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.
I've created a random question app. It doesn't have many options yet, though.
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...
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).
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.
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.
Alright, here is my improvement on this:
- Minimum votes
- 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
- 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.
The Community user does randomly poke old questions, but that relies on you refreshing the main page to see them.
Couldn't you just refresh the front page and see a random list of new questions?