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The community bot consistently brings up questions without any answers or activity, which becomes tiresome, renders the site irrelevant, and conceals new questions. Shouldn't we automatically close questions that have had no activity for a certain period of time, like a year? What's the benefit of keeping them open when it's clear that no one, including the person who started the thread, is interested in them? Furthermore, the "modified xx minutes ago" is a lie, which is unethical to say the least.

Similarly, should we consider outdated duplicate answers that may no longer be relevant today? While this isn't a frequent occurrence, I occasionally come across questions marked as duplicates because of questions without any accepted answers or with answers that are no longer applicable, or were incorrect even when they were accepted.

Apologies for combining two different questions in one post. I didn't want to create two separate threads since both questions revolve around the passage of time since the questions were asked, but feel free to edit if needed.

EDIT: Just noticed the algo is 50/50. The image below shows 4 and 4 in my screen.

enter image description here

I counted the total number of posts on the front page and found that there are 48 posts in total. Out of these, 24 are currently active, while the other 24 are old and irrelevant posts that have zero activity and were bumped by the Community Bot.

UPDATE

This is getting completely out of hand. June 5, 2023 (for some reason, I get an error trying to upload the capture even though it's only 190kb). I see 11 questions above the fold. Seven are community "fake bumps," 1 migrated, 1 closed, and 2 questions with real activity.

I might be wrong, but I think this is one of the reasons why UX.SE has much lower participation than it had in years before. When you see most of the activity is fake, you get desensitized, and ultimately you leave. Again, I might be completely wrong; it's just an assumption.

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    I will follow this up with the Moderator community and see if other sites experience the same issue or if this problem is more specific to UXSE.
    – Michael Lai Mod
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 23:11

2 Answers 2

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Notice these two requirements for bumping (from Michael Lai's answer):

  • Score of >=0.
  • And no answer may have a score >0.

If you either:

  • Down-vote the question.
  • Up-vote at least one of the answers.

it will no longer be eligible for bumping.

If you don't think either of those actions are deserving:

  • Edit the question to improve it, and hope it will now get a good answer.
  • Submit your own answer, and hope it will get an up-vote.

I often do one of these four things myself whenever I get bothered by too many bumped answers.

Not only does it reduce the bumping problem, it improves the quality of the questions and answers.

(As far as I know, that is the purpose of bumping.)

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  • The system is unethical (it lies to users), but being dishonest is not a solution IMHO. I rarely downvote a question or answer unless it's spam or causes harm. I upvote everything I think it deserves an upvote. If I didn't provide an up or down vote, it's because I didn't consider it necessary. And I assume the same happens to other people. We're in a UX community, we should do better than a flawed system. We have the knowledge to prevent dishonest behaviors just to please an algorithm. SE Meta already had several discussions about the need for better UX, all of them were ignored.
    – Devin
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 17:41
  • @Devin, it's not "unethical". The first two choices are based on thinking "either of those actions are deserving". I've come across many items that have at least one reasonably good, even if not great, answer. My single up-vote isn't going to make a big difference, but it will stop the bumping. And I certainly didn't mean to imply that one could or should do this with every bumped item. Commented May 24, 2023 at 18:14
  • Just in case I didn't mean you, I mean the system. A system that lies to users is unethical. It's a dark pattern created to deceive users ux.stackexchange.com/questions/50015/…
    – Devin
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 18:26
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I have summarized the information from the StackExchange Moderator Team about the way the Community bot works and what we can do if there are too many questions flooding the site's front page.

But firstly, just to understand how the Community bot works:

The bot checks the last activity date of open, non-deleted questions to see how recently Community has bumped the question (if ever). The question must be at least 30 days old and can not have been bumped (or otherwise modified) by Community in the last 120 days. This means that a question can only be bumped at most, three times per year.

From that, it selects the top 100 question by views that that meet specific requirements

  • not recently active
  • not closed
  • not deleted
  • score of >=0
  • no accepted answer
  • is answered and the answer/s: are not deleted and have a max score = 0 (meaning at least one answer must have a score of zero but no answers may have a score >0).

So in terms of the suggested actions, the first thing we need to do is to start a discussion on the site's meta about the community bot (which we have already done).

As a community, we should be encouraging the upvoting of good posts, and downvoting, closing, and/or deleting bad ones as appropriate. The moderators will keep a closer eye on which ones should be deleted as this is our part of supporting the community. Questions that are closed or deleted won't be bumped by the bot, and neither will negatively-scoring questions.

However, this might not always be enough. And sometimes, these answers might just not be bad enough to warrant a downvote, but not good enough to warrant an upvote... And even if the bumping is warranted, sometimes there are just too many questions being bumped at once.

If we still find Community bot bumps an issue after making more of an effort to address the things that we can do, then it is possible to request site settings to be adjusted by the Community Moderators so that the front page isn't constantly flooded with posts being bumped, including:

  1. a site setting we can adjust that prevents the Community user from bumping a post if another post has recently been bumped. Specifically, the Community user will not bump any posts that hour if at least one post in the top N, sorted by activity date, has been bumped. (By default, this setting is not enabled.)
  2. a separate site setting that controls how many eligible questions are bumped per hour. However, it's set to 1 by default, so adjusting this site setting won't help in most cases (unless it's currently set to a higher value on a site, in which case we can lower it).

To make this request, post a new question on your site's meta; the title and body of your post should clearly state what change you're asking for, and why. (You don't need to suggest the specific values you want us to change these site settings to – just describe the problem, and make it clear that you're asking the CMs to make this change.) If your site has previously discussed this problem and tried to resolve it (as suggested above), include links to those as well, to show the need for CM intervention.

If the community supports the requested change, add the [status-review] tag to the request to escalate it for staff attention. The CMs will then assess the request and handle it accordingly.

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