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When I go to apple.SE, the default sort is Active, showing questions that have been modified recently. But many of these are old questions that have been bumped by Community Bot with the reason

This question has answers that may be good or bad; the system has marked it active so that they can be reviewed.

I'm not interested in these questions. Is there a way to filter them out? If not, consider this a feature request.

Or maybe this shouldn't change their modification date, and it should just send a notification to the asker so they can accept an answer.

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  • Yes, please. So often it just dredges up un-actionable posts -- there are couple of answers, OP asked a single question X years ago and hasn't shown up since. Not like it's magically gonna get an accept by getting bumped.
    – Dan Mašek
    Commented Jun 10 at 18:26
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    ...right, the notification/bump should be for the OP, not for literally everyone else. Commented Jun 10 at 18:37
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    The questions don't get bumped to remind the OP to accept an answer, they get bumped to get the attention of all users so they can evaluate the answers and either up- or downvote them. Once somebody voted on one of the answers, the questions won't get bumped anymore. Commented Jun 10 at 20:08
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    @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz I realize that's what the message text says, but it seems like a waste.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 10 at 20:09
  • I don't think it is a waste. It helps to remove posts with a good answer from the list of unanswered questions and thus helps users find questions which are still in need for an answer. Commented Jun 11 at 7:59
  • @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz Do we have metrics on how often it has actually worked as you describe, though? Like, an upvote / accept / new answer within x minutes of bumping? I'm already envisioning a SEDE query, assuming PostHistory must have some record of the bump. I don't doubt that it helps in some cases, I just wonder if it's a net positive with how annoying it can be (at least for me) to try to work out why a post got moved to the front of the line. That said, I typically use Newest and not Active - except for here. Commented Jun 11 at 13:34

1 Answer 1

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No, there's no way for a specific user to filter these out on the front page. There are some site settings that can be adjusted to adjust how frequently the bot bumps posts and how often a specific post can be bumped. Before I get to those, though, I'm going to say that I understand the frustration but y'all have the power to address the situation in a way that most askers do not.

I've explained this in depth on several sites - here's a link to the one on Meta Stack Overflow. Please understand, while you may believe there's nothing you can do, there are, in fact, many things you (or someone else on the site) could do. To quote my MSO answer:

The first thing worth considering is whether you have the domain expertise to judge the questions and answers - if not, then it's probably best to leave it for someone else to review. Let's assume you do have that expertise:

  1. Look at the question first - is it a good question and not a duplicate?
    • Yes! (go to 2)
    • No! You have two options, you can do one or both of them:
      • Close - closed questions will not be bumped. (requires more than one person)
      • Downvote - negatively-scoring questions will not be bumped. (most effective if post has a score of 0)
  2. Look at the zero-score answers one at a time and repeat as necessary.
    • If you can confirm the answer is good and correct, upvote - if at least one answer has a score of >= 1, the question will not be bumped.
    • If you can confirm the answer is low quality or incorrect, downvote - if all answers have a score <0, the question will not be bumped.
    • If you are unsure, skip. Best not to vote if you can't adequately judge the answer.

The steps above apply to the degree you have the privileges to act, of course.

Yes, askers can accept answers but that assumes they are capable of determining whether an answer works - and that they'll ever re-visited the site since asking in the first place. Notifying someone like that is kinda pointless.

Not getting any feedback on the answers is also problematic because you end up with a site full of unverified Q&A just sitting around getting stale. Most of the time, if a site has a lot of questions being bumped, that's an indication of poor community engagement/health. Hiding the content by never getting eyes on it exacerbates the issue.

If a site is attracting a lot of questions that aren't getting closed when they should be, that indicates issues with too few close voters. If answers typically considered not an answer (comments, "me too", etc) aren't being deleted, that's a concern, too; as is having insufficient voting on answers, good or bad.

What was that thing you were saying about site settings?

The most applicable site setting that can be adjusted is the one that prevents the Community bot from bumping a post if there's one already visible in the most recent n posts. There's a list of sites with this settings changed here on MSE.

I would refer sites interested in considering this to the discussions on Android Meta and Arts & Crafts Meta for situations where the request was approved and rejected, respectively. These give some insight into what a site should address in a question if they believe this setting should be enabled. In the Android request, you'll also find some recommendations on how to address very old questions in this state, particularly about tech that may no longer be supported.

What's unlikely is that this would be changed on a network-wide basis, so if someone thinks Community bumping is too onerous on a specific site, they need to start a discussion on the child meta of the site where they feel it needs adjusting. In the near term, though - try to reduce the volume of eligible questions as best you can through other means.

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  • Agree with most of this, but not with Notifying someone like that is kinda pointless. A post with 0-score answers doesn't always mean the OP disappeared. Many new users ask their question, get the answer, and don't understand the customs of up-voting / accepting. The system used to assist in shaming users for not doing that, but now there isn't really any way for them to learn about that behavior, except the shaming that might still happen manually and - gasp - reading. Commented Jun 11 at 12:32
  • To that end, I think it couldn't hurt to add a notification for the OP in addition to bumping the question for everyone else. Something in the inbox like "Your post, blah, was signaled (or something like that, certainly not flagged). Could it already have answers for you to upvote or accept?" For the type of user you're talking about, it will just be ignored (just like they'll never notice the bump naturally), but for the rest, it might actually spur the OP to do something. Commented Jun 11 at 13:18
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    I'm not sure how sending them a notification every 120 days is going to get them to do anything. They do get notifications when they get new answers, comments, edits, etc. They also get emails explaining "you got an answer, now what?" and whatnot. Most of the posts being bumped are years old, not asked in the last few days/months.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 11 at 14:27
  • They got those e-mails years ago, too, then? What would a reminder in the top bar hurt? The worst that happens is they ignore it (or never see it because they never log in again anyway). Except I understand that it defies the typical "the system is already designed perfectly; how could we possibly entertain any changes whatsoever?" response. Commented Jun 11 at 14:40
  • I... uh... actually don't think the system is anything close to "perfect". The fact that I've had to explain this on at least 4-6 sites shows that it's not. But, in this situation I generally find that it's an education problem rather than an issue with how the platform functions. Sure, notifications could be helpful for some cases I don't necessarily disagree with that but any platform has to balance notifications with outcomes and risks.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 11 at 15:14
  • Think about it this way - consider an asker who is active on the network but maybe not on that specific site. They get periodic inbox notifications about a question they asked. They are annoyed by the notifications. Maybe they have the association bonus but nothing else. There's an answer on their question but it doesn't work for them. They can't downvote. They can only upvote or accept or flag the answer - or leave a comment. If the answer doesn't work, upvoting or accepting would be sending the wrong signal. Flags shouldn't be used on "wrong" answers. So they're stuck.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 11 at 15:17
  • Maybe they do have enough reputation to downvote and they already did - but someone else upvoted the answer, leaving it at 0 score. Alternatively, the opposite - they upvoted but someone else downvoted and the answer didn't fully solve their problem to warrant being accepted. They're still powerless and being notified constantly. Imagine they have several such questions. The reality is, while the asker may have valid options, the community members are the core judges who are supposed to be acting to validate whether questions and answers are good, not the asker.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 11 at 15:20

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