This is mostly a follow-up/bump of noindex and nofollow "bad" questions?, but I have a slightly different proposal.

It's been pointed out by some people * that questions without answers get indexed in search engines, and that's annoying when you're searching for something and think you actually found an answer.

My proposal is to noindex questions that haven't got an answer yet. Perhaps in conjunction with adding the questions to an XML or RSS/Atom sitemap once the noindex has been removed, to let search engines know when they can index a question. Could that work?

Citation from one of some:

My experience with SE is limited, trying to find an answer to something a bit more technical than what I normally deal with. Seemingly somebody has asked the question on SE. Good.

Except there are all the threads not answered and closed for further discussion. Yo, moderators, if the question doesn't belong on your site then REMOVE the thread or mark it so it doesn't get indexed. Does me no good for find a question identical to my own and no answer.

I do understand poor questions get deleted, but perhaps the process is too slow?

Does anyone have any better suggestions on what would be a better way to avoid getting the "annoying/unanswered" questions indexed?

  • People are free to dislike your feature-request. – Tom Jul 28 '17 at 7:59

While I can see some advantages to this because it can be annoying to find unanswered questions I can think of several downsides:

  • Sometimes I've found useful information in the questions themselves. That happened to me recently when I couldn't work out the parameter format for an API call and I found a question where that section of the code was OK and the problem was elsewhere.

  • The same applies for comments, sometimes there's enough of a hint in there to be useful or rather than an answer at all it might just be something "x is a terrible way to go about it, use y instead".

  • Occasionally I've found questions to answer using Google, the question may be related to something I'm working on a that involves a related problem I've already solved or know the answer to.

  • An unanswered question (if of good quality) with a lot of views can be a good indication that it's a difficult problem and perhaps I should look at another way of going about things, or at least be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to it.

  • 1
    About the comment point: some question also got answered in the comments. These comments should be posted as answers, yes, but until that is fixed these question should be "findable". Also closed dupe questions with no answer should still work as a sign post to the correct answer. – Tom Jul 27 '17 at 14:37
  • But those questions don't need to be findable through search engines. – Oskar Skog Jul 27 '17 at 15:35
  • Do you have any suggestion on what would be a better way to avoid getting the "annoying/unanswered" questions indexed? – Oskar Skog Jul 27 '17 at 15:44
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    @Oskar Not really it's just really hard to imagine any automatic system getting it right. Delete votes of course manually fix it but as you've noticed the process is both slow and a lot of really useless questions do get left behind for a long time because they don't get enough delete votes. – PeterJ Jul 27 '17 at 15:51
  • Makes sense. No system is perfect. – Oskar Skog Jul 27 '17 at 15:53

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