Hello Fellow Biologists,

I am very happy to see our biology beta had crossed 5400 question mark. But according to Area 51 we are still low in total answered questions.

So, I take this opportunity to invite everyone to An Answering Event to solve all questions with no answers (One tag at a time).

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If you are interested please answer in comment.

PS: Similar Suggestion by @biogirl:

Suggestion for an answering event

Updated On $12^{th} August$ 2014:

Thanks guys whoever have started reviving the old question. It seems the past unanswered are coming back.

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ $0.02: I'd focus more on bringing up the answered rate (currently 85%) than the answer ratio. The answer ratio is more like a function of site activity levels, whereas the answered percentage has a lot to do with improving or closing bad questions and other cleanup activities in addition to writing more answers. $\endgroup$ – hairboat Jul 21 '14 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ @AbbyT.Miller: Thanks for the pointer didn't knew that. Are you up for it? $\endgroup$ – Devashish Das Jul 21 '14 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ I think it's a fine idea, as long as we remember that sometimes the reason a question has languished unanswered for years it that it's unanswerable, and it needs to be cleaned up or culled. You can raise the answer rate by increasing the numerator or decreasing the denominator. $\endgroup$ – hairboat Jul 21 '14 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ @AbbyT.Miller: We can do both. In a week we can sort out to be closed questions and to be answered. $\endgroup$ – Devashish Das Jul 21 '14 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ Sure thing, and I believe you should! My apologies if I sounded like I thought one was better than the other. I think cleanup from all directions is a good idea. $\endgroup$ – hairboat Jul 21 '14 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ This is a great idea. Even when you see a great answer on a question, you should still answer if there are other relevant points worth mentioning. Another thing you can do is look through the list and find old questions with decent answers that never got upvoted, and vote on them. This site had a very low voting rate only a couple months ago. I tend to vote up all questions that are on topic, and all answers that are at all helpful, not only the main answer. I was once using all 40 votes in a day here for a while 2 years back. $\endgroup$ – J. Musser Jul 22 '14 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ @jmusser: I really appreciate what you did for this beta. $\endgroup$ – Devashish Das Jul 23 '14 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ I've gone through the entire unanswered question list and found only a handful that needed to be closed outright. Still, have answered a couple and favourited a few more :) $\endgroup$ – Rory M Jul 23 '14 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @RoryM: I know, I did the same myself couple of times. $\endgroup$ – Devashish Das Jul 23 '14 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ @J.Musser Voting is one thing (I do the same) but the other problem is accepting given answers. There a lot of questions have proper answers but never get accepted by the person asking the question. These questions are also counted as not answered as far as I know. We should probably encourage people for accepting and upvoting answers when they ask their first question... $\endgroup$ – Chris Jul 25 '14 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris Yes. A related topic on meta.stackexchange.com: Ways to encourage users to 'Accept' answers. I don't have a problem with it on this site, but I only answered 8 times (4 are accepted). I agree that people accept less than they should, but I've noticed that on many betas. $\endgroup$ – J. Musser Jul 25 '14 at 21:45
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    $\begingroup$ @DevashishDas I really appreciate that you have taken the leadership to start this event ! Will surely try to participate. $\endgroup$ – biogirl Jul 26 '14 at 14:15
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    $\begingroup$ Similar event on Chemistry Meta. --- meta.chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/327/… $\endgroup$ – Devashish Das Jul 27 '14 at 5:22
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    $\begingroup$ I've been trying to answer old questions because there aren't enough new questions that interest me. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Jul 31 '14 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ I love the seal. $\endgroup$ – J. Musser Aug 12 '14 at 16:41

Lets Get Busy!

As I write this, there are 714 unanswered questions, waiting for you! Consider this: If even only 5 users get involved in this event, and average 4 answers per day, in four weeks we will take care of 560 questions! This will be a success, if you try hard, and do your best. This is a community effort, and you are not alone! It's okay to be competitive, as long as you are supportive of the others who are working at this project. Try to be the most helpful!

Let's find out:

How many questions can we take care of by September 1?

Here are some tips to lead you to success:

  • If you are interested in this project, please comment below. Start comments in this purpose with something like, "I am interested in helping with this event.".

  • How many answers per week do you think you can manage? Find out how much Stack exchange time you have, and how much time per question you average. Try to post as many answers as you can fit in your 'time-budget'

  • Remember to answer new questions as well, or they will make the list longer.

  • Each day, run through all the active questions that were activated since you were on last, and vote on all the useful answers you can find. Try to use your maximum number of votes each day!

  • If everyone seems to be avoiding an exceptionally tough question, consider adding a bounty on it. Even a small one will gain the question lots of attention, and provide a positive incentive for answering.

  • If you find an unanswerable/off-topic question, close it! These will not benefit the site in any way, and we don't want new users to see them and possibly use them as a model.

  • To go with that, if a question seems on topic, but necessary info that was requested before never got posted, consider the question unanswerable, and vote to close it. If the OP wants to reopen, they will be required to give the requested information.

  • Some questions were written in a poor format, and were hard to understand. This may have been because of sloppiness from the OP, or sometimes an online interpreter misreading, and sometimes users who don't have English as their first language. If you see one of these and think it can be improved, take some time and edit! This will not only bump the question up where everyone sees it, but it makes it easier to understand.

  • If you aren't knowledgeable in Biology (like myself) Don't worry! You can still be a big help! Find and upvote useful answers on older questions. If you can't tell whether or not an answer is helpful, look for accepts, and upvotes from other users.

  • Do you have questions regarding what's on topic, and the help center isn't helping? Bring up the examples in a meta post!

  • If you start an answer, and get stuck, don't give up. post your progress on chat, and everyone can help you. This is a community attempt. Don't feel like you're on your own.

  • Try to get on chat as often as you can, to help others with tough questions, to ask for advice, and generally support this project.

  • If someone else made a mistake while answering, be understanding. These things happen when you are posting a high volume of posts. Let them know politely in a comment, or if it is something simple, try to edit it yourself.

  • Take on the questions in whatever way you feel is most efficient. You could sort by tags, votes, views, age, or whatever feels easiest to you. You may end up answering a question someone else is working on, and that is fine. Two answers are better than one!

  • Talk about what you're doing on chat. It is generally helpful for you biologists to know what sort of questions each other participant is interested in. You can recommend specific questions to specific users, or tell everyone what you do best.

  • Another idea: Know someone who can answer? Share a link to the question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

If you believe you have a good method of answering, and would like to share it, please do so in a comment on the original question. Do not swamp this answer with opinionated comments. We want to be orderly. If your suggestion is deemed useful (Gets at least 3 comment votes), it may be added to this post.

This question will be updated on September 1. If this event is successful, We will then focus harder on answers per question.

Otherwise, we will regroup and chop away at the unanswered questions some more. Only you can bring success to this project, and it's starting now!

Get out there and have fun helping!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I am interested in helping with this event. I cannot answer most questions, so I will be mostly moral support, and a super-voter. If you find a question tagged species-identification and botany you can let me know, if you're feeling kind. :-) Those are the topics that I have knowledge in. $\endgroup$ – J. Musser Aug 3 '14 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ I am interested in helping with this event, especially for evolution, fishes, marine biology and a few other odds and sods. Caveat: Classes start in less than a month so I'll have prep work to do there, too. I might be able to answer 2-4 questions on a 1-2 day schedule. I'll certainly do what I can. $\endgroup$ – Michael S Taylor Aug 3 '14 at 21:41

So here are couple of things I thought:

  • We can choose one tag per week.

  • Choose you favorite question and claim it on chat [So, others won't try to solve it for same time].

  • If you have any difficulty you can shout for help on Chat.

  • We will go from oldest to latest, least view to high.

PS: Everyone is free to improve this answer.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I would say everyone looks for the tags which fit best for him. $\endgroup$ – Chris Jul 30 '14 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Chris: Yes. YOu can choose any tag you want. $\endgroup$ – Devashish Das Jul 31 '14 at 7:45
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    $\begingroup$ Even if someone claims on chat, you can answer it too. That will help the A/Q ratio. $\endgroup$ – J. Musser Aug 1 '14 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ With my level of rep, I cannot edit your answer. Sounds like it's time for me to quit adding bounties! $\endgroup$ – J. Musser Aug 3 '14 at 2:18
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    $\begingroup$ I've made a shot at a generally helpful (hopefully) followup post to get things organized. Hopefully we can take care of this mess in an orderly and efficient fashion. $\endgroup$ – J. Musser Aug 3 '14 at 4:49

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