17

This search returns questions that are:

  • Positively scored.
  • Completely unanswered. Downvoted and zero-score unaccepted answers do count, unlike the "unanswered" tab.
  • Not (currently) closed.
  • Most recently active (asked, edited) three or more months ago. Comments don't count.

At the time of writing (2017-10-08 in America/Los_Angeles, the next day in UTC) there are 1,274 results. If we remove the date restriction, we get 1,501 results, which means that almost 85% of all unanswered, open, upvoted story ID questions haven't been touched in three months. While old story ID questions do get answers from time to time, I think it's spectacularly unlikely that we can clear this backlog faster than it is accumulating (which was quite fast the last time we discussed this), so that percentage is likely to rise over time.

  • Is this the right question to ask of the data? In other words, should we care about the boldfaced statement above?
  • If so, what should we do about it?
18

No, we should not care.

There's no real limit to the number of unresolved questions we can keep lying around. These are not bad questions, and their presence does not harm the site. If we do the same search on Stack Overflow with the popular [java] tag, and again without the date range, we can see that their ratio has gotten all the way up to 94%, and obviously the sky has not fallen.

  • 1
    Looks like you've resolved your own issue ;-) – Rand al'Thor Oct 9 '17 at 3:34
  • 7
    Yeah I don't see why we should care. Some questions are just really hard to answer, even with sufficient details. Also these questions are a good way for new users to get some rep if they happen to know the answer. – Z. Cochrane Oct 9 '17 at 3:53
  • @Randal'Thor: Yeah, when I first saw those numbers I got a bit freaked, but a little more digging shows it's probably no big deal. – Kevin Oct 9 '17 at 4:45
  • 7
    @Zabeus - Plus it's always nice to have a dig around in the pile to see if there's anything that looks familiar. A lot of old, established unsolved questions have been solved by users using new tools, new knowledge and plain old-fashioned legwork to resolve them – Valorum Oct 9 '17 at 8:00
  • {nods} I just answered two of them (one of which was, admittedly, a case of the answer being provided in the comments and even accepted by the querent there). – FuzzyBoots Oct 11 '17 at 13:45
  • 2
    @zabeus Did you see the tetris in GOL on PPCG ever? It took years of hard work to solve. – NoOneIsHere Oct 16 '17 at 15:14
  • @NoOneIsHere They got rushed near the end because somebody posted a bounty on the question instead of using the "future bounty-for-impossible-questions" meta post. – wizzwizz4 Oct 22 '17 at 9:42
  • @wizzwizz4 Yeah, I know. But it was still a tremendus effort. – NoOneIsHere Oct 23 '17 at 16:37

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