One site statistic available through stackexchange.com or area51 is the % answered. On some sites, many unanswered questions get deleted after a month (if downvoted) or after a year (otherwise). Are those questions accounted for in the %answered?

For example, on Expats, it appears 70% of questions are deleted due to not getting answers (NB: the 70% estimate may be in error). The answer rate is supposed to be 84%. The two numbers do not really compute. How is this answer rate calculated when many questions get deleted, such as under the RemoveDeadQuestions and RemoveAbandonedQuestions directives?

I think it matters, because a site where most questions get no attention at all (lots of ?) does not provide a good user experience. If, for example, only people who answer a question upvote the question, then the answer rate of questions will trend toward 100%, even if only a minority of questions get answered at all.

Deleted questions are not taken into account (on Ask Different, we have over 40k of deleted questions, which would skew our numbers likewise), but a good question is: what exactly does % answered mean?

I've written a SEDE query to find out; logical candidates are:

  • questions with answers
  • questions with upvoted answers (i.e. the criterion for not ending up on the 'unanswered' tab)
  • questions with upvoted or accepted answers

However, none of the three percentages (84.3, 79.45, 74.52) match the 82% shown for Ask Different on stackexchange.com; it's somewhere in between. For Expatriates, all percentages are significantly lower than the advertised 84%. I don't think it can be explained by a sudden surge of answers since last Sunday when SEDE was updated.

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