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Over the past 12 months User Experience Stack Exchange has been attracting more and more visitors. This is a good thing.

However, something that isn't growing in number are ANSWERS. We're getting fewer answers over the last 12 months.

Now this could just mean that we're all getting better at answering questions (someone leaving a brilliant answer that solves the problem means it's less likely others will leave a competing answer) but that might not be the case.

For example - judging by the list of Unanswered questions on the site ('unanswered' being questions that don't have any upvoted answer) there are 23 (at the time of writing) in that category:

https://ux.stackexchange.com/unanswered

Now, the quality of answers getting left is already good: Overall the percentage of questions that have an accepted answer is around about 57%. That's pretty decent (Stack Overflow averages about 50%) so it's clear we know what we're talking about on this site. However, more answers mean more opinions on how to solve problems, which means more chance of finding the solution to questions. The aim here isn't really to increase the accepted answer percentage but to get more answers to questions in general, giving people more options to choose from as to how to solve their problems.

So here's the suggestion:

Find a tag that you are particularly knowledgeable in and see if there are any questions in there that you can give an answer to.

Some starters for you:

There are loads. When answers are left to questions it bumps that post up to the top of the frontpage, so that gives it more visibility and hopefully attracts votes to the question and your new answer, so there's FREE REP in it for you! More answers leads to people finding a better solution, which in turn leads to an even better reputation for this site, which means more people coming back and using the site asking and answering questions... everyone wins. So lets start with answers!

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I think a lot of question will be left unanswered as soon as they leave the front page. The solution to that is to put a bounty on the question, but not all people have the privilege to do so, or the term is not clear for some people. Other than that, losing reputation could be a steep price.
I don't know what implications lowering the amount of reputation needed to do so will have, but perhaps different methods can be introduced. Something like questions with an X amount of views that are unanswered will be placed at the top of the active list after an amount of time.

  • Good suggestion Paul! When I do on my own questions I usually get more then 10 upvotes (if the question deserv it). And that pays back the invested bounty of 50 reps. Often there is a net rep win on bountys. But that only works for your own questions. – Benny Skogberg Jan 7 '14 at 19:44
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So UX.SE is in good shape comparing to SharePoint.SE with 5k of 31k unanswered and almost 10k with no upvoted answers. This leads to that on SharePoint.SE we don't know what we're talking about since we can't answer, but we're to ignorant to notice :-)

But seriously folks, on SP.SE we try to build a community, before we can rule on anything. We got a lot of questions, a lot of one-time users and then the small elite group that does it all. I often reference UX.SE community since it's a very strong one.

But to answer your question, I think it's a good idea. It's always nice to revise previous questions and answers, and add new ones if something is missing. It just may be that answers are out-dated where new techniques have arrived or become convention in 2013? Who knows?!

Hopefully there will be more opposition answers this year. I'll start right now to check-out the tag in January!

Edit

And as an example of the mentioned FREE REP by John, it actually pays off answering a little older question. This just in - accepted answer, and +1 = 25 FREE REP

Inconsistencies in hamburger menu direction a mobile vs desktop problem?


The author of this answer is also a moderator ♦ at SharePoint.SE.

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I think another issue is that many unanswered questions are asking for research, and some of it just hasn't been done/released to the public yet.

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