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Serverfault currently has one of the worst Question to Accepted Answer ratio. I frequently want to go try spend some time answering old questions. I am making this feature request here, specifically because I think we could use it the most.

The barrier to doing this for me, is that system doesn't have a good way to display a random selection of unanswered questions.

If you click on the Unanswered tab you have these options

  1. https://serverfault.com/unanswered/tagged/?tab=noanswers
    • Questions with no answers at all, sorted by question votes
  2. https://serverfault.com/unanswered/tagged/?tab=votes
    • Questions with no upvoted answers, sorted by question votes
  3. https://serverfault.com/unanswered/tagged/?tab=mytags
    • Questions with no upvoted answers, for your favorite tags, sorted by question votes
  4. https://serverfault.com/unanswered/tagged/?tab=newest
    • Questions with no upvoted answers, sorted by creation date

I have recently read almost all of the questions on the first and last pages of all these queries.

The paging of the result set is part of the problem here. If I am on the first page of a result set, you only give me links to the first few pages, and the last page. There isn't any easy way to get to the middle of the result set other then messing with the URL.

What I really want is a sort order that will show me 15-50 questions sorted completely randomly. If you where worried about performance it wouldn't bug me if this page was cached heavily, and the random selection was only updated every few hours, or even every day.

I strongly suspect that I could provide at least some useful content for at least some of that large number of unanswered question. I suspect there is also a large number of questions that I could do something with from a moderation standpoint (edit&improve, vote-to-close, etc).

There is an existing related question, with a link to an app using the API, but that app really is not useful at all for finding a good selection of unanswered questions to review and answer. That question for a feature request does not have a status tag declined or planned, and it is somewhat popular.

  • This seems like a great way to clean up the vast pile of unanswered questions. Sorting by votes is helpful, but there may be a good, answerable question in the middle of the pack that isn't getting attention/ – voretaq7 Jan 26 '11 at 16:00
  • I think this is a great idea as well. Additionally I'm surprised I haven't seen any suggestions for lowering the minimum bounty one can put up. the way I see it, Lower bounty minimum = more bounties offered = more answers posted – Jordan W. Jan 28 '11 at 21:31
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    @Jordan, I think anything less than 50 points really wouldn't be worth the bother and 50 points bounty generally gets no better answers than no bounty. On the other hand, I'd like to see the maximum set very much higher, say a few thousand or so. Even 500 points often doesn't attract good answers. – John Gardeniers Jan 31 '11 at 1:20
  • @John, not worth the bother for you - and other 10k+ folks. But there are a lot more people with much lower reputation. Someone with 25 rep may be attracted enough to a bounty of 25 (100% of their current) to try to answer that question. Additionally someone with 100 rep is probably very unlikely to offer a bounty of 50 for a question they really want an answer to. Let the little people play I say. – Jordan W. Feb 2 '11 at 13:57
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    The issue of a smaller bounty should probably be moved to another question. But consider this, you can already give someone 25 points for a good answer simply by upvoting & accepting it. A person who would be attracted by a bounty of 25 rep, would probably just answer the question, a bounty wouldn't really make a huge difference. – Zoredache Feb 2 '11 at 19:47
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Something seems to have changed with the sort order of the "Unanswered" / "no answers" section. While previously sorting questions in descending order (newest first), it shows up in apparently random order now. I wonder if this is related?

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