31

Related: Remove questions with moderator tags from the Unanswered list (2011)


We currently have 425 wholly-unanswered questions marked . This is a problem for three reasons:

Many of these questions have perfectly-good comment-answers. It's not hard at all to find examples:

There are no juicy details this time ;) When closing the dialog, we were making the template (the top one) visible. This way, when showing the form next time we were showing the notification twice (the message and the template both)... This has been fixed in revision 2024.1.9.3159. — marrados ♦ 2024-01-09 11:00:33Z

That would be a perfect answer. A little anecdote about how the system works (so we know how clever the devs are who to blame), and the revision that fixes. But we don't really need perfect answers every time: all we need is:

  • A sentence saying “This has been fixed in revision 1990.1.1.0001.”
  • Enough documentation of the new feature to know what it is and how to use it.
  • A brief explanation of the resolution. (This is already happening 98% of the time.)

Going back through the historical ones is probably a waste of time. Could the bug report resolution procedure going forward include posting an answer?

12
  • 1
    Aside from the two reasons outlined at the start, a third reason is: "Retagging only is not considered "substantive"" which means that anybody who followed the post will not be notified about its change. If a comment is posted, then yes that will post a notification. However, not all status changes go with a comment.
    – VLAZ
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:16
  • 2
    I can't help but wondering whether a support question marked status-completed shouldn't be retagged as bug.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:19
  • @Glorfindel Many of them should be: if we count those, it's below 98% (in the past 5 years).
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:30
  • 2
    That filter you're using is bad. Theres's answered questions there (answered by staff) - just because someone doesn't accept the answer doesn't mean it wasn't answered. Also worth pointing out that a lot of stuff gets fixed without staff knowing about the MSE question. It's one thing if that's why they're fixing it - but it may not be. Sometimes people just flag for a mod to say "this seems to be fixed now" and it gets tagged as completed.
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:31
  • 1
    @Catija The filter considers positive-score unaccepted answers, too. I think there's only one false positive (a negatively-scored answer because people didn't like the answer), but I'll change it anyway.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:33
  • @Catija Well, it's not too far off: 425 questions with no answer at all rather than the 441.
    – VLAZ
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:34
  • 3
    Even the 425 - the first 50 get you all the way back to 2020 (based on ask date), and modified date gets you to 2021... so... like... I understand it's best practice but I think the (current) team is doing pretty well to have so few over the last couple of years. It seems like the larger volume of that count is significantly older.
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:43
  • 1
    To compare, the 50 most recently active answered status-completed questions only go back to September 2023. - meta.stackexchange.com/… in the same amount of time, there's only 5 unanswered.
    – Catija
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:46
  • @Catija Going back to 2020-01-01, that's ≈921 status-completed questions, and ≈65 unanswered status-completed. 93% isn't a low number, but 7% isn't small enough that I think it's not worth raising this: that's a lot of fake internet points going unearned. (It is small enough that I'd happily accept status-declined “we made a trade-off and this is it”.)
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:52
  • 1
    Another thing to consider is cases where there is cross site report/request and the staff reply in the per-site meta and not here, e.g. see this. Commented Jan 12 at 21:11
  • @Catija here's cross-site is:q [status-completed] answers:0 (3k results)
    – starball
    Commented Jan 13 at 19:23
  • 1
    Even disgregarding the ones that actually get status tagged, there's plenty of old meta Q's languishing across the network (with or without status tags) that have been addressed just from various upgrades etc. I earned ~30 Revival badges just from answering old Arqade Meta bugs/requests alone. Stuff like Modifying the blog or Mobile site features, both of which address deprecated features, are easy ones to knock off the board.
    – Robotnik
    Commented Jan 15 at 4:59

1 Answer 1

10

As a workaround, until such a feature is implemented, we (the ordinary users) can post an answer ourselves, like I did on So nice, we said it twice: "User is a new contributor. Be nice, and check out our Code of Conduct." now.

Some general guidelines:

  • The answer should be Community Wiki since it's not really you who fixed the bug. You can still earn badges for the hard work, but getting reputation feels wrong.
  • If a staff member gave an official reply in a comment, quote the reply, and give proper credit and link to the comment.
  • If there is no comment, you can post an answer like "This was fixed/completed on [date when tag applied here]" but please also try to find details in other posts which can explain when exactly and how the bug was fixed.
  • If a non-staff user leaves a comment saying the bug was fixed, then you can post an answer including the comment and information about the status tags, for example, as shown here
15
  • 2
    Related: How do I answer a bug report? Commented Jan 12 at 18:40
  • I tried to make a short community Wiki answer for the first unanswered question on the list, along the lines of your 3rd suggestion - and guess what - the system automatically converted that answer of mine into a comment. So I think this will require a little bit more effort
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Jan 12 at 20:44
  • 1
    @DocBrown what was the answer? I don't see it now even as comment so guess you deleted it. Anyway it was converted because it had link to different post, see this for more details about this feature. Commented Jan 12 at 21:17
  • @ShadowWizardLoveZelda: my first attempt was the first sentence of this answer. In my second attempt I added a second paragraph, and the system accepted it.
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Jan 12 at 21:27
  • ... still 423 question to go ;-)
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Jan 12 at 21:38
  • I have just reviewed this bug report with [status-completed] and I also checked all of the nine (!) linked duplicates. There does not appear to be any note from staff about fixing this bug. The last comment mentions that it looks like it is now fixed. Should we (as users) create an answer with that comment alone and the date that [status-completed] was applied? Or should we check more?
    – PeterJames
    Commented Jan 13 at 9:43
  • @DocBrown looks like the system detected your answer as "trivial answer" and converted it to a comment. Commented Jan 13 at 15:35
  • @MetaAndrewT.: obviously. The point is: suggestion #3 in this answer will not work when someone does not write more than the suggested sentence. It probably did not even work for the staff when there is a one-sentence comment saying "this issue was fixed" by a staff member - maybe they tried to write an answer which was converted into a comment.
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Jan 13 at 16:05
  • @DocBrown not really, it's converting only when there's also a link. If you link to comment or answer, you can also quote it and thus making the answer long enough to be considered non trivial. (Hopefully.) Commented Jan 13 at 16:12
  • Thanks for clarifying.
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Jan 13 at 16:14
  • 1
    @PeterJames thanks, this one was tricky so I posted it myself, it's under the third bullet in my answer here but I also added some details gathered from revisions. Generally, it's case-by-case, and better put as much info as possible when there's no official answer. Commented Jan 13 at 16:17
  • @PeterJames yes that is fine, thank you. (I tweaked it a bit, see my edit and the edit summary.) Commented Jan 13 at 18:13
  • I mean, presumably, since you're presenting a comment someone else made, any votes could be for the content of that comment. Is there a problem with it being voted on?
    – Kevin B
    Commented Jan 19 at 22:14
  • @PeterJames Note that the question as to whether users should answer unanswered status-completed posts has been discussed in the past before, where it was determined that such answers should add value and not just say "this was completed". Commented Jan 20 at 1:46
  • @Sonic thanks, I've made small edit to reflect that. I still think that even if there are no additional details, being as answer has enough value by itself. Commented Jan 20 at 7:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .