Since I have limited time to spend on SO, I want a way to be more productive in finding questions that could benefit from me answering them.

So, I'd like a way to filter questions, based on:

  • Older than specified hours or days.
  • No Accepted Answer ( hasaccepted:0 ).
  • Asked by a recently Active User.

And then sorted to begin with low answer counts and answer vote counts, so I can start with questions most in need of a response.

And of course, limiting what is shown to specified tags or keywords in the title.

So, this is probably something that can be obtained from the data dump, but I'm posting this for discussion because:

  • Someone might have already done it?
  • If not, I wouldn't mind some documentation on the Compose Query thing?
  • If anyone has feedback on better filtering for this?

It'd also be good to have this as a feature on SO itself, to avoid having to wait for monthly data dumps, (so after any discussion I may turn this into a specific feature request).

  • In addition to what fruits you might get in discussion here, you might want to check Stack Apps for any existing systems or to propose the construction of that to aid in your endeavor. Good luck!
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 17:42
  • Just flip to the "Unanswered" view and start answering stuff you know - chances are, if no one has up-voted the answers (criteria for appearing in "Unanswered") then you stand at least a shot at besting what's already been written... As for trying to target recently Active users, why bother? Chances are, they'll come back eventually, once they've slept or eaten or something.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 17:45
  • Shog, what I'd like to exclude is situations where someone has posted a vague question, and there are comments saying "please provide more info", and the user hasn't come back (here's one example: stackoverflow.com/questions/1744983 - probably krishna got an answer elsewhere and wont return to that Q ) - this is about optimising my time; I want to focus on helping people that are interested in learning. Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 18:04
  • well, those are usually pretty easy to recognize. I mean, they tend to look like crap unless someone's edited them, at which point they generally still look like a pig in a dress. But avoiding down-voted questions - and down-voting such questions when you do encounter them - can go a long way toward making everyone's life easier.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 18:41
  • Yeah, but I'm not sure how common downvoting is (and sometimes a question might not specifically be bad, but just needs more info), but I guess I'll find out more how common that is if I setup the above query/filter, and sort by question vote score also. Commented Jun 25, 2010 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


Set a bunch of ignore tags for those areas which you feel you have insufficient experience or interest to answer questions in.

The rest of your requests are satisfactorily handled by the sort order of the newest questions page, so I would start by limiting the tags you participate in.

You can also click on a tag to see the unanswered questions in that tag.

  • 2
    Ignored tags takes precedence over favourite tags - I've given plenty of answers in questions that I wouldn't have seen if I hid ignored tags. If I could ensure favourites were always displayed, and ignore wildcards, and not end up with a stupid long list of ignored tags on almost every page, then this might be more viable. Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 17:53
  • @Peter: That sounds backwards to me. Favorited tags should take precedence over ignored tags. I like the overall suggestion in your comment. Why don't you post it as a feature request?
    – user102937
    Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 17:56
  • Oh, and the other annoying thing about ignored tags is what you point out - experience vs interest. Even with the above improvements, sometimes I would want to see topics I have low experience in, to learn more, whilst still ignoring things I have no interest in. Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 17:57
  • I have a feeling it's already been requested and rejected - gotta go now, but I'll see if I can find it later. Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 17:57
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/36954/… to save @Peter the trouble of looking later.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 18:02
  • Thanks Grace. Good to see that hasn't explicitly been rejected yet. Commented Jun 25, 2010 at 12:22

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