On PPCG also old and already answered questions provide a valuable source for attraction of new answers and new users, which also supports growth of the site. Moreover, there are several barely noticed questions (often with only few answers) which are examples of good and noteworthy challenges.

According to its profile the user Community♦ does

randomly poke old unanswered questions every hour so they get some attention

In order to attract more answers also for older questions it might be an idea to change that behaviour to something like "randomly poke old (unclosed) questions".

It seems to be possible to do so but this would mean a feature request which has to describe the actual behaviour we want and why it is important for PPCG.

Therefore, please try to be specific with your answers such that we can get consensus whether we want something changed and in which way.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Does anyone know how old an "old" question is, and whether it's based on ask date or last activity? I'm pretty sure this has been answered somewhere on meta.se, but I can't find it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Geobits
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


Make the user poke frequently and also old questions which already have answers and votes on these.

The activity page with 25 recently active questions goes back (of course depending on the current activity) something like 24 hours to 3 days. I'd say that if among these there are four questions where the last activity dates back even longer it would be enough to drive attention to those questions without polluting the page with too much noise.

Also it seems that an old unanswered question is poked far less frequently than every hour - either I am alarmingly inattentive or I misunderstand the quote above.

Therefore I'd suggest

  • that each six hours an old question is poked to the top of the activity page
  • independent of the questions' answering status
  • independent of the votes on the question
  • but ignoring closed questions

I explicitely added the "indepentend of the votes" because I feel that especially "ancient" questions have generally lower votes (than recently posted ones) but seem as well attractive for the main page.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I suggest amending the criteria to only poking questions which have a positive number of votes. You're right - old questions have generally lower votes, but hopefully they have at least one, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 21:46
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Rainbolt Unless I botched the query there are only 93 questions in total which have a 0 net score (that's less than 5%). I don't think there's any harm if one of these pops up every now and then. But I agree on excluding questions with negative net score. (Just while I'm at it, there are 141 questions with negative net score.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 22:25
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I think it would be preferable to poke questions with fewer than 10 answers than questions with more. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 23:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agree with Peter. I don't see the point in poking a question with 100 answers already; it's unlikely a new user will have something new to add. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ypnypn
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ In stead of pokinga question every n hours, you could also check how many old questions there are on the first page every hour and poke an appropriate amount of old questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – overactor
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 7:35

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