I've noticed a recurring phenomenon:
- New user apparently created an account to ask a specific question (often, story-identification).
- New user disappears after a day or two, not having received an answer.
- Someone answers the question with a good answer say, two or three days after the question is asked.
- The new user who asked the question never sees the answer due to giving up too quickly.
Here are two examples I noticed recently:
- Excellent, detailed answer with research effort This was answered the day after it was asked, but the user has not logged in since the day the question was asked
- A question I answered Answered two days later. User logged in the day after asking, but not since I posted my answer.
Is there something we can do to help new users understand that it is worthwhile to come back some time later? The people answering are not necessarily available right away!
The current situation is frustrating for two reasons:
- The user leaves without getting an answer and remains with their mystery, possibly unnecessarily
- The person who answers puts effort in wanting to help; it is frustrating to not succeed in helping. (Yes, I know, it might help someone else later. But still...)
Is there anything we can do to encourage these new users to not give up so quickly? Something explained to them when they first sign up, perhaps?
I have seen this discussion about whether to allow community acceptance of the answer in some of these cases. This is also a valid point, focusing on improving the effectiveness of the site in general. I am approaching a similar issue from a different angle -- how to better help these new users.