basic knowledge, then instead of 10 answers in the first minute, the question often gets maybe 5 absolutely irrelevant (and sometimes wrong) answers during half a day and then the question goes away from the title page and no one else ever bothers to answer.

Like for example here: Patch an application I had to resist a strong urge to downvote all the answers here.

The poster did not get any good response to the original question because it may not have been phrased very well and there may have been some points that were not clear - and out of sympathy+my own interest in the subject, I have tried to rephrase and focus the question better: How to update application files using patching? - Not a single answer. Is the question phrased badly?

This IMHO nullifies the value of SO and shows the real attitude of most people here - gather easy reputation by answering easy questions while not bothering with the harder ones.

How to deal with this? By placing bounty on the question? I personally do not see this question bounty-worthy and it would only prove the point that people do not bother to put any effort in non-mainstream topics.

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marked as duplicate by Ether, ChrisF, perbert, mmyers, Jon Seigel Apr 12 '10 at 20:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1  
This is in the FAQ: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7046/… –  Ether Apr 12 '10 at 19:56
    
The first question you instance is simply a very, very poor question, and your rewrite isn't much better, simply wordier. –  nb69307 Apr 12 '10 at 20:05
    
exact duplicate? are you kidding?? I thought about meta as a friendly place to discuss what is going on on SO, not a place where questions get closed because they seem like duplicates...how can a discussion on meta be a duplicate? I understand that SO needs one answer for each problem in the world, but meta? Come on... –  Marek Apr 12 '10 at 20:38
    
meta is a lot of things. Sometimes playful; sometimes spiteful. Sometimes bitter and cynical; sometimes fresh as spring and full of magical beweaponed ponies. But the regulars here have been over this particular ground over and over again. As for those questions, "patch" is a word with many meanings. In particular are we talking a bout patching the source or the binary; patch in place (on the running process) or patch on disk and relaunch? Moreover, the OP was prompted multiple times to clarify what they wanted and was not clear. GIGO. –  dmckee Apr 12 '10 at 21:06

3 Answers 3

This IMHO nullifies the value of SO and shows the real attitude of most people here - gather easy reputation by answering easy questions while not bothering with the harder ones.

Not so. I go in for questions about C, some Java, Python and recently Git, as well as OpenMP. I have had some fairly involved answers and learnt a lot in the process. I will bother with the harder ones if I know how to answer and have done. Hard questions aren't asked every day though.

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Your actual "question" in that question was:

Are there any existing solutions to accomplish this?

If the simple answer is "no", and I suspect that it is, then your question is effectively asking people to come up with one, and that tends to be beyond the scope of regular "Q&A." You'd be asking for an entire library and yes, that is definitely bounty-worthy if somebody has to write one for you.

There are a great many of us who put a great deal of effort into answering obscure/complicated questions (and only receive a trickle of upvotes, to boot). I've spent upwards of 2-3 hours on some bounty questions because I found them interesting. So you might want to consider, before complaining about how lazy we all are, that if you're not getting any answers, it might be because your question is either not very good or simply asking for an unreasonable amount of effort.

Don't forget that a lot of people are probably posting from work, and have tiny little 5-10 minute windows in which to answer questions. If it looks like one is going to take an hour and a half to answer, then the best you can hope for is that somebody bookmarks it and/or makes a mental note to answer it when they have more time.

If it's that big a deal then start a bounty. I just looked at some of your answers and it looks like you've earned plenty of easy rep yourself, so you shouldn't be that upset about giving some of it away when you're asking for a significant investment of somebody's time.

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The question posted by me has a concrete answer and a decent solution (with its quirks) exists, I did not post it because I wanted to get some answers there unbiased by the fact that there already is some kind of an answer. The point is that people often just scan the question for keywords: Someone asking something about updates? "Let's post a link to ClickOnce" - as a result, all the answers below the posted question are equally invalid. –  Marek Apr 12 '10 at 20:36
    
@Marek: I really think you have no business claiming to know what other people are thinking or how they operate. Maybe they just don't know/care about the answer. If you already have an answer, then post it; self-answered questions are encouraged here. –  Aarobot Apr 12 '10 at 20:39
    
Incidentally, I happen to think that ClickOnce was a perfectly reasonable answer for that incredibly vague question, as were many of the other answers that were downvoted (presumably by you). –  Aarobot Apr 12 '10 at 20:42
    
No, I did not downvote a single answer there...I see all are downvoted now and as my answer has appeared there, the name calling can begin :) all five posters can come and downvote me in revenge :) –  Marek Apr 12 '10 at 20:50

Placing a bounty on the question can work very well. I would recommend sacrificing 150 reputation (with the 50 from the system it will reward the lucky answerer with 200).

It may also be a good idea to post the question at peak usage time, about 1700 hours (UTC) on weekdays.

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