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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.

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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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