There are various ways to find unanswered questions on a site, but all those ways come to totally different results and I'd like to understand why this is. Note that I am very well aware that under some circumstances SE defines "unanswered" as having no upvoted or accepted answers. I'm not here to discusss this notion and its advantages. In this question I am concentrating solely on questions with no (undeleted) answer at all. Also forgive me if this is actually a duplicate, but I'd like to reach a somewhat exhaustive conclusion on the matter here.

So let's take a look at how we can find questions with no answer and let's take this site here (including the different numbers at the time of asking):

  1. 'Questions' section, 'unanswered' tab: 8,074.
  2. 'Unanswered' section, 'newest' tab: 7,868.
  3. 'Unanswered' section, 'no answers' tab: 7,823.
  4. searching for is:question answers:0 closed:no: 7,832.
  5. searching for is:question answers:0: 15,238.

I know that some of those things ought to be different, e.g. 2 has more than 3 because it includes 0-score unaccepted answers, and 5 has more than 4 because it includes closed ones. However, I included those queries here to maybe see some correlation to other queries, but there is none. For example why is 1 different from all of 2, 3 and 4? What are the additional conditions those different queries operate under?

And last but not least, what is the best and most reliable solution to find each and every non-closed undeleted question that doesn't have any undeleted answers, disregarding any question votes or whatever?

  • 1
    Your #4 is the answer to the question in the last paragraph. Two remarks: you may want to add locked:0 because you can't answer locked non-closed questions (luckily there are few of those). The parameter is:question is unnecessary when your query includes answers:0; the latter already implies you are searching for questions.
    – user259867
    Mar 4, 2015 at 17:56

1 Answer 1

  1. 'Questions' section, 'unanswered' tab: 8,074.

This is the section for questions that have no answers with score > 0. So some of the questions do have answers, but they have a score of 0 or less. Also, it excludes closed questions.

  1. 'Unanswered' section, 'newest' tab: 7,868.

This tab have the same content as the above one but excludes questions with score <0. Therefore the number of questions in this tab is smaller than the number of question of the above tab.

  1. 'Unanswered' section, 'no answers' tab: 7,823.

This tab has questions with no answers at all (question score is, again, > -1). The number of questions it this tab shows is therefore smaller.

  1. searching for is:question answers:0 closed:no: 7,832.

Works almost in the same way as above, but also includes questions with score < 0. This is the best way to find you are looking for and the most accurate.

  1. searching for is:question answers:0: 15,238.

Questions with no answers, but, unlike all the previous variants, includes closed questions.


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