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This beta seems to have an extremely high proportion of unanswered questions. Am I the only one concerned about this?

It seems as if, especially during private beta, it's important to focus on answering questions successfully and pay very close attention to issues of scope.

Am I just paranoid? If not, perhaps we should focus a bit more on answering the existing questions.

  • 93% answered.. do you mean unanswered as not accepted or unanswered as no answers whatsoever? Unfortunately we can't force people to accept answers. – Brian Aug 6 '10 at 15:14
  • 0A0D, this question was asked July 22nd, when only about 50% were answered. – Mike Sherov Aug 6 '10 at 21:07
  • Thanks. I didn't know that. – Brian Aug 8 '10 at 18:29
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I actually think the most important thing during the beta is to ask lots of questions, not necessarily answer then all. There are three reasons. First, asking many questions is what will allow us to define the scope properly. Second, it will be easier for the next wave of users to be involved in the community if they find that there are questions they can answer. (I think Jeff Atwood has discussed this at length in some old StackOverflow podcast.) Third, lots of questions keeps the site from looking like a ghost town.

As you can see from my profile, I have focused on looking around the house and asking all the questions I can think of rather than answering very many.

  • I agree with the goals you've mentioned, but to counter: 1. Asking lots of questions only defines scope if we're actively closing and discussing here in meta as I suggested. 2. The high rate of unanswered questions may indicate a high level of difficulty of these questions and may turn off the other private beta users who are not likely to be experts. 3. I think not having a lot of ANSWERS makes for a good ghost town too. – Mike Sherov Jul 23 '10 at 10:55
  • @Mike 1. Yes, of course we need to discuss scope, but that is happening. 2. I think many of the unanswered questions are unanswered just because they are specialized, and the person who happens to know the answer is not among the 158 users so far. They will probably be answered quickly as the beta goes public and the number of users grows. 3. But we do have a lot of answers. – Vebjorn Ljosa Jul 23 '10 at 13:27
  • fair enough. I think you're right in this case. Thanks for helping change my mind. – Mike Sherov Jul 23 '10 at 16:14
  • And I can say that the site has already been of help to me, both as an asker and answer! So even just at the rate it's going, I'm a happy user. – Rob Napier Jul 24 '10 at 0:09
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The questions seem to be getting a pretty good rate of answer. Of the 50 I just glanced at on the first page, only 5 have no answers yet, and 7 have accepted answers. Only 48 questions on the site have "no upvoted answers" and even fewer have no answers at all. One of my questions has no answer, but I don't particularly expect one (it's about repairing a particular type of PVC roofing, so it's kind of specialized).

  • compare this to the cooking beta, which has 4 "unanswered" out of 614. – Mike Sherov Jul 23 '10 at 1:46
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    Maybe because it is easier (and "safer") to have an opinion on cooking: if it goes wrong, there is not too much damage. Less so when tearing down a wall. – Jan Fabry Jul 23 '10 at 14:32
  • @Jan, fair point! – Mike Sherov Jul 23 '10 at 16:14
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One reason I'm worried about is that the people with answers, like my contractor friends, are not computer-savvy enough to either discover the site, or if they do, to get past the goofy OpenID login mechanism.

  • 93% of the questions are answered now. – Vebjorn Ljosa Aug 6 '10 at 11:21

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