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To be clear, the stats on Area 51 are not the gold standard in how a site is measured. Different sites have different criteria for "success," but that said, there is a stat that is bothering me.

Percent Answered currently stands at 84%. That means 16 out of every hundred questions goes completely unanswered.

When people come here, if they ask questions that don't get answered, they don't come back.

Now, as someone with economic training, I tend to assume that if a thing isn't happening, there is either a problem with incentives or feedback. Put another way, systemmatically, something isn't happening to get more questions answered.

So, within our system, what is causing what I at least consider to be a poor answer rate? Are there additional incentives that could be employed to raise that number? Looking for ideas that would get our answer rate into the high 90s.

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    low answer rate is a consequence of that diversity you were trying to get a while back. – Sam I am Apr 8 '13 at 14:13
  • @SamIam If the site is actually getting more diverse, I wouldn't mind the answer rate dropping (assuming the two are related). More diverse content will be vital for the site's success in the long run. – yannis Apr 8 '13 at 15:16
  • @SamIam I wonder if you could expand your comment a bit - I would think that a greater diversity would expand both the answer rate and the answer ratio (which I consider low). Are you suggesting that increasing diversity lowers answer rate? (And, I agree that we need a wider base of participants!) – Affable Geek Apr 8 '13 at 15:27
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    yes, it does. when you have only 1 person from norway asking norway related questions, then there isn't going to be anyone else to answer. more diversity means the question base is wider, and the answer base is shallower – Sam I am Apr 8 '13 at 15:49
  • Bringing up Norway-centric questions is interesting...as it seems a lot of SE frown upon questions that are 'too localized'. Granted, that seems like a problem with almost any political question...they almost all could be labeled as 'too localized'. – user1530 Apr 8 '13 at 18:05
  • @DA. Not really. in SO questions get closed as "too localized" when they're only relevant to the one person such as "find the typo in my code", and other like things. – Sam I am Apr 8 '13 at 19:56
  • @DA. Questions about the politics of Norway would not be "too localized" (except if the question was extremely time dependent - we can't answer questions if the answers are to become obsolete the next day, for example). A better example of a geographically "too localized" question would be one about the politics of the regulars in a local pub in a village somewhere in Norway, that's definitely "too localized", both in space and in time ;) – yannis Apr 9 '13 at 8:10
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    It will be awesome if this question does not get answered. – Jeremy Holovacs Apr 17 '13 at 19:19
  • I am surprised. Most of the unanswered questions are actually pretty good questions. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that the reason they are unanswered is because there is active suppression by the [insert evil secret society name here] that is keeping the truth from coming out. But my medication keeps most of those thoughts at bay. – SoylentGray Apr 24 '13 at 17:44
  • @JeremyHolovacs - I'm still waiting for my kickback from OP to answer it. Google "Otkat, raspil, zanos". – user4012 May 2 '13 at 15:22
  • @YannisRizos - there are politics in local pubs? </NERD> – user4012 May 2 '13 at 15:29

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