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We are considering replacing the Unanswered top level tab, with Review.

eeeeeeeek

Still pending are a few performance tweaks, but once that is done we would like to make the switch.

The trouble is that there is functionality many people depend on, unanswered my tags no answers and so on.

We have the unanswered lists on the tags pages, but it is not a complete replacement.

If / when we replace unanswered with review, what should we do about the current top level unanswered pages, where should they go?


Jeff complains I never frame my questions properly. This question is not asking if we can remove functionality. It's a simple UI one about where to move functionality and how to eliminate duplicate functionality.

So here you go, a frame -- see any duplication here?

enter image description here

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[Needs more sword.] –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Mar 25 '11 at 3:29
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Thanks a lot for posting this in advance! :-) –  Hendrik Vogt Mar 25 '11 at 9:05
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I downvoted because I use this - only this week I found some unanswered questions on SO and answered them. If this goes, how will I find those questions? –  Wikis Mar 25 '11 at 11:46
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hands @waffles a [Precognitive] badge –  Yi Jiang Mar 25 '11 at 12:27
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Ok, so do I upvote this for asking us first, or do I downvote it because I think it's a bad idea? I hate dilemmas. –  Marti Mar 25 '11 at 21:57
    
From ladybug to squirrels? Do you have the shotgun loaded with pesticide? –  random Mar 25 '11 at 23:09
    
"I've got a Eeeek feeling about this!" –  M'vy Mar 26 '11 at 0:36
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Well, Unanswered is the button I use the least and I have trouble finding review sometimes, so I recommend not changing anything. –  Gabe Mar 26 '11 at 3:23
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Presumably, /unanswered will be available (as /review is now)? –  jgbelacqua Mar 26 '11 at 3:33
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I didn't even know there was a Review page until now. –  keithjgrant Mar 26 '11 at 6:05
    
Great, now they even start to meta eeeeking on meta... what's next? –  Toon Krijthe Apr 5 '11 at 6:05
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I have the privilege to edit any image made with free hand circles, I decided this needed help so I modified it. Be afraid... very afraid –  Jacob Apr 5 '11 at 23:03
    
Damn, unanswered is pretty much my SO homepage and I could care less about review...would love to see this be configurable or something –  kekekela Feb 7 '12 at 18:47
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10 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Instead, is there any reason why we can't/shouldn't place it in the header with "tools"? After all, they're both similar in principle—moderation equipment.

We decided to go with this for now.

At 200 rep, a review entry appears in the top menu; at 10k rep it switches between tools and review. We be link to /review from tools as well.

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Why don't you give the tools link a drop down, like the one next to the profile, and it can have the review link in it. It can also have links to the tabs of the 10k tools for the 10ks, and tabs of the mod tools for the mods. This would give us access to the review page off of any page, and not add another button.

I agree with the other answer that the Badges functionality doesn't need to be in a button like that, though it may be good to draw attention to it for new users, so they will see the incentives sooner.

Please don't remove the Unanswered tab functionality, I may not get to it much, but I like to cruise it every now and then looking for low hanging fruit.

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"This question is not asking if we can remove functionality. It's a simple UI one about where to move functionality and how to eliminate duplicate functionality." –  Grace Note Apr 5 '11 at 18:40
    
@Grace, yes, I got that, I wanted to add another voice to make sure they understand how some people still like it. There is no duplicate functionality going on though. The 'No answers' tab is different than the 'Unanswered' button. –  Lance Roberts Apr 5 '11 at 18:41
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Yaaawn... old news :)

enter image description here

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yes but you are a freakish outlier. And I mean that in a good way. Mostly. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 5 '11 at 5:20
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Most meta-heads are. And I guess I'll take that as a compliment. Mostly. –  Benjol Apr 5 '11 at 11:26
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I'm hesitant that this should be done at all—does it really make sense to place a moderation tool as one of the five big buttons that new users see right away? I feel like it may scare them away as SE being too complicated—"Wait, I have to review things?!!! What kind of site doesn't have moderators do this job?"

Our goal should be to encourage users to see what the site is about at a glance—placing various angles from which one can see if the site is right for them—"Oh! I like getting rewarded—the badges concept seems really cool. Maybe I'll stick around and participate". /review doesn't really do this job too well, but Unanswered does—it lets people jump in right away and make meaningful contribution (flagging posts just doesn't feel the same).

Instead, is there any reason why we can't/shouldn't place it in the header with "tools"? After all, they're both similar in principle—moderation equipment.


Jeff and Sam are making some arguments for replacing Unanswered, but it still feels like it shouldn't belong there. The primary concern seems to be that not enough users will visit it, so let's actually just try it in the header for a few weeks as a test—if there isn't enough improvement, then we can replace Unanswered. Right now, it's hidden completely—of course not enough people are visiting it.
And to actually answer the question, why not use the .subtabs class used on the profile pages. You know, these ones:

image of subtabs

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it's not a moderation tool –  Jeff Atwood Mar 25 '11 at 1:48
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@Jeff Technically, you're right. But it feels like one to people who have never used the site, and it's still janitorial work, not actual knowledge contribution. –  waiwai933 Mar 25 '11 at 1:50
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tools are hidden and people often do not visit. review provides some extra needed attention to first time users of the site, so you can upvote the awesome new users and deal with the less awesome ones. –  waffles Mar 25 '11 at 5:16
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@waffles I see your point, but removing "unanswered" in favour of it sounds a bit massive. Is the majority of users really going to be more interested in "review" than "unanswered"? How about placing "review" in the bar to the very top, next to "faq"? It is kind of full already, but might be able to hold one more item –  Pëkka Mar 25 '11 at 10:34
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fundamentally we do not have an unanswered question problem. When was the last time you saw someone complaining their question went unanswered? We do, however, have some fairly severe quality problems. –  Jeff Atwood Mar 25 '11 at 10:37
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@Jeff okay, fair point. However, I often see new users talking about how they use "unanswered" to have some chance of finding questions they can answer - because most new questions that come in are dealt with so quickly by the experienced users. It shouldn't be entirely out of reach for a new user IMO –  Pëkka Mar 25 '11 at 10:39
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@Jeff how about doing the replace as planned, but instead of removing "unanswered", moving the functionality that it currently offers (My tags, newest, votes...) to a third navigational level underneath the "unanswered" view in the "questions" tab in order to keep it accessible? –  Pëkka Mar 25 '11 at 10:42
    
@Pekka: You might want to upvote my shorter answer then :-) –  Hendrik Vogt Mar 25 '11 at 13:31
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@JeffAtwood: 1. Yes, /review is a moderation tool, since its purpose is to quash bad input and improve mediocre input. 2. The reason you don't have an unanswered question problem is that there are people who answer them, why make their life difficult? –  Gilles Mar 25 '11 at 21:41
    
@gilles even before we added the unanswered button -- can you remember back that far? -- we didn't have an unanswered question problem. –  Jeff Atwood Mar 25 '11 at 21:43
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@Jeff That was a long time ago, before the site was so large. I don't think we can apply that history to present day. Anyway, I updated my answer with a proposal to just try /review in the header for a few weeks, just to see how it goes. And actually answered the question. –  waiwai933 Mar 26 '11 at 1:51
    
@waiwai: See also my shorter answer. –  Hendrik Vogt Mar 26 '11 at 8:11
    
@Hendrik I'm not in favor of your idea because it means that new users who aren't logged in won't have any way of getting to the main badges page quickly. –  waiwai933 Mar 26 '11 at 22:46
    
@waiwai: I meant my shorter answer. I don't like my longer answer that much anymore myself. –  Hendrik Vogt Mar 26 '11 at 22:48
    
@Hendrik Which is essentially a more general form of my answer... what observation do you want me to draw from it? –  waiwai933 Mar 26 '11 at 23:04
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I suggest it's time for a more significant redesign of the site navigation. Lots has changed since the early days. I agree the "unanswered" link does not need to be where it is any longer. I also agree that the "badges" link doesn't need to be up there (we don't need no stinking badges).

Lots of the great new features (especially the tag-related features) are a little hard to discover. If everything was rethought as a whole, we could have a leaner, easier to navigate site.

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This is a bad idea for two reasons.

The “Unanswered” tabs (filtered by tag or not) are very useful for people who have knowledge to contribute but little time for it¹. This is the demographic you need to work the most to reach and retain: not the people who have a lot of time on their hands (they'll stick anyway, even if the UI is suboptimal), and not the people who don't have much knowledge to impart (their contribution is less important). They certainly deserve a big button.

The review page shows the possibly-bad stuff that the community should moderate. That's not what you want to show to newcomers. The review page should not be easy to find if you haven't logged in (i.e. there shouldn't be a big link to it from the front page). In fact, I don't think it there should be an obvious link to it until you reach the comment reputation threshold, if not the downvote threshold.

On the other hand, there definitely should be an obvious link to /review at least on / and /questions. At the moment, you have to read Meta.SO to find out about it, right? I can't see a link even in the 10k tools. I propose to put review where the 10kers have tools; 10kers can have both.

¹ I bookmark the “Unanswered” tabs for the sites where I participate as an answerer infrequently. With U&L's growing traffic, I might switch to it even there eventually.

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not talking about removing functionality here, its about organizing stuff so it is more consistent and adding functionality –  waffles Mar 25 '11 at 23:00
    
@waffles: I have nothing against removing unanswered under Questions. What I want to keep (both for the functionality and for the UI) is the big Unanswered button. –  Gilles Mar 25 '11 at 23:10
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Or make it per-user definable, like the tags? That is, each user can select the tabs they want and how many (we've all got different screen widths).

Since content and UI are separate and UIs are becoming more and more configurable (look at the flexibility in Wikipedia skins and languages), is this really a big problem?

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I am pretty strongly against user customizable tabs, its a cop-out decision from our part. It means we are too weak to make a decision - which in effect confuses users. –  waffles Mar 25 '11 at 23:03
    
@waffles - that's your interpretation. If you own a shop and offer the customer six brands of washing powder, is that a cop out because you don't believe in only one? You can have a default UI but make it easily customisable. –  Wikis Mar 26 '11 at 16:26
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In general, I would always say that removing functionality, even if it is perceived as not widely used, without providing an alternative way to achieve the same thing is a retrograde step.

The Unanswered tab is a good feature. I do sometimes trawl back through the old questions to see if there's anything worth answering. That's not to say I use it all the time (or even very much at all), but I like the fact that it's there.

However, the way it's currently structured isn't great. You've got four tabs:

[my tags] [newest] [votes] [no answers]

So... what if I want to only see questions with no answers and also filtered by my tags? And possibly sort the results by votes? The above tabs don't help with that.

I would suggest a good replacement for the Unanswered page would be to add some filtering options on the main questions page (or possibly add a "Filtered" tab to the main questions page, which would provide the filtering options). The user could then specify exactly what he wants to see. It would be more flexible than the current Unanswered tab (although don't make it too flexible, or it just becomes too hard to use for an average user).

This idea would allow you to drop the Unanswered page without dropping any functionality; in fact, it would increase functionality.

As for the Review page that you want to put in its place on the page layout.... well, you do already have a link to it on the main page, when there is anything to review. But that's certainly not all the time, so when there isn't anything to review, what would happen to this new button?

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There's currently a link to the review page somewhere? Really? (That's not a facetious question, by the way.) –  Marti Mar 25 '11 at 21:47
    
@Marti I think he's talking about the suggested edits indicator, which is shown to 10k users if there are 5+ edits in the queue, and leads to a subtab of /review –  Michael Mrozek Mar 25 '11 at 21:49
    
@Michael, yes, that's what I was talking about. –  Spudley Mar 26 '11 at 10:09
    
@Marti: There is a discrete link in the badges list for the badge related to flag weight. –  MrHen Apr 5 '11 at 20:43
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Maybe it's possible to give the "Unanswered" subtab some sub-subtabs. (I'm not sure if the design allows that.) Then "my tags", "newest", "votes" and "no answers" could go there. In my opinion, having "Unanswered" both as a tab and as a subtab is a bit confusing anyway.

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One possibility would be to replace the "Badges" tab. It is the most static of the main tabs, and I myself rarely use it. Moreover, I see several places where one could link to the "Badges" page:

  1. At the top, the badges shown right next to the username could be made a link. (OK, this doesn't help new users without badges.)

  2. In the user profile, the " Badges" could be clickable.

  3. On the front page, the "Recent Badges" could be clickable.

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I agree with this. "Badges" is certainly less important than "Unanswered" to the mission of the site, and I've always wondered why it was so prominently featured. As a profile-specific item it was out of place, and I've even found myself looking at my profile first when I want to determine what badges I have, then remembering this is part of the top bar. –  Brad Larson Mar 25 '11 at 17:21
    
At present I use the Badges button only to get to the review link in the badges descriptions. I don't have edit privileges and this has seemed the only way to get to the new answers/new questions/low quality posts. –  Chris Walton Mar 25 '11 at 21:41
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strongly against removing badges, if anything we should make the badge tab more of a destination. its a key part of our sites. –  waffles Mar 25 '11 at 23:04
    
@waffles: The more upvotes my idea got, the more afraid I got that you'd say that, and I understand what you mean. Still I thought it was worth throwing that into the discussion. –  Hendrik Vogt Mar 26 '11 at 8:06
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+1 for making badges next to username clickable - never understood why rep was clickable and badges were not. –  Jakub Hampl Apr 4 '11 at 23:50
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