I asked a question almost as soon as I got my account. I got a few decent answers, but none of them helped solve my problem. The question has long since become buried by newer questions, and there's still no accepted answer. Unfortunately, because there are quite a few answers with votes, to a casual observer it probably looks like the question was answered and I just neglected to mark an answer as accepted, and the system does not consider it "unanswered".

Or, I asked a question that was a bit more difficult to answer. After waiting for some time, I received no answers, little or no comments, and only a few views. The question does show up in the "unanswered" list, but no one has answered my question.

In either case, what's the protocol for me to try to get this question answered? I see several options:

  1. Post the question a second time, possibly linking to the original, to get attention for the original question. This is encouraged on sites like Reddit. However, it's probably not appropriate here, since we're encouraged to check for duplicates and not submit a question that's already been asked by someone else, so this probably falls under that heading.

  2. Wait for some kind of wiki-like talk page to be implemented, then post a plea on the talk page for input and hope that activity on the talk page bumps up the question.

  3. Edit the question, but do nothing further on the Stack Exchange site. If I edit my post to say that I haven't accepted any of the current answers but am looking for more, then the question might get answered eventually by people browsing through old questions to find something they can answer.

  4. Post the question on other sites, but link to my original question on Stack Exchange. People will either answer here, or they'll answer on the other site and I can post the accepted answer here myself. This might be considered spamming, so it might be better to do this without the link.

For more information, see the "What should I do if no one answers my question?" page in the Help Center.

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  • 74
    There's a corresponding issue with good answers to old questions not getting voted up. At least right now, most of the attention is on the newest questions - this is the "fastest gun" problem.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Sep 22 '08 at 2:12
  • 41
    Maybe this should be its own question, but I wonder if awarding more points for upvoted/accepted answers on posts older than a certain age would be helpful.
    – devuxer
    Jul 22 '09 at 1:11
  • 81
    It would be funny if this question got ignored and forgotten about.
    – Troggy
    Jul 22 '09 at 20:39
  • 22
    @Jay Bazuzi: Yeah, I noticed that, too. My great answers only get little upvotes, because it takes some time to research and write, whereas my trivial answers get many, because they were fast. Actually I noticed that I often first answer with one link or a short code snippet first and only then edit my answer to add some text around it.
    – NikiC
    Jul 31 '10 at 22:32
  • 10
    I would suggest to add the ability to mark a question as "unanswered" once for every question (and after a certain period since it was posted). This would bump up the question with a special color/sign to let people know they have a reason to look into it.
    – Elist
    Jun 21 '13 at 8:35
  • @TrooperZ Bounties are expensive, however. Maybe unanswered questions should be shown on the home page.
    – Anonymous
    Feb 21 at 23:50
  1. You can "bump" your question by editing it to provide status and progress updates resulting from your own continued efforts to answer the question yourself, or to explain why the existing answers didn't work. I usually do that unless I really hit a dead end with no further clues to follow. Sometimes I eventually bring about enough understanding to realize the answer, and then post a self-answer to my question.
  2. If you have at least 75 reputation, you can offer a bounty, promising to give some of your reputation to a user who answers your question. This causes your question to receive additional attention, as it will be added to a special list and be promoted more than normal questions.
  3. If there is an unsatisfactory answer, you could leave a specific comment on that answer to ask for clarification or suggest an improvement to clear up anything you don't understand.
  4. Post a link to the question on the site's chat. Usually active users of the site will hang out there, and they can offer further help.
  5. Use the share button beneath your question to advertise it to your networks. Then, if you find the answer, you can post a self-answer to help others who come across the same question.

Do not post your question a second time, as it will be closed as a duplicate of your first question, and may attract downvotes. Also, do not delete your question and re-ask it, as your previous question will be undeleted and your new one closed as a duplicate.

  • 6
  • 1
    What should I do if I have posted a feature-request? I cant work on it myself in any way but just want to get attention to people. Wont editing the question just to rephrase it and attract more pple bit of a fowl play ?
    – MozenRath
    Feb 9 '12 at 6:45
  • 4
    Related blog post: How to get your questions answered? Mar 5 '12 at 5:58
  • 43
    Regarding bounty: obviously, from point #2, the intent is to give bounty to the person who correctly answers the question; however, as implemented, if the bounty investor feels that none of the answers are correct and doesn't manually award the bounty, half of it will still go to one of the (incorrect) answers anyway, thus defeating the intent of bounty, IMHO.
    – RobH
    Aug 7 '13 at 16:46
  • 3
    Thanks, how can I check if my question was "bumped"?. I just made my edit, hopefully someone will see it ;)
    – Dan
    Aug 27 '13 at 7:38
  • 4
    Are there any options for first-time (< 75 rep) users who find an old question that they also have, but none of the answers on the question are valid? I don't infrequently see "Me too!" type answers pop up in the first post review queue on old, unanswered questions.
    – Jason C
    Feb 25 '14 at 18:32
  • 23
    Totally agree with @RobH . As implemented, the bounty system is particularly hard for new users to use, because their precious rep can be "stolen" or "wasted" by someone who gives a partial answer that doesn't do the job but does qualify for the bounty. If you have 10k rep you don't care. If you have 100 rep you care a lot. Mar 16 '14 at 3:11
  • 3
    Can you clarify what happens when you edit your own question? You say this is "bumping", which to me means it goes back to the top of the list, just as if it were a new question. Is this truly what happens in the case of an edit to an existing question?
    – Josh
    Jun 24 '14 at 20:25
  • 12
    Do not post your question a second time, as it will be closed as a duplicate of your first question. - Questions can't be voted duplicates of unanswered questions (voter is alerted that "This question does not have an upvoted or accepted answer").
    – jbaums
    Oct 30 '14 at 9:35
  • 3
    @dna2, whenever a question is edited it is automatically considered as having "recent activity". I got reprimanded for reading up on old questions and editing them for formatting and other relatively minor issues, thus making them "current" with little merit...
    – vonbrand
    Aug 11 '15 at 1:17
  • 2
    but if it is a dupe that attracts attention for the original.
    – tox123
    Mar 15 '16 at 23:45
  • 3
    I don't understand your point 3. How do I upvote my own question?
    – sergiol
    Nov 25 '16 at 2:29
  • 4
    @sergiol This answer has been revised by the community so much over the years. I never put in that "point 3" but it should mean upvoting other people's question that are similar to your problem.
    – icelava
    Nov 28 '16 at 9:04
  • 4
    @elethan If none of the answers to the other question work for you, then ask another question telling why the other answers fail for you. Distinguishing your question in this way makes it not a duplicate. Feb 16 '17 at 23:43
  • 7
    @jbaums Duplicates posted by the same user are exempt from this rule. Jan 22 '18 at 16:14

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