On Stack Overflow we see a lot of "answers" to old questions that are of the form:

Have you got a solution for this yet?

Usually where the question has no other answers.

This, of course, has the effect of bumping the question to the home page where it gets more views and might even get a real answer.

It also has the effect of causing the answer author a temporary loss in reputation due to the down-votes it inevitably receives (until the answer is deleted) and, more importantly, NAA flags which we mods have to clear up. If the user does this enough they'll even end up with an automatic answer ban due to the number of low quality deleted answers they have provided.

To stop the bad behaviours but still retain the possibly beneficial bumping would it be possible to have a "bump" option on question. This will add the question to a queue and if it gets enough bump votes from other users Community will bump the question.

Obviously a user can only vote to bump a question once, or at least once in a long while, to avoid people continually trying to bump the same question.

I'm not sure how many votes would be required to initiate the bump, certainly more than one, but certainly not too many otherwise the option would be virtually useless.

Also, we'd probably want a "I'm having this problem too" button right next to the "Answer" button (thanks. Christian) as it's most likely to be new users unfamiliar with how SE works who add such answers. By putting the option right in their faces we should be able to get them to use it rather than the answer box.

  • Also, does bumping actually help in getting an answer? I should expand on my research here; I still owe Peter Mortenson an answer to this comment. – Glorfindel Nov 27 '18 at 12:05
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    Final thought: if the Community users keeps bumping at the same rate, preferring 'requested' bumps but falling back to 'random' bumps if there are not enough requests, the annoyance level of the bumps won't increase and I only see advantages to this proposal. – Glorfindel Nov 27 '18 at 12:10
  • @ChrisF I think it is a great idea, I think it would be good if around 3-5 votes to bump it in the homepage, and it would be an instant bump if it were by a moderator or a gold badge tag user. I think it is a good idea to only bump the same question once a month and if were by moderator or gold badge tag, possibly every few weeks. I also possibly suggest a bump privilege only being put in for users with around 50-100 reputation. – Stack Exchange Tornado Nov 27 '18 at 12:17
  • @Glorfindel that's a good idea to keep the bump rate the same, but pick questions from the queue rather than "looking" for ones as it does now. – ChrisF Nov 27 '18 at 12:26
  • I think just looking at old unanswered questions already has an affect on the bumping. When I search through old question for one to answer, I often see that unanswered questions I visited during the search, get bumped a few hours later. – samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz Nov 27 '18 at 12:57
  • But would that actually help with the problem you mentioned? I doubt those answers come from people sorely missing a bump feature and conciously choosing to post a non-answer instead, rather than people not knowing how SE works and doing a classic forum post on the thread. I doubt they'd be aware of a bump option. – Christian Rau Nov 27 '18 at 16:57
  • @ChristianRau well, we'd need something like a "having this problem too?" button. – ChrisF Nov 27 '18 at 17:05
  • Well, such a button is itself not a bad idea, even if just as a trap that...doesn't actually do anything. ;-) (Of course then it should at least reload the page upon pressing or something else to distract from the answer box.) – Christian Rau Nov 27 '18 at 17:11
  • @ChristianRau maybe redirect to an appropriate help page (or to Yahoo! Answers if you're in an evil mood ...) – rene Nov 27 '18 at 17:23
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    Sounds like what you really want is for the ordering mechanism on the homepage to show more older (unanswered) questions attracting upvotes recently, rather than the existing formula which is very strongly biased towards recently active questions. – Servy Nov 27 '18 at 19:52
  • I think this would be a good answer here. – Pika the Wizard of the Whales Nov 28 '18 at 2:05
  • @publicstaticvoidmain - I'm not looking for something that only experienced users can do. This is for new users to avoid them posting non answers. – ChrisF Nov 28 '18 at 10:55

I like the idea of users being able to influence Community bumps (on one of my sites we could do with more variety among the bumpees), but we shouldn't increase the amount of bumping or enable abuse. I suggest that we allow user input to nominate unanswered questions that otherwise qualify for bumping.

The current rules for Community bumps are (emphasis mine):

The linked post says it's a random choice from the top 100 qualifying questions. It's an old post; I don't know if that's still the number.

You're describing (and I've seen, too) cases where the question has no answer and somebody types in the answer textbox to ask about it. Unanswered questions don't currently qualify for bumping, probably because the intent of bumping includes reviewing possibly-neglected answers that, if upvoted, would move a question off the "unanswered" tab.

But bumping is also meant more generally for community review. It seems reasonable to allow users to nominate non-negative-scoring, open questions for bumping. Sometimes those questions are hard but interesting, and bumping them is valuable. If the questions aren't actually good, bumping will probably produce either downvotes (won't be bumped again) or edits (fixed, yay!).

Proposal: clicking on the "I'm having this problem too" button (or whatever the UI affordance is for "bump please") on an unanswered eligible question adds the question to the pool from which bumps are chosen. It stays in the pool until bumped or disqualified. If it's already in the pool, additional votes don't change anything -- so the risk of abuse is low, and the "expected value" is that you'll probably see the bump in the next 2-3 days (no guarantees). When it's bumped, it has to wait 30 days (like current bumped questions) before it can be bumped again.

Meanwhile, clicking that "I'm having this problem too" button (on any question) could generate a pop-up notice (like the kind you get when you try to vote but can't) that points to the help topic what should I do if nobody answers my question?.

I'm saying "I'm having this problem too" button because the question suggested it, but that's just a placeholder for some sort of not too invasive, but still noticable UI to be determined. Whatever it is, it should be near the answer textbox. This is a high-level sketch, not a design.

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