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I have asked several questions and the persons answering have low numbers for the "score." Because they have answered they may have kept those who might have seen an unanswered question and read it. I think because a question has a couple of answers it keeps others from even looking (they like to not waste time and help the unanswered questions.) Yes this an assumption.

For example, I asked a question and someone with 23 clearly said they didn't understand but then answered (wrongly) about my question. Now the question appears to have an answer, though unaccepted, and I believe will keep others from looking.

Maybe a threshold per question could be set for what you think is an appropriate number of "skill points" for the answerer. Yes I know someone with 13 might have the answer but SO is big enough that there are a lot of range of folks so many answers would still come and more likely quality answers. SO is so big it's getting harder to get that. Obviously, this is IMHO. No personal offense intended.

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How else are people going to get rep if they don't post answers to questions? Asking questions will get you points, but it takes a lot longer –  ChrisF Sep 30 '10 at 18:19
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... And people will complain that you're asking too many questions instead of answering. –  mmyers Sep 30 '10 at 20:39

5 Answers 5

Protection can be used to prevent users with 14 or less reputation from answering.

That said:

  • No, people aren't discouraged by questions that already have an answer. Especially if that answer has a negative vote count. (Hint: downvote.)
  • No, you can't trigger protection yourself. It's meant to, well, protect questions that get a lot of activity straight from Google by users that mistake the Answer button with the Comment button.
  • No, the threshold one is a horrible idea. StackOverflow is all about removing barriers when asking and answering; adding a reputation barrier for normal question is just missing the point.
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thanks. I like a threshold better but am thankful for anything. –  johnny Sep 30 '10 at 18:07
    
I disagree but thank you. –  johnny Sep 30 '10 at 18:11
    
Regarding your first point: People won't notice that an answer has been downvoted if they never click on the question. A question that has one answer still shows up as a question with one answer on the new question list if that one answer has been downvoted. And yes, I do believe that people are less likely to look at questions that already have an answer. I know I am. –  sepp2k Sep 30 '10 at 18:22
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@sepp2k: Usually the main reason why people don't look at your question is its title. IMHO. –  badp Sep 30 '10 at 18:27

Unanswered questions are those that have no upvoted answers. When you ask a question, vote on the answers as you see fit (up, down, or not at all). If no one upvotes the bad answers, your question will still appear on the "unanswered" list.

Also, please note that reputation is not a measure of skill. There are plenty of unskilled users with a fair amount of rep, and vice versa. Reputation is a measurement of the contribution you have made to the site, and the extent to which the community "trusts" you. (I have >10K on SO, and have left my share of crappy answers)

Stack Overflow is already too unfriendly to new users. If we start allowing people to set a minimum rep level for answers, we'll really start to drive people away.

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Does anyone actually use the Unanswered list, though? –  mmyers Sep 30 '10 at 18:28
    
@mmyers - good question. If it's not used enough, perhaps we need a different way of highlighting unanswered questions. –  user27414 Sep 30 '10 at 18:29
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@mmyers: Seriously? That's the only list I look at, most of the time. Is there a better one? –  Robert Harvey Sep 30 '10 at 18:32
    
@Robert - I hadn't looked at that page in ages. I didn't know they added "my tags". That's WAY more useful than the regular "questions" page! –  user27414 Sep 30 '10 at 18:34
    
Where is "My Tags?" I don't see it. –  Robert Harvey Sep 30 '10 at 18:36
    
@Robert It's the first tab on the unanswered page –  Michael Mrozek Sep 30 '10 at 18:46
    
@Michael: Ah, yes, I see it. All of the questions now have that telltale peach tint. :) –  Robert Harvey Sep 30 '10 at 18:53
    
@mmyers: Only when I'm bored enough to take another crack at necromancer. I swear someday I'm going to get that badge. Someday. –  dmckee Sep 30 '10 at 19:07

If everyone protected their questions from new users, there would be no way for new users to get rep so that they can get privileges on the site (like voting answers, for example).

The only way new users would be able to earn rep is by asking questions, and we all know how the community feels about that.

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Most high rep users don't look through unanswered questions they look at active questions.

So, if your question creates discussion then it has a better chance of being looked at by high rep users.

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This situation is adequately addressed by bounties. If you want more attention for a question that doesn't have satisfactory answers, put a bounty on it.

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