66

Wikipedia has a "Random article" link on the front page that makes it easy for people to start exploring. It would be interesting to have something similar for Stack Overflow, perhaps with an additional (optional) constraint for "unanswered" questions. This might help eventually provide some attention to long-forgotten questions that weren't lucky enough to get an answer when they were new.

  • Now with all the various sites getting created due stackexchange/area51 I've even more the desire to find a random question button somewhere (like Wikipedia as mentioned already). – mark Jul 14 '10 at 19:44
  • Interesting idea. Where would you propose placing such a button? – Pops Jul 14 '10 at 19:52
  • As an aside: since november 2010, the Stack Overflow homepage has some random component: We also mix in a few random questions from the last 3,000 — 10% (9) for logged in users and 20% (18) for anonymous users. – Arjan Feb 18 '11 at 16:30
  • I'd love to see something like this somewhere - I find myself trolling the suggested updates queue to get some element of randomness, but the question quality there is decidedly lower... – Krease Jan 14 '14 at 17:25
  • It could be also interesting to have a possibility of showing random question with restriction to tag or set of tags (for example, your favorite tags). – Martin Apr 22 '14 at 6:19
  • I just asked this same question on meta.stackoverflow.com without realizing it was already here. meta.stackoverflow.com/q/287769/2065237 – Sildoreth Mar 10 '15 at 22:16
23

I've created a random question app. It doesn't have many options yet, though.

  • Cool! I look forward to continued evolution with some filtering options. :) – Greg Hewgill Sep 29 '10 at 3:59
  • How about something options to show questions that have no answers, and another to show a question with no accepted answers. – Zoredache Jan 26 '11 at 3:32
  • 1
    @Zoredache: Not possible with the API (my app picks a random page). – Gelatin Jan 27 '11 at 16:49
  • @Zoredache: Added with the update. – Gelatin Feb 23 '11 at 0:37
  • This seems to also bring up closed questions (at least on SF, it supplied serverfault.com/questions/249252/…) and as well as questions that have been migrated off: (unix.stackexchange.com/questions/19908/…) – Aaron Sep 16 '11 at 21:54
  • Recently discovered this and have been using it regularly - how can we update it to have ability to exclude closed questions? – Krease Feb 10 '14 at 6:27
20

Suggested enhancement for this:

  • Limit it to questions in my "interesting" tags
  • Limit it to questions I haven't answered

I don't think it would need to be limited to questions I haven't seen as that would be expensive.

I like the idea of finding a random question which I may well be able to answer, but haven't done yet...

  • 18
    are there any questions you haven't seen? – Wikis Aug 13 '10 at 17:17
4

Now with all the various sites getting created due stackexchange/area51 I've even more the desire to find a random question button somewhere (like Wikipedia as mentioned already).

3

This is definitely a good idea. I was looking for a feature like this on PPCG when finding questions to answer (on PPCG, we normally aim to answer questions in as many different programming languages as possible and to give as wide a variety of answers as possible, so having answers already isn't a reason to stop paying attention to a question, and interface features that suggest that adding extra answers are a bad idea are counterproductive).

The most obvious user interface implementation I can think of for this is to add a "random" sort order on lists of questions. That way, you could find a random question in a tag, a random unanswered question, etc. with very low user interface overhead.

However, I'm not sure if it needs developer work to implement. You can already do this fairly easily simply by picking a sort order of your choice ("oldest"/"newest" and "active" both work well), then looking at how many pages of answers there are, picking a random number between 1 and that number of pages, and navigating ot that page. As such, this could be easily implemented via a user script, or even simply by URL editing by hand.

2

Here is something more lightweight than a userscript: a simple bookmarklet that takes you to a random post on the site you are currently on.

If the post happens to be a deleted question and you don't have 10K... too bad. Press again.

2

Alright, here is my improvement on this:

Search refining

  • Minimum votes
  • Unanswered/Answered
  • Age
  • Tags (up to 5)
    • Include all tags
    • Include any tags
    • No other tags
    • Exact match
  • Max. search results
  • (Stack Exchange only) Sites to search from

Output

  • The page with your search results (best matches first)
  • A back button, to refine your search
  • Maybe a "Was this search result what you were looking for?" to improve future searches

That's all I've got. Edit if you have something to add.

1

The Community user does randomly poke old questions, but that relies on you refreshing the main page to see them.

  • But it does this rarely. Isnt it only like a few a day? – Josh Hunt Sep 25 '09 at 6:39
  • @joshhunt - true, but it answers the question ;) – ChrisF Sep 25 '09 at 8:07
  • it is several per hour, from 1 - 4 depending on the website. – Jeff Atwood Oct 5 '09 at 0:26
0

Couldn't you just refresh the front page and see a random list of new questions?

  • 12
    Since when was the front page random? – Zoredache Jan 26 '11 at 3:31
  • @Zoredache since it's Friday in Iceland. – Shadow Wizard Apr 20 '15 at 14:49

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