12

I found this question a bit confusing and meandering, so I thought I would post a more targeted question.

Do we have a need for more users over the 500 rep level (needed to vote to close) to better moderate off topic questions?

If so, is there a solution to that problem other than time? How would it be implemented?

My only thought is some kind of group push for lower rep users to do more Q/A or have an answer-a-thon generally. Then we could be more aware of awnsers coming in and more likely to up-vote.

This is all predicated on the signal to noise ratio on questions being off and needing correction (which may be false).

7

Your answer for this is simple, in that the community needs to make more of an effort towards the unanswered questions. Currently there are 279 unanswered questions on the site, some of which can either be voted to close (VTC) by the high enough rep users, or flagged for moderator attention if the user is of lower rep.

https://scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1387/answer-the-unanswered-questions

Many sites have "pushathon" type periods where efforts are made to clean up, edit, answer or close as appropriate. (Editing also gets you reputation points when approved).

I think it's a good idea, by getting more answers our ratio numbers improve, rep improves, people become more engaged, and as we start getting more high rep users, the community moderation becomes an easier task.

  • So if we're going to make a push to awnser, when should it be? – Atl LED Sep 25 '15 at 17:15
  • @AtlLED - Probably the first week of October would be good. Kick off the month. – JohnP Sep 25 '15 at 17:21
  • Who will be decided to be pushed? – Ooker Sep 25 '15 at 18:30
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    You also need to upvote the current answers, and prompt to get them accepted, this will keep people answering, come back, and give them rep so they can moderate. Will also increase your answered percentage, whether it helps or not I don't know, but it looks good. – James Sep 25 '15 at 18:51
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    @Ooker - There are 297 unanswered questions. Pick some. :) – JohnP Sep 25 '15 at 18:58
  • @JohnP i guess I don't have much time for googling stuff I'll never need. I will take the advertising job then. – Ooker Sep 25 '15 at 19:13
5

It's all well and good to point out that there's a need for more answers, as the unanswered questions mountain is not getting any smaller (currently at almost 400 questions), but there's another important thing:

Vote early, vote often

Does your site have a healthy middle class of users with vote up and down, and edit tag privileges? Does it have a healthy governing class of users with edit, close, and moderation privileges?

Quite frankly, Health.SE doesn't. Sure, there's around 30 users who could vote to close questions, but most of the closing I see is due to a moderator closing a question. Rarely do 5 users vote to close one question. I see 4 closed questions on the main page right now, all of the closed ones were closed by a moderator, with between 1 and 3 user votes.

Out of the 10 users with most rep, 6 haven't written an answer in over a month and 2 haven't even logged in during the last week. Looking at other users with more than 500 rep, I see more of the same pattern.

There's an average of 6 questions coming in every day. Even considering one or two get closed, the number of unanswered questions gets higher. The problem, in my opinion, isn't only that there's not enough users with high reputation, the primary problem is that there's not enough answers, and a secondary problem is that there's a lack of users voting*. And this leads to this problem of not enough active users with moderation privileges. On a site that only has two moderators at the moment, that's problematic.

I'm afraid I can't really give a solution to that problem, just share my thoughts on it, and this is way too long for a comment.

For example,

  • more voting could lead to more motivation. If a new or newish user answers a question and doesn't get the 2 or 3 votes they usually get in a day here (my experience), but instead gets 5 or more, that might lead to more motivation to invest the time for more answers
  • getting faster answers might lead to those asking questions getting more involved, maybe even starting to answer. If a person asks a question and gets no answer or gets an answer months later, they often don't seem to come back

As it is, I think the site is in quite a bad state :-/

(* Looking at the list of voters, there's only 9 users who voted more than 10 times this month. I don't think that's a particularly high number.)

  • I think you make some good points here, but upvoting bad questions will just send the site back to where it was when it went public. The site needs better questions that are interesting to answer. – anongoodnurse Dec 12 '15 at 6:04
  • @anongoodnurse "vote early and often" applies to both up- and downvoting. What I am seeing right now in the newest questions is that the vast majority of questions just get no or one vote, in either direction. That's just no feedback at all for the asker. I'm really not for upvoting bad answers or questions, but the current lack of voting in either direction is a problem, in my opinion. – YviDe Dec 12 '15 at 6:47
  • Many people don't like to down vote (I don't; I'll do it occasionally, but I don't like it). Some people never down vote. As it's intended, that plan is not going to work. Many of the question can be justifiably DV'd. That makes for a very unwelcoming site, and a lot - a lot - of unhappy one-time- only visitors. The problems with the site run far deeper. – anongoodnurse Dec 12 '15 at 18:44
  • @anongoodnurse oh, I agree. This was just throwing out a few ideas because I have a huge problem pinning down exactly what the problem is, I'm just seeing that there is one - the huge amount of unanswered questions, the people turning away, etc isn't going to be fixed by a few votes. If you have some thoughts and want to share them, I'd be really interested in hearing them - you have been here from the start, after all. – YviDe Dec 12 '15 at 19:04
  • For one thing, the site needs more people like you and HDE. :-) A lot more. Maybe that will come in time; I hope so. – anongoodnurse Dec 12 '15 at 19:41

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