Stackoverflow.com has 310,825 questions with no upvoted answers, English.stackexchange.com has only 2 currently (and usually none). Why is this? I know the volumes of new questions are very different but is there some other effect at work?

2 Answers 2


I can't speak for the others here, but when I am in the mood to answer questions I target the unanswered ones ruthlessly just to keep the list as small as possible.

  • If question was already answered, upvote the appropriate answer
  • If the answer is easy, answer it
  • If the answer requires research, go make a cup of drink and spend a night researching an answer
  • If the question is malformed, edit it, downvote it and/or vote to close it
  • If, in a few days, no change was possible I start pestering people in chat to help me close or resolve the question (with mixed success)

The advantage that EL&U has is that, barring extremely technical questions, I can almost always find some answer using the internet. Stack Overflow questions are much more narrow and technical in concept. The idea of just "researching it" is a little out of scope.


There are two possibilities.

English SE users are more generous upvoters (and perhaps downvoters as well!).

Language questions are more subjective than technical questions. Either the code or the formula works or it doesn't. English is how speakers use it in everyday life, so any reasonably decent answer is likely to be upvoted in no time.

  • 1
    Is it not possibly a third factor that a fairly high proportion of EL&U answerers consider themselves at least 'reasonably competent' speakers of their own language? So they're more likely to feel more confident about expressing opinions about what 'feels right' by upvoting, whereas in other sites it's not always so easy to feel that way if a question goes beyond what might be just your 'specialist subsection' of the entire knowledge domain? Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 17:45

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