What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 131 Stack Exchange communities.

The Question pages are not meeting my needs either as a question poster or as a question answerer. The problem is, when there's a long list of questions, my eyes go to the ones that have zero answers, and I see if I might be able to answer those first. That's fine, but once I do that, my eyes don't know where to go next. I just see a bunch of questions with one or more answer, and I have no way to prioritize.

What I want to know is: Which questions are still awaiting a correct answer. There is no way to tell this from the current Question page design. You either know that a question has been successfully answered (because it's marked as "answered") or you know that a question has some answers that may or may not be of any use.

  • As a question answerer, this is not enough information to guide my search.
  • As a question poster, this is frustrating because it means my question is likely to be ignored once someone answers it, whether the answer is of any use or not. The frustration is especially high when my question is urgent.

Proposal

  • Add a clickable graphic that lets me mark my question as "still seeking answer".
  • Alter the graphics in the question list so that people can visually distinguish questions still awaiting an answer from those that are either not being actively followed by the question author or are being adequately attended to.
  • The clickable graphic is only available for questions that have one or more answers, and only available for questions where no answer has been marked as "the answer".
  • If a new answer comes in or the question poster marks an answer as "the answer", the question is immediately unmarked as "still seeking answer".
  • If the question poster is actively checking the question, he/she can re-mark the question "still seeking answer" if the new answer is no better than the first one.
  • If a comment is added to a question or to an answer (by anyone but the question author) "still seeking answer" is unmarked.
  • If an answer is edited, "still seeking answer" is unmarked.
  • If a bounty is issued for the question, the question has not yet been marked as "answered", and the bounty has not been accepted, "still seeking answer" is automatically turned on.
  • After a certain amount of time has passed (an hour?), have the "still awaiting answer" expire. If the question poster is still actively pursuing the question, he/she can re-mark it.
  • If a question poster marks an answer as "still seeking answer" after the question has fallen pretty far down the list, bump it back to the top (a limited number of times).
share|improve this question
3  
What makes you think that users who rarely click to accept an answer are going to click "still seeking an answer"? The unanswered tab is probably your best bet - question with no upvoted answers. –  Adam Davis Jun 17 '11 at 20:05
2  
@Adam, The Unanswered tab is not filtered to my tags of interest, so I don't use it. Also, why the particular concern over users who don't mark to accept correct answers? I don't see anything wrong with adding a feature that will help only users who are conscientious about upvoting and marking answers. –  devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 20:13
    
Idea is good, +1, but I have to agree with @Brad Christie answer, that's why we have bounties and bounty hunters! –  joltmode Jun 17 '11 at 20:49
1  
@Tom, thx. The problem with bounties as that they have slow turn-around. What I'm addressing here is day-to-day usage of the Q/A system so that people can get the answers they need faster, and people wanting to help can direct their efforts optimally. Bounties really don't address this very well. I think bounties are for very tough questions that require a lot of effort to answer or are on an obscure topic. –  devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 21:02
    
agreed about bounties used for tough questions. –  joltmode Jun 17 '11 at 21:08

4 Answers 4

I think two days is too long a waiting period for posting a bounty -- I'm sympathetic to the I'm under a huge amount of stress and would like to transfer reputation for help point of view.

If bounties could be posted earlier, this need could be met.

But I don't want to overly penalize newcomers; I think some limits are fine, and maybe making the bounties more expensive would prevent every question from having a bounty. (We already get a lot of noisy comments Work on your accept rate; I surely don't want to invite You want to post a question without a bounty? good luck! comments too.)

I'd be quite happy with:

Any bounty must wait an hour.
Within the first 24 hours, bounty costs triple the points awarded.
Within the second 24 hours, bounty costs double the points awarded.
After the first 48 hours, bounty costs 1.5 the points awarded.

share|improve this answer
    
I don't think being able to post a bounty sooner is going to solve the problem I'm trying to solve. All I'm asking for is some kind of marker that lets people know that (1) I have not yet received a satisfactory answer, and (2) I'm on my computer right now anxious to receive an answer right now. –  devuxer Jun 22 '11 at 23:05

I see how you can rationalize the need, but I do not think this can be reliably implemented. Commenting or editing the question is the norm since that will bump up the question, just like most forums.

share|improve this answer
    
Could you please explain why this couldn't be reliably implemented. Are you saying it's not technically feasible? Or people won't use it properly? –  devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 21:29
    
@DanM: I do not think the code would be difficult, just that it would be used almost annoyingly like, people hitting the "I still need an answer!!!" button over and over again, causing artificial bumps. –  staticx Jun 17 '11 at 21:35
    
@Changeling, that's why I put a bullet in my proposal for limiting the number of bumps (which I think is how it works for things like editing your question, changing tags etc.--it bumps a certain number of times, but then it stops). –  devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 22:10
    
@DanM: Not necessarily, only if the edit or comment is deemed beneficial. What would stop a bumping war? –  staticx Jun 17 '11 at 22:20
    
@Changeling, now you've lost me. What do you mean "deemed beneficial"? By who? When I say bumping, I just mean that some questions are automatically bumped to the top of the list when you edit the question, change the subject, change the tags. If a new answer is provided or an existing answer is edited, this can also cause a bump. But I think there are limits to how many times the system will allow a bump to occur, at least under some circumstances. The system does not allow bumping wars. –  devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 22:26
    
@DanM: By the system. I just did a search on "bumping questions" on Meta and read a discussion on bumping messages. Basically, bumping is unlimited to a certain extent. –  staticx Jun 17 '11 at 22:27
    
@Changeling, in any case, what I'm proposing could be limited. This is a minor implementation issue, not central to what I'm proposing at all. –  devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 22:29
    
@DanM: Where is the incentive? What if questions received an automatic bounty (not counting against the user) after they have not been answered after 30 days? No "I still need an answer" button needed. Also the bounty would be set to never expire until the user accepts the new answer. –  staticx Jun 17 '11 at 22:31
    
@Changeling, you've already made my point. Bounties have slow turn-around. What I'm proposing is to enable quick turn-around. The idea is to get questions answered quickly, not in 30 days. Imagine you're working under a deadline and you need an answer ASAP. A bounty is not going to help you. (That said, I like the idea of a "free" bounty after 30 days, but that's a solution to different problem.) –  devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 22:36
    
@DanM, ugh, there are too many low-quality questions that never quite get deleted that certainly don't deserve a magic bounty after 30 days; old unanswered questions are often unanswered because they are poor questions. –  sarnold Jun 21 '11 at 23:59
    
@sarnold, Please don't focus on the bounty idea. That was a tangent that has nothing to do with what I'm proposing. –  devuxer Jun 22 '11 at 23:00

If a user is still looking for an answer to their question, and the existing answers aren't working, they will comment on the other answers, edit the question, or post a follow up with their new knowledge.

I honestly don't see a "market" for this since there are so many existing mechanisms to take care of those people, and, quite frankly, the UI is already cluttered with different voting options.

share|improve this answer
2  
In my experience, people will often answer a question then disappear. They may not notice a comment for hours. I agree that clutter could be a problem, the feature does not need to be prominent to be useful, though. It could be in the same area as "start a bounty". –  devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 20:33

I must say I agree, though I believe this is what the bounty was intending to capture/repair. If a question is that important/worthwhile to you, offer up reputation in return for a response.

On the same note, I'd personally like to see a "not the answer I was looking for" kind of flag I can attach to answers to my questions (weighed by reputation). Though they may be perfectly valid answers, they may not fit my purpose (too heavy in code, need additional libraries, must conform to a design method, etc.)

share|improve this answer
3  
+1 for "not the answer I was looking for" –  joltmode Jun 17 '11 at 20:47
    
see my comment to Tom above re: bounties. –  devuxer Jun 17 '11 at 21:09
    
@DanM: I agree with you. I have a question that I'd like to have an answer on prompty. I've followed the due process, offered up a bounty, and still await a response. I feel like it's a competition for SEO; if your question doesn't make it to the "viewport"/first page, you won't get much attention. I'd even settle for a "expert exchange"-esque feel and offer subscriptions to bump questions (though I hesitate as this goes against everything SO stands for, IMHO). –  Brad Christie Jun 17 '11 at 21:16
    
Thousands of questions are being submitted an hour. The same problem would affect "Unanswered questions". –  staticx Jun 17 '11 at 21:40
    
@Changling: oh yea, forgot that google has a difficult time prioritizing advertisers and overlapping keywords. oh wait, no. no, they don't. And thus bidding was born. (i.e use reputation to bid for visibility when you find your question merits immediate attention--beyond the 500 cap, & sort by bounty as a standard.) –  Brad Christie Jun 18 '11 at 5:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .