Why is the Community user always poking unselected questions and not unanswered questions? If we assume that answered (but not selected) questions to unanswered, then - what about the questions which are really unanswered?

For instant, take our Physics.SE. For the past 4 months, I haven't seen a question like this one (asked recently) poked by the Community. But instead, I see a lot of questions like this one (asked just yesterday) bumped into the active box. The question was poked by Community today.

What's so special that a question asked recently (having some answers) is bumped in front. But, a question asked several months ago (thereby making the author earn the "tumbleweed" badge too), having no attention at all (not poked by the community either). If so, then - Is it the actual definition for unanswered questions here in SE?

A sidenote: I try to poke some of these questions (not all) by retagging, revising, etc. But, I can do it more than once (thereby making unwanted edits). As community could do the poking job, I'm just asking a though...

  • I think it is probably related to this one. As I'm a way too bad in English, I can't get the irony answer directly :-) Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 16:47
  • Non-accepted, you mean?
    – Arjan
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 16:51
  • Related, on the blog: OK, Now Define “Answered”.
    – Arjan
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 16:51
  • @Arjan: Err... Sorry - By "Non-accepted", I really meant the questions where the answers are not chosen as the best answer. Feel free to ping me if I wrote something grammatically incorrect or I'm wrong somewhere. Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 16:57
  • ...but you wrote "unselected". So, as you tagged this as a feature request, the title should probably read "Make Community only poke questions with zero answers". Also, who are you quoting? (Or are you just abusing > for formatting?)
    – Arjan
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 17:15
  • By the way: I'm fine with the current definition of "unanswered". A question that has some non-upvoted answers might actually indicate that people found it worthwhile trying to answer, while a question without any response might just be a bad question, not worthwhile poking at all.
    – Arjan
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 17:23
  • @Arjan: No Arjan, I just ask the community to add the real-unanswered questions into the poking... Ok, I agree with your second comment. But, there are questions (liked by other users) and got upvoted (like this one) but still haven't got a single answer. What do you say about that? Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 17:38
  • 3
    Why are you quoting yourself in the middle of the question?
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 17:42
  • So, I guess you did not read the link to the blog?
    – Arjan
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 17:55
  • @CrazyBuddy Sorry, I miscommunicated; I wasn't accusing you of promoting yourself in any way, all I was saying was that the blockquote in the middle doesn't need to be a blockquote.
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 18:44
  • 1
    @CrazyBuddy You seem to have deleted some of your content in the process (accidentally perhaps).
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 18:48

3 Answers 3


This specific case doesn't have anything to do with the random bumping of unanswered questions.

What happened was that someone dropped by to give the gift of spam (10k+ on Physics link, but there's a screenshot below):

Spaaaaammm in the duuuuungeooonnnn

Looks like the user was destroyed, so all their posts when with them and the deletion in that case is attributed to the Community user. (Deletion via spam/offensive flags is also attributed to Community ♦, but it also locks the post, which didn't happen here.)

This is why the question appears to have been last modified by Community♦. It was. It's just that you need above 10,000 reputation on the site to see what exactly happened.

As a side note, if this answer were deleted by other means, the last activity should use the username of the answer's author even though you wouldn't be able to see the answer without the aforementioned 10k.

In general, the Community user bumps older questions that either have no answers at all or have no accepted or upvoted answers. It happens periodically and somewhat at random - not everything that fits the criteria will always get bumped to prevent swamping the front page with old unanswered questions.

  • 1
    That wraps it up then. I didn't know answer deletions bumped questions though, seems kind of pointless.
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 19:18
  • 3
    @Asad They don't, it was the posting of the answer originally that caused the bump, which isn't "undone" by the deletion.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 19:20
  • So, It was my misunderstanding then... Thank you Anna. Err... I thought of adding the tag "status-bydesign". But, something struck me that it should be done only by high rep. guys :-) Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 19:20
  • 1
    @CrazyBuddy Something like that: only mods can add [status-xyz] tags.
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 19:23

You're half right and half wrong: Community doesn't bump/poke questions with "accepted" answers, but it doesn't bump posts only because there's no accepted answer. It bumps them if they're considered "unanswered", which to SE means no accepted answer or no answers above a score of 0. So if a question has 10 answers of zero score it's unanswered, or if it has an accepted score of -10, it's answered.

See also Why does the "Unanswered Questions" tab show questions that have answers?

  • I didn't know that. Why did this question get bumped then, despite having two answers with a score greater than 0?
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 18:11

I do not believe Community is actively avoiding questions with 0 answers. You seem to be taking an isolated case and trying to extrapolate a trend from it, which yields flawed conclusions.

Unanswered questions are questions that have no accepted answers. Community periodically bumps a random (note emphasis) unanswered question that does not have a sufficiently low score to be ignored1. The question you linked to has a chance to get bumped, the fact that it didn't does not indicate a problem with Community's bumping algorithm.

1: To quote this answer:

Questions with sufficiently low score will not be bumped when either they or their answers are edited. The "sufficiently low" threshold is -4 on SO and new SE sites, and -8 on MetaSO (as of Aug 25, '10 -- see Grace Note's comment).

  • It's not just questions without an accepted answer. It's questions without an accepted answer and without an answer with a score of 2+. (I can never remember if it's 1 or 2. Pretty sure it's 2.) The point being that accepting is optional, so if there's a reasonably upvoted answer on the question we consider it answered anyway.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 18:49
  • @AnnaLear That is confusing, since the blog post says it is any answer with at least one upvote makes the question answered. Especially since the answer that the OP linked to was bumped despite having an answer with a score of +2.
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 18:52
  • Go with what the blog post says then. I must be remembering wrong. :)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 18:54
  • That said... I don't think Community pokes everything. If I recall right, there's some randomness involved, although considering how my memory has held up here so far, this is probably not very trustworthy. I'll have to check.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 18:55
  • @AnnaLear Yes, the Community user does poke randomly. The problem we're having is figuring out why this question with upvoted answers counts as an unanswered question.
    – user200500
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 19:07
  • meta.stackexchange.com/a/160711/155160. Sorry about the confusion. I should've read closer in the first place.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 19:17

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