Questions Left Unanswered June 23, 2016 10:40 PM   Subscribe

"Life is an unanswered question, but let's still believe in the dignity and importance of the question." -- Tennessee Williams We have so many of these on AskMeFi. We can fix that!

As someone who spends the majority of her time on AskMeFi, I can't help but notice the large number of queries that have gone unnoticed, unacknowledged, and unanswered. Should we devote a month to requiting the unrequited? Surely we can attempt to requite the unrequited. For the most part.
posted by erst to MetaFilter-Related at 10:40 PM (23 comments total)

What would such a campaign look like in your mind?

I would worry that a campaign to answer questions would lead to people answering not because they knew a useful answer, but because they had googled it out of a desire to help. And that's actually not all that helpful.

If it was more of a campaign to identify MeFites with the necessary expertise and page them to the thread in case they missed it, that might lead to better results.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:22 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would like to politely disagree. Many a time have I been searching for something to no avail and then casually mention it to a friend who whips up an answer in no time. I think that extra eyes can be helpful so I support this.
posted by Literaryhero at 1:28 AM on June 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

Askme questions only remain open for a year, so whether to go back further would need to be worked out/decided on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:38 AM on June 24, 2016

I think this post alone is a good way to get eyeballs on those questions. I like the attempt to boost this so people can get answers. Off to peruse!
posted by agregoli at 5:13 AM on June 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

That said, I went back many months and couldn't answer anything.
posted by agregoli at 5:15 AM on June 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

I was disappointed that this one didn't get any answers- it's a very specific kayaking route question that I have no expertise in at all, but I was looking forward to living vicariously through the answers. (And getting some inspiration for my half finished kayak build.)

The unanswered tab on Askme just seems to spit out the list of 0 answer questions, rather than cut off at the 'year ago' mark, but I guess people can use memail or the mods to respond to really old 0 answer questions- and perhaps some are just unanswerable.

Another forum I frequented back in the day used to have zeropost thread drives- and there was handwringing that helpful people would post uselessly in these threads so that the 'number of 0 posts' would go down, without providing actual answers. (this was a technical forum that used to bump threads based on activity, and would 'auto bump' 0 answer threads, so it's not directly comparable to mefi.)
posted by freethefeet at 5:17 AM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's a nice idea, but most of them are unanswered for a legitimate reason. I say this as someone who has a lot of unresolved questions out there.

I do think some of the location-specific ones could be answered if people would occasionally search for their city and/or state to see what they can help with.
posted by michaelh at 5:47 AM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would like to know if there is a mechanism to search for specific tags/keywords on unanswered questions. I can't answer the majority of them, but I could probably answer some North Melbourne specific questions (for example). There doesn't seem to be a way to filter this in the search though.

Potential pony?
posted by solarion at 5:56 AM on June 24, 2016

Metafilter: living vicariously through the answers.
posted by Melismata at 6:10 AM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Don't forget the function of the stumped tag!
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:45 AM on June 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

I will wave this bloody shirt for as long as it takes
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:56 AM on June 24, 2016

I answered two unanswered questions, now I feel like a good citizen.
posted by milk white peacock at 1:29 PM on June 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

prize bull octorok, 'this bloody shirt' is right -- every time you link, I lose at least an hour falling down miscellaneous internet rabbit holes, because those lyrics are vaguely familiar! I hope to ask a question even half as maddening, someday.

(Did you know that by the late '90s, Menudo was called MDO? And there wasn't a single native-born Puerto Rican in the lineup?)

(*shakes fist*)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:41 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

My second and my latest questions remain unanswered, for what it is worth.
posted by y2karl at 12:10 AM on June 25, 2016

I marked mine as answered. My sloth had overcome my manners...thanks to all.
posted by SyraCarol at 9:51 AM on June 25, 2016

Man, now I realize I've had a song fragment in my head since 1990 and would really like to find out what song it was, but realize it would probably go unanswered. Oh well, about to give it a shot...
posted by erst at 8:27 PM on June 25, 2016

Oh well, about to give it a shot...

Living on a Prayer. - nailed it in one.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:52 PM on June 26, 2016

prize bull octorok: Could the song have been from The Heights? Same era.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:55 AM on June 29, 2016

that matches the era/sound/context really well, however I don't think I watched The Heights very much and it doesn't seem to be among the published lyrics of any The Heights songs (and I shake my fist at Lin-Manuel Miranda for making googling "The Heights lyrics" extra challenging), but I may reach a point of desperation someday where I binge-watch the entire series just to rule it out
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:03 AM on June 29, 2016

AskMeFi has just answered a question I've had in my head since the early 90s. BEHOLD, THE POWER OF ASKMEFITES!
posted by erst at 12:28 PM on July 1, 2016

The one I still wonder about is three years old and closed - What might this pincer claw-like thingy be / do? It wasn't even my question but it still bugs the hell out of me.
posted by Beti at 9:53 PM on July 1, 2016

It's a watermelon seed cracker! Off to email the OP.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:27 AM on July 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Holy crow! Thank you, jessamyn. Who knew there was such a thing?

I mean, obviously, "any Asian person"...
posted by Beti at 4:34 PM on July 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

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