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There are thousands of open questions here and they are bumped to the top sometimes. However the big part of them are abandoned so they will never be resolved unless the community vote for their closure (which is actually legitimate in the case the question does not comply the community rules).

There are also questions which are not properly managed like this one: cucumber java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Not a file or directory:

The author here resolved his issue on his own but didn't mark the answer as correct.

So, we have tons of the questions which will never be resolved and will be mixed by a community bot with the questions which obviously have higher "instant" value for the people bumping them up to the top.

I'm suggesting you to discuss whether it makes sense to introduce a mechanism of consensus letting the community decide whether there is a correct answer provided for the question in the case the question author doesn't do it.

  • 1
    I think that it might be a good solution but not applicable everywhere. It can be easily judged if the question is related to common knowledge or can be verified by anyone but if a person asks a specific question about a problem in some internal, confidential work we won't be able to verify if it worked for them. But it will certainly reduce the number of unapproved questions. – mdymek Apr 12 '18 at 8:20
4

There are thousands of open questions here and they are bumped to the top sometimes. However the big part of them are abandoned so they will never be resolved unless the community vote for their closure (which is actually legitimate in the case the question does not comply the community rules).

Questions are only bumped by the Community bot when they are considered "unanswered". "Unanswered", in SE's terminology, means there are no upvoted answers. When the questions are bumped, the community is expected to upvote existing answers, or otherwise write a better answer if there are no satisfying answers. When there is at least 1 upvoted answer, the Community bot will stop bumping without needing the answer to be accepted.

There are also questions which are not properly managed like this one: cucumber java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Not a file or directory:

The author here resolved his issue on his own but didn't mark the answer as correct. So, we have tons of the questions which will never be resolved and will be mixed by a community bot with the questions which obviously have higher "instant" value for the people bumping them up to the top.

This is quite an unfortunate event. Perhaps the user was new to Stack Exchange and they didn't know about accepting an answer, or they just thought that their answer is not the best. No problem with that.

However, there are already 3 upvoted answers, and it won't be bumped anymore (considered it already "resolved").

I'm suggesting you to discuss whether it makes sense to introduce a mechanism of consensus letting the community decide whether there is a correct answer provided for the question in the case the question author doesn't do it.

Acceptance doesn't indicate correctness. This is already stated in the help center:

Accepting an answer is not meant to be a definitive and final statement indicating that the question has now been answered perfectly. It simply means that the author received an answer that worked for him or her personally.

The tooltip on the checkmark also says:

The question owner accepted this as the best answer.

(emphasis mine)

Acceptance is always subjective to the OP, and OP is not forced to accept any answers (this is controversial, but it has been like this since the origin of Stack Overflow). This also means that the community shouldn't force the acceptance of a certain answer.


The conclusion is, the community can already decide if the answer is correct: upvote them!

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Some of these questions do have value, but allowing someone other than the question author to choose a correct answer goes against the way the Stack Exchange works. I suspect this would not be something the broader SE community would not want implemented.

My inclination in this situation (subject to agreement by the other mods) would be: if a community member believes the question is worthwhile, that person can re-ask it then request that one of the mods merge the old answers to the new question. That will help to whittle down the backlog of old questions which are likely to never receive an answer.

  • Thanks for your answer, Kate! There is a thing in the rules which I find strange. I mean the community is allowed to edit one's question "making a decision" of "What OP meant actually" but the author has to pick the proper answer then despite there might be only a few words left from the original post. The author also often does not have enough competence to decide whether the answer is correct, otherwise they wouldn't ask. Hence I still think introducing some kind of mechanism which forces picking correct answer does make sense. – Alexey R. Apr 13 '18 at 11:40
  • The OP is always able to revert any edits made if they change what the OP meant. And yes, some authors choose answers others would consider completely wrong, but that doesn't prevent other community members voting up the better answers. – Kate Paulk Apr 13 '18 at 11:50
  • What if OP ignores picking the proper answer? Don't you think there would make sense to introduce some penalty for that? Say 5 point per question per week. This would motivate OP to find the proper answer on their own if they think there is no one in the existing list. – Alexey R. Apr 13 '18 at 11:53
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    @AlexeyR. what if none of the answers actually answer the question but are still up voted? that would then penalize the OP for no good reason. – Malachi Apr 17 '18 at 18:57
  • @KatePaulk are you suggesting that a user create a duplicate question to select an answer on the duplicate question? – Malachi Apr 17 '18 at 18:58
  • @Malachi - if the OP is either an anonymous user or is no longer active, then yes, I am suggesting that a user create a duplicate question, request moderators to merge the two questions, then accept an answer. – Kate Paulk Apr 17 '18 at 19:23
  • that sounds like using someone else's question to earn Reputation. A Slippery Slope maybe. – Malachi Apr 17 '18 at 19:26
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    @Malachi - it can be made Community, which prevents reputation being earned – Kate Paulk Apr 18 '18 at 11:06
  • @Malachi "what if none of the answers actually answer the question but are still up voted?" why not. Having the accepted answer takes the question to a new quality level. If it is up-voted but not accepted as correct answer then either OP did not put enough effort to describe the issue properly or didn't put enough effort to verify if the answer is correct or didn't put effort to research for their own solution. In all the cases the OP deserves some penalty. – Alexey R. Apr 18 '18 at 12:00
  • I like the idea of CW and then accepting an answer over creating a duplicate, @KatePaulk. That makes more sense now. I still don't believe that we should penalize a poster for not accepting an answer. if the user is not registered then they lose nothing with a CW post and no one's freedom to choose was stepped on, and if the user does become active then that operation can be undone. – Malachi Apr 18 '18 at 16:06

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