tl;dr: What is your (best) way to find question you can answer on AskUbuntu?

I usually log in to AU and surf through the list of new questions. If some "interesting" question catches my eye, I open it and try to answer it. However this might not ever the best way to work with AU. So how do you answer?

I could image to check the list of favorite tags, look for new questions and answer them. Or to work aggressively with favorite/ignored tags, so that the list of questions gets smaller.

I'd like to hear what is your best practise here and hope to improve my answering skills. :)


3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted is my "go to" tab.

It either goes by your favorite tags that you've set, or if you haven't set any by the tags you've answered/been most active in and then sorts them by votes. You can start with the ones which are probably the most interesting by just going top to bottom on the page.

I also use this screen to use up my daily votes, that is if I run into an answer with no votes that I feel is a good answer I vote on it.

If I'm active that day and voting/answering heavily the list will change quickly, which is nice because it's always fresh and sorted by votes so I don't waste too much time with poorly voted questions.

Tried this, does not work in practice because of the ancient questions keep popping up (been there, discarded that). Right now I still see questions from > 6 months old answered in a tab named unanswered. –  gertvdijk Jan 12 '13 at 19:09
If they're in the unanswered tab then it means no one has voted on the answers -- so I review them and if the answers are good I vote accordingly. If you're looking for no answers at all then there's a separate tab for that. –  Jorge Castro Jan 12 '13 at 19:12
Well, my comment wasn't too clear perhaps. Made it an answer. –  gertvdijk Jan 14 '13 at 9:17

I usually start by searching for the most popular unanswered questions, as explained here. These questions are usually the ones that are in the greatest demand, and they are also among the most visible of all questions (to search engine users). To find all open unanswered questions on AskUbuntu with more than 500 views, see here:

@qbi This isn't the default search behavior for the Stack Exchange Network. It only functions this way with the parameters that I have given in the URL. And it isn't purely theoretical - if you click the link, you'll see that it actually works! –  Anderson Green Jan 14 '13 at 0:18
On the contrary I think adding views to the search is a great idea, you can focus on questions that you know people are looking for the answer to. –  Jorge Castro Jan 14 '13 at 1:41

Several things I do or don't do:

  • I have some specialized "expertise" in some areas, such as MySQL in Ubuntu (just one random example). Every now and then I do a search on the site when I feel like diving into MySQL again. Using Google gives me way more relevant search results.

  • I don't use tags because of the enormous amounts of noise. I feel that they don't work very well on Ask Ubuntu. See for example Can we please disambiguate or discourage the 'mobile' tag?

  • The "My Tags" page as Jorge proposed doesn't work for me. In theory this should work - but really, not for me, for several reasons. Lots of them are quite old (> 3 months), tagged erroneously, been-there-discarded-that (still popping up) and worst: gone because of just one upvoted nonsense answer.

  • "Scanning" - Just scanning the plain active list, opening 10+ could-be-interesting-questions in tabs in the background, scrolling quickly and watching for either "easy mistakes" I can easily answer, "interesting" within 3 seconds well written questions, "less than perfect answers to questions" such as Does 12.04 LXDE have LTS? and Can Ubuntu Server 10.04.4 LTS be upgraded to NON-LTS? were. With already one answer with upvotes these were not showing up, yet interesting to answer.


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