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One of the metrics of Q&A sites is the number of unanswered questions and this can also be further broken down into the amount of time a question remains unanswered for.

As a moderator this is of particular interest to me, so much so that I have even set up a filter just to keep an eye out on questions that linger around for a bit too long without any answers.

But on the whole I am curious as to whether there are more effective strategies to reduce the list down to a more manageable size (at time of writing this question there are around 422 based on my filtering conditions; 96 with no upvotes or accepted answers). It might not sound like a very high number considering there are over 30k questions, but it is hard to tell without some reference or benchmark from other communities.

Now, depending on the reason these questions remain unanswered, there are a few things that can be done about it.

  • Questions that should be closed --> they should be closed!
  • Really tough questions --> maybe offer a bounty and see if we can encourage some attempts?
  • Questions that can or should be answered with some additional information --> encourage OP to provide more details
  • Question that slipped through the cracks --> THIS is what I want to address

Any thoughts or ideas that might be useful that haven't been explored yet?

In the mean time, I'll keep chipping away at the unanswered questions... if I can aim for one a day, hopefully the list will be a lot shorter next time I ponder on this particular question :)

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