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One 'sour' statistic on the front page is that there's a 1 in 16 chance the question someone posts won't get answered (6%). Is there a way we could encourage answering unanswered questions, or target these to keep them closer to 100? I just answered one about elephant trekking, seemed easy and interesting, so not sure why nobody else had tried. There are 17 unanswered questions as I look now:

https://travel.stackexchange.com/unanswered

  • I just posed an answer to an unanswered question. I asked a friend to give me his experiences. Since it isn't backed up by any fact, I normally wouldn't post it. Anyone have any comments about the acceptability of this? travel.stackexchange.com/questions/573/… – Beaker Jul 12 '11 at 10:23
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For straightforward questions - visa rules, customs rules, etc - for which there are authoritative answers available online, I think it's okay to answer them. No, I don't consider this to be a LMGTFY situation because, for instance, visa / customs etc can be very arcane with multiple government sites and often it can just be hard to find the right resource.

For long-tail or narrow-scope questions, I think it's best to only answer if you have at least some experience about the place / topic in question; if an answer sourced from somewhere else is posted, then use that personal experience to judge how reliable the answer is, and then link to source.

I think most of the contributors are following such measures already. Many of the questions that have been left unanswered ARE tough-to-answer long-tail questions which you probably won't find an answer for online. It's a good sign that people are asking such questions, and as the site grows, we'll hopefully have people who can speak from personal experience to give authoritative answers.

  • Agreed. If it is something that is based on easily accessible information, based on channels that seasoned travelers are used to using, it is a good way to answer a question. Example of this would be your answer to Taiwanese visas was based on a government website. – Beaker Jul 11 '11 at 5:38
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In a few of those cases, there's a question in the comments seeking clarification that hasn't been answered. Without the answer they may not be answerable, or at least without making some assumptions

One option for the others is to offer a bounty on them - see this meta thread for details for example. Or we could do our own low-tech one - if you tackle one of these questions, post a link as a comment and a few of us could promise to review the answer and up-vote if it looks good!

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I have a hard time advocating that we drop in and answer questions with statistics off the net or general answers (which I have seen a bit of). I thought we should be doing that a couple weeks ago, then I found myself adding in an answer just to get an answer in and reduce our unanswered rates. I don't think this is acceptable nor was it acceptable on my part. It leads to copy-and-paste answers.

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