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Apart from questions that are so horrible that they get closed, do easier questions generally get more activity (upvotes on the question, upvotes on answers, number of answers) than more difficult questions?

I suspect this is the case, but I could be imagining it. And it isn't axiomatic that easier questions would get more activity - in theory some users could decide to ignore questions that are too easy for them.

(For the purposes of this question, "difficult" means that you'd have to have a lot of knowledge or do a fair amount of research in the topic to answer it, rather than the question being "difficult" because it was badly written)

This isn't meant to duplicate The bike shed problem and SO - that's saying "how do we fix the problem?", while I'm asking "Does the problem exist, or am I imagining it?".

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I observed this too, although from the answering viewpoint: Why do I get more votes for simple answers? –  Paŭlo Ebermann Jun 27 '11 at 16:52

3 Answers 3

And it isn't axiomatic that easier questions would get more activity - in theory some users could decide to ignore questions that are too easy for them.

This is technically true, but not what happens in practice. Even if some users do ignore questions that are beneath them, there are plenty of users at that level who pick up the slack. Look for a rudimentary question, like how to sort arrays in PHP, and see how many people post the same thing at the same time -- that one has 9 answers within two minutes of each other (one person recognized that 9 identical answers isn't particularly useful and deleted theirs)

This isn't to say those questions get upvoted -- they usually get downvoted by people saying "LOL JUST READ THE DOX", not that that stops those people from also answering for the free rep. The questions that do get upvotes are the bikeshed ones you referred to, although SO has gotten much better about killing those questions lately. The top questions from the last 30 days are all Reddit-linked, so that messes up the stats a bit, but the top question from the last two days is Protecting executable from reverse engineering?, which is a standard "please list all the ways for me" question. I whined provided valuable feedback about the vote disparity in Any way to fix the vote disparity between poll questions and regular questions?

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No, I do not think so, but YMMV. See this simple question (granted I had to do some heavy editing to keep it from getting closed): c# - Dynamically created table and adjusting TextBox length

But there is heavy activity in the C/C++ tag for well-worded and good questions that are simple so that may be what you are seeing. That's just my observation not scientific fact.

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Yes, they do. More precisely, from my informal observations, questions that are easy to understand (but not so trivial that they attract anger at the asker for not having done basic research) tend to have more views and more votes. They also tend to have more answers, but not necessarily better answer quality overall.

This is comparing low-attention with medium-attention questions; high-attention questions (the ones with hundreds of votes) tend to be the ones that were tweeted by someone with a lot of followers or otherwise attracted attention off-site.

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