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Who asks the hardest to answer questions on SO?

And what's the best metric for this? questions with no answers? fewest answers? longest delay in answers?

Oh StackDB gurus, what say you?

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closed as not constructive by Al E., Rory, Brad Mace, jonsca, Toon Krijthe Aug 14 '12 at 7:27

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Why does it matter how hard a question is? What matters more is how useful the answer will be to some. If the question is too easy (obvious) than the answer is not useful (because anyone experienced should be able to know the solution off hand). But sometimes questions are difficult because they apply only to a specific audience. A question that is less difficult but which, once answered, is useful to a greater number of people, is of more value. – Billy ONeal Apr 18 '10 at 6:02
Sure... But SO is unique in being a large Q/A set for which the database is available. It's interesting to see (a) what the "graph" of difficult questions would look like, and (b) what those questions would be. – Mark Harrison Apr 18 '10 at 8:16
Worth noting: . On the other hand, this may not be the greatest metric. – gobernador Aug 13 '12 at 20:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

This question itself is THE most difficult question to answer. Thus, Mark Harrison is the person who asks most difficult questions.

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I have to agree with your logic. Every question Mark Harrison asks, I do not know the answer to! – Mark Harrison Apr 18 '10 at 21:27

There are some people with epic rep who barely ask any questions. I assume that these people only ask questions if they really can't solve something themselves and so they'd tend to be very hard

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This seems to be the most logical way to do it. – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Apr 18 '10 at 4:27
I don't know about that; I asked a question yesterday that turned out to be trivial - I simply hadn't seen the method that did the job. As always, I was very happy to find the problem answered in minutes. – Marc Gravell Apr 18 '10 at 10:06
Someone could have gained epic rep in one field (eg Java) but be asking an easy question in something unrelated (eg SQL Server). So I think you'd have to look at questions with a particular tagset which are asked by someone with badges gained in that tagset. – Gary Apr 19 '10 at 6:33
My rep isn't "epic", but my answer-to-question ratio is 37:1, and my two questions aren't answered yet. I accepted an post with a workaround, but which did not explain why. Not sure if my two questions are hard, or if they're just exotic/strange. I hate to admit defeat, and asking for help is the last resort. – Mads Elvheim Apr 19 '10 at 8:35
I have 399 answers (10,007 rep from them, which I guess is epic) and 1 question (10 rep from it.) The question was very hard - I couldn't answer it - but it got a great answer from an insider. And it was in "my" tags. – Kate Gregory Aug 13 '12 at 19:33

It took 33 people to successfully answer this question, and the accepted answer isn't the highest voted answer either. 44 people have favorited it, nearly 200 upvoted the question.

I suspect there's probably no easy way to measure the hardness quotient of a question.

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Joel obviously asks the hardest questions :) – Earlz Apr 18 '10 at 6:35

I don't know if this is the best metric, but this is my metric:

  1. Take the most complicated subject. (C++)
  2. Make a list of users with a gold badge in that subject.
  3. Find the user with the highest rep on the list.
  4. If they don't ask questions in that subject, take them off the list and go back to #3.
  5. This is your answer.

The answer via this process is technically paxdiablo, but of his 50 questions only 1 is C++, so if we skip him we get Neil Butterworth and litb. My gut answer was litb, but Neil certainly asks more questions. I haven't looked at them though.

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Step 1 on your list is awfully subjective. – ЯegDwight Apr 18 '10 at 8:33
I don't think any of my questions are particularly hard, and about half of them are polls. – nb69307 Apr 18 '10 at 8:47
It's not the language that determines complexity, it's what you're doing with it. I can write hello world in C++, and I can figure out the sum of every third prime number that has a 3 somewhere in it up to 50,000,000 in python. Easy to say which is more complex :P – Phoshi Apr 18 '10 at 12:02
Also I'm willing to say that the typical Assembler or APL question is more complex than the typical C++ question :) – Michael Stum Apr 18 '10 at 13:31
@Phoshi, @RegDwight, @Michael Stum - In terms of language design and complexity, C++ is widely recognized as a monster. You never see questions about Assembly syntax, and Python has no virtual methods, private/protected/public inheritance, or template metaprogramming to throw people off. – Super Long Names are Hilarious Apr 18 '10 at 17:25
@Length Limits on Names are Stu: Oh, I'm certainly not disagreeing that c++ is a complex language, but that doesn't make the QUESTION complex. – Phoshi Apr 18 '10 at 19:50
There are no complex questions, only complex people...? – Adam Davis Apr 18 '10 at 20:46
@Phoshi - Have you read litb's questions? – Super Long Names are Hilarious Apr 19 '10 at 21:07

One can say the hardest questions can be considered the worst asked questions with no code examples or details where a PhD in Mind Reading is required to have any shot of answering the question.

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