This is a direct reply to Grace Note's recent CR review, more precisely the following part:

(emphasis mine)


Tying in to all of the above is one of the most pressing concerns about the site I had in my own review, which is the gigantic pool of unanswered questions. There are, at the time of this writing, 1237 questions without any upvoted answers, a whopping 1010 of which have absolutely no answers at all. That’s over 10% of the site’s questions, sitting untouched and barely considered to be alive. These questions range from the site’s birth in 2011 all the way to modern day 2013. About 25% of these questions result in users never returning after a week, from a rudimentary query.

This isn’t a small number. This is a huge chunk of the site that’s basically just a black hole of despair, swallowing everything without giving anything back. And there’s a simple enough fix to this - clean up the unanswered questions. A large amount of what I see from these is questions that get a fair amount of comments back-and-forth when first asked, but then the entire dialogue is dropped and no one on either side follows up. The questions essentially become abandoned, not unlike the ultimate fate of this site if people don’t keep up.

Ladies & gentlemen, we have a problem. Let's fix it - that's what we do best, isn't it?

Go to the Unanswered questions: there's a counter there, showing the number of questions with no upvoted answers.

Select the my tags tab and VOTE:

(yes I have very few favorite tags - I'll fix that very soon) unanswered questions in your tags

Select the no answers tab and post an answer somewhere - we have to bring this number down, ASAP - this is the whopping 1010 Grace is talking about:

questions with no answer at all

Monitor the 1,237 questions without any upvoted answers figure from Grace's post on the votes tab:

all unanswered questions

Your ammunition: 40 votes per day, unlimited answers.

Every unanswered question is a zombie.

Every unvoted good answer is a target.

Ready? GO!

Mission Status:

This section tracks the metrics at regular intervals, at or around 12:00AM UTC. Each week is divided in 3 rounds (3-2-2 days), where the number of Questions with no answers /zombies and the number of Questions with no upvoted answers /targets at that point in time, is used to calculate the net score for that round; the net score is then divided by the number of days in the round.

It's important to understand that those are net figures; they include incoming zombies so they are inherently skewed (downwards). We'll get a much better picture once the data explorer allows us to dig up our own data. I'm including the total number of incoming zombies at the end of the week, under the debrief section.

Incoming zombies are acquired by searching for questions here "is:question created:yyyy-MM-dd"

  • Round 0 (Grace's observations):
    • 1,010 Questions with no answers
    • 1,237 Questions with no upvoted answers
    • CR is 88% answered

Week 1

  • Round 1 (2013-11-19 / 3 days):

    • 969 Questions with no answers (-41 | 13.7/day)
    • 1,113 Questions with no upvoted answers (-124 | 41.3/day)
    • 54 incoming
  • Round 2 (2013-11-21 / 5 days):

    • 918 Questions with no answers (-51 | 25.5/day)
    • 1,045 Questions with no upvoted answers (-68 | 34.0/day)
    • 41 incoming
  • Round 3 (2013-11-23 / 7 days):

    • 911 Questions with no answers (-7 | 3.5/day)
    • 1,008 Questions with no upvoted answers (-37 | 18.5/day)
    • 31 incoming


  • 99 zombies down | 14.1/day
  • 229 targets hit | 32.7/day
  • 126 incoming zombies | 18.0/day
  • Milestone: CR is now 90% answered

Week 2

  • Round 4 (2013-11-26 / 10 days):

    • 884 Questions with no answers (-27 | 9.0/day)
    • 972 Questions with no upvoted answers (-36 | 12.0/day)
    • 53 incoming
  • Round 5 (2013-11-28 / 12 days):

    • 868 Questions with no answers (-16 | 8.0/day)
    • 944 Questions with no upvoted answers (-28 | 14.0/day)
    • 48 incoming
  • Round 6 (2013-11-30 / 14 days):

    • 862 Questions with no answers (-6 | 3.0/day)
    • 905 Questions with no upvoted answers (-39 | 19.5/day)
    • 41 incoming


  • 49 zombies down | 7.0/day
  • 103 targets hit | 14.7/day
  • 142 incoming zombies | 20.3/day
  • CR is now 90.9% answered

Lock & Load people, Lock & Load!

As of 2013-12-04 04:25 UTC...

Status is 843 unanswered questions zombies, and 857 with no upvoted answers.

That's something to be proud of. Thanks to all who participated!!

I call that mission accomplished. What's next? - Guess:

enter image description here

843 zombies is still 843 zombies too many... keep answering!!

As of 2013-12-18, the number of remaining zombies dropped by another 100. We now stand at 743 zombies, and 785 without upvoted answers. CR is 93% answered.

As of 2014-02-02, we now stand at 754 zombies. CR is 94% answered.

Came for Call of Duty. Almost left disappointed until very last part was seen. –  Jamal Nov 16 '13 at 6:38
This is a custom zombie mode, you shoot zombie questions with answers, and answers with votes :) –  Mat's Mug Nov 16 '13 at 6:41
In multiplayer mode, receiving an upvote == getting a kill (same number of points, too). :-) –  Jamal Nov 16 '13 at 6:42
Seriously though, it could also help to close/delete such questions as needed. No need to answer any that don't fit on this site. –  Jamal Nov 16 '13 at 6:45
@Jamal: I hear that, I didn't like that talk at all. –  Malachi Nov 16 '13 at 6:48
@Malachi: Well, if it's said by a community manager, then we must listen. They have ze numberz, after all. –  Jamal Nov 16 '13 at 6:48
That CR review is our cue - it's got all we need to know to make it, or break it. –  Mat's Mug Nov 16 '13 at 6:50
The "spice" is that while we put energy on this big pile of .....dust, we must still strive to address new questions within the shortest amount of time - 8 hours average is bad - @Malachi this is quite possibly what's making people not come back. –  Mat's Mug Nov 16 '13 at 7:09
Thanks, @codesparkle. Everyone needs to see this post. –  Jamal Nov 16 '13 at 18:15
We're back at 89% answered!!! :D Keep it up! –  Jamal Nov 17 '13 at 3:57
@Jamal Won't... sleep.. till... 95%+...... –  Mat's Mug Nov 17 '13 at 3:58
@JamesKhoury that's an awesome edit! - I changed it a bit so we can track how each round scores :) –  Mat's Mug Nov 20 '13 at 1:03
Ooh, I'm liking this. –  Grace Note Nov 25 '13 at 0:58
Sorry guys but upvoting questions just to upvote is not a bad practice? I had read the question and tought to implement somenthing similar in the SO I mod but didn't like that part. –  Vitor Canova Nov 29 '13 at 17:53
Call of Duty is lame though. Can this be a quest instead? And zombies are so passe. Can they be demons? –  Koveras Dec 10 '13 at 19:32
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4 Answers

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Every Code Review member can help us get out of beta by helping to upvote good questions and answers! Now that Stack Exchange Data Explorer supports beta sites, here are three queries that should yield good candidates for voting:

  • Welcome intermediate users by reviewing their answers and questions

    These queries finds posts from users with between 150 and 500 reputation points who have been seen recently. Those posts are likely to be at least somewhat valuable, since those users are known to have made positive contributions already. Please help bump up these members to 500!

  • Questions with only zero-score answers

    If a question has only zero-score answers, one of two statements should be true:

    1. Nobody has reviewed the answer(s), in which case you should help pick out the good one(s) by voting.
    2. None of the existing answers is up to par, in which case you can help by contributing a good answer!
I'd love to see CR's results with that query! ...and other queries, too! Or do we have to dig up the data dump? –  Mat's Mug Nov 18 '13 at 23:01
Beta sites are excluded from the data dump! –  200_success Nov 18 '13 at 23:09
I see... so our best tools are essentially highlighted in this post then! ...*Operation Upvote*... where's the "Like" button when you need it?! –  Mat's Mug Nov 18 '13 at 23:13
@retailcoder I never thought I would miss that thing! –  Simon André Forsberg Nov 18 '13 at 23:38
@retailcoder: Gotta work on our killstreaks. ;-) –  Jamal Nov 19 '13 at 0:12
Feature request on MSO: — Please upvote! –  200_success Nov 19 '13 at 1:15
@200_success look at you! First MSO post and he gets a [badge:nice-answer]! :) –  Mat's Mug Nov 19 '13 at 18:00
@retailcoder Unlike here, they hand out reputation points like candy on StackOverflow. –  200_success Nov 19 '13 at 18:13
@200_success you might want to take a look at this:… –  Mat's Mug Nov 25 '13 at 16:59
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Some "memes"...

A few expressions have come up recently, thought I'd share them here (feel free to add, this is CW!)

  • Running out of ammo: when you have exhausted all 40 votes for the day.
  • Head shot: when you're out of ammo and post a target in chat, and then someone puts in a vote for you.
  • Waking up the dead: when posting an answer on a zombie question causes the OP to come back to CR and accept your answer.
  • Killcam: when you've just shot a zombie with a great answer, and now the zombie is still counting as a question with no upvoted answer so you post your own target in chat. Use with care, abusing the killcam is said to trigger thoughts of "rep-whoring".
  • Zombie looting: when you've downvoted (upvoted?) a question that ends up being deleted (on the same day), and then you get your vote back. The vote count doesn't deplete though, which means zombie looting allows you to appear to have voted like 43 times on a single day, and steal the show on the voters tab.
  • Napalm Strike (or Carpet Bombing Airstrike): when you upvote the question, and all answers are good enough to each warrant an upvote, too.
  • Double tap: when you answer a question that has another answer (with no upvotes).
  • (removed): instead of removing a chat message, why not just say (removed)? Started when Jamal used his vacuum cleaner on a couple of off-topic messages in the chat. Beware though, it is said a baby unicorn dies everytime it is used.
  • ding!: The sound the chat makes when you ping someone.
  • theoretical: when you're out of stars, you can still give a theoretical star. If you're lucky you'll even get theoretical thanks, so you can say "you're theoretically welcome!". It's all about theory. Originated from a question that was said to have theoretical code, which should go into a theoretical compiler before being posted on Code Review.

A few of our personalities also has become a kind of meme:

I think the Mods should let us vote on this more than once. –  Malachi Dec 12 '13 at 23:16
This answer has largely been surpassed by the main meme collection –  amon Feb 19 at 18:14
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Now that Stack Exchange Data Explorer includes the beta-site statistics, it is possible to plot and manage the site activity levels....

A question was raised in Meta to discuss options: Stack Exchange Data Explorer is up. What now, Wonderland?

Some of the queries that have come up are directly related to this Call of Duty:

  • Distribution of avid users by reputation tier (Grace Note's Query Recreated) (and the Wonderland answer)

    Reputation Threshold # Users % of Avid Users Cumulative % of Avid Users 
    -------------------- ------- --------------- -------------------------- 
    150                  1159    51.8105         51.8105                    
    200                  828     37.0139         88.8243                    
    500                  146     6.5266          95.3509                    
    1000                 55      2.4586          97.8096                    
    2000                 28      1.2517          99.0612                    
    4000                 21      0.9388          100

    updated 9 Feb 2014

    Reputation Threshold # Users % of Avid Users Cumulative % of Avid Users 
    -------------------- ------- --------------- -------------------------- 
    150                  1170    51.4965         51.4965                    
    200                  842     37.0599         88.5563                    
    500                  156     6.8662          95.4225                    
    1000                 55      2.4208          97.8433                    
    2000                 27      1.1884          99.0317                    
    4000                 22      0.9683          100
  • Site Activity Charts (past 60 weeks)

    Details containing raw numbers on activity.

    enter image description here

  • Site Activity Ratios (past 60 weeks)

    Details containing activity expressed as a ratio. One ratio that is most significant for the Call-of-Duty is the Answers-per-Question ratio. This ratio is available on this chart, and you can track the progress of it's correction.... ;-)

    enter image description here

  • Questions with answers that are not upvoted

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The following SEDE query looks for zombies which may interest you in particular:

Find interesting unanswered questions

Looks at unanswered questions in your top 20 tags and sorts them by a combined weight which takes into account: score, askers reputation and how well you do on that particular tag

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