On other sites on Stack Exchange, I have received quick responses for most of my questions - by quick, I mean within a 24-hour period. I have asked three questions in Ask Ubuntu, and each one of them has lasted over a week without a single comment, much less an answer.

Forgive me for sounding impatient, but are the people who moderate Ask Ubuntu busy with other questions, ignoring these questions because they-re off-topic or duplicates (and if that's the case, how come they're not getting flagged?) or do they just don't care?

2 Answers 2


Your question assumes there are only two reasons a question is unanswered:

  • It's off-topic and the moderators are being lazy.
  • We hate you and won't answer out of spite.

I can't speak for everybody but I know at least two more reasons I don't answer things:

  • I don't know the answer. I don't know everything. ☹☹☹
  • I just don't see the question. There are lots of other people with problems and I'm not here all the time. I have other things to do, like high-fiving bears, and doing stuff that pays for food.

Your Nook question is very niche. I don't have one and I haven't even thought about putting Ubuntu on one. I'm no help. Your Audacity question is also quite niche but Googleable, so I've answered. Aaaand your bountied question probably needs more information to be answerable, so I've commented.

You're doing roughly the right things. Keep questions updated. Add bounties if you can... But ultimately accept that not every question is going to have somebody out there that both knows the answer and sees the question.

  • 1
    Are you high-fiving Pandas? Also, I form some reason put my @terdon voice on when I was reading this until I saw your picture (not really a voice, but I sort of assumed that it was terdon)... :P
    – user364819
    Nov 23, 2015 at 21:07

There are two problems with this Meta question. The first is that the moderators are responsible for your question in some fashion - they are not. If anyone not responding to you, it is readers, not moderators (if a moderator offers an answer, then arguably they are doing it in their additional capacity as a reader).

You touch upon the second problem by acknowledging that you appear impatient, but I am not sure you fully appreciate it - if you take the view that readers "just don't care" about your questions, then you are mistakenly of the view that you are owed an answer. On Stack Overflow, I frequently see people mark their questions as "urgent" for presumably the same reason, and I would be intrigued as to how one comes by the idea that answers must be supplied to a poster in a particular time-frame. (I sometimes think this particular behaviour results from a cultural difference rather that people who are wanting to be rude).

It should go without saying that most helpers are volunteers, and they will answer questions they are interested in, at their leisure.

In some cases the issue will be that the question is not clear or is very niche. If you don't get an answer, add a bounty, or cross-post to another forum and add a link, so as not to duplicate answers.

As an example of this, I recently asked a Stack Overflow question, which resulted in a similar (but not identical) question on Ask Ubuntu, which triggered a report on a project bug tracker, and for good measure I added one to an upstream bug tracker as well. I have hyperlinked between them so that if someone wishes to add a late answer, they can check the cross-post locations prior to spending too much effort on it.

  • 1
    It's OK @BorWal - all a learning process. I have ~12K on Stack Overflow and my latest question isn't getting much attention, and neither will it - but going through the process was at least helpful rubber-ducking. I think as long as you (and everyone) don't have an expectation of immediacy from the SE sites, they can be very useful indeed.
    – halfer
    Nov 24, 2015 at 0:37
  • So @halfer, instead of complaining, I should try other ways to get attention for my posts. Setting bounties (that is, if I can gather enough reputation), sharing... eh, I forget what else. I'll have to review the help manual!
    – user454723
    Nov 24, 2015 at 0:43
  • @BorWal: bounties yes, and you can always ask politely in a comment for someone to add a bounty for you, if you get no attention at all. Spent time in the relevant chat rooms so when you need help you have people to turn to. Meet devs local to your area so you have people you can discuss issues with around a laptop.
    – halfer
    Nov 24, 2015 at 0:47

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