Is there an estimate of the percentage of answers that have no upvote/downvote or not even a "thank you!" comment (basically no way to say whether they are complete waste of time on author's behalf or not; no symbolic, say one rep. point, default compensation either :))?


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    $\begingroup$ You can use data.stackexchange.com to investigate questions like this, but you can only get a lower bound because answers like this might be deleted. $\endgroup$ – Phira Jan 3 '14 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Phira Thank you. I'll give it a try. Deleted by whom? Certainly not by author herself. Wouldn't the deletion be one extra slap :). $\endgroup$ – ir7 Jan 3 '14 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I was thinking erroneously of auto-deletion, but this does not happen to answers at all. $\endgroup$ – Phira Jan 3 '14 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ I just checked for my own answers. It is about 10% for me, but I think that it highly depends on the subject areas because first-time users cannot vote and will often not find out how to accept answers. $\endgroup$ – Phira Jan 3 '14 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Phira Thank you, again. I haven't used SQL in a long while (not yet familiar with the tables either). Could you please run the query globally (Math SX) for me? Only if you are interested in the answer to the question too AND would not take too much of your time. (It's about time to refresh my SQL anyway.) $\endgroup$ – ir7 Jan 3 '14 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ I looked up my own numbers in my profile. It seems that it is not possible to run the query you want because Posts do not come with accessible UpVotes numbers which makes some sense because for individual posts this information is only accessible with certain reputation. $\endgroup$ – Phira Jan 3 '14 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Phira Actually, the Votes table contains votes classified by type (including up and downvotes), linked to posts by Id. Thus, one could precisely identify the answers with no votes at all, at the cost of a more complex query. But this is hardly worth the effort; votes rarely cancel out on answers, and downvotes on answers tend to generate some kind of comment. $\endgroup$ – Post No Bulls Jan 4 '14 at 3:15

Since my SQL syntax knowledge is marginally existent, the best I can do is this:

All posts: 550801

Posts with zero score (possibly upvotes and downvotes cancel): 114152

Posts with zero score and zero comments: 2307

I find the last number rather surprising. Randomly looking at five of my own zero-score answers showed that two of them had no comments.

  • $\begingroup$ I realize that I forgot to use the PostType to restrict to answers only and that I have no idea how to filter out zero score uncommented accepted answers, but I think that we can conclude that few posts are ignored. $\endgroup$ – Phira Jan 3 '14 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I'll go with your conclusion. Thank you. $\endgroup$ – ir7 Jan 3 '14 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ On a related note, the up/down cancellation postulated by you might be troublesome. If there is little cancellation, then 114K out of 550K posts with zero score is interesting, isn't it? $\endgroup$ – ir7 Jan 3 '14 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ I just managed to restrict to answers. (PostTypeId=2) The corresponding numbers are 330896/59658/757 $\endgroup$ – Phira Jan 3 '14 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ Great. I find the 20% of answers being zero score interesting. $\endgroup$ – ir7 Jan 3 '14 at 22:15

Update. The original version of the answer did not take acceptances into account.

Definition 1. An answer is unappreciated if it is not accepted, not commented upon, and has the score of 0.

Some answers are deservedly unappreciated; this aspect is beyond the score of this study.

Some answers get no attention because they are somewhat redundant, or posted after other good answer. Hence, the following definition is introduced.

Definition 2. An answer is uncontested if it is the only answer that the question received.

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    $\begingroup$ Seems my score of 8.9% is lower than the overall (weighted) average of 11%. Now I feel appreciated at last. :) $\endgroup$ – Hagen von Eitzen Jan 4 '14 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @HagenvonEitzen Relatively speaking. You are still in top 10 by the number of unappreciated answers. $\endgroup$ – Post No Bulls Jan 6 '14 at 4:35

for questions, see https://math.meta.stackexchange.com/help/badges/40/tumbleweed about Meta and https://math.stackexchange.com/help/badges/40/tumbleweed on Main. A couple of us tried to design a deliberate tumbleweed question; it's a tricky exercise, not successfully completed. If you go too far in a negative or useless way with a question, you may well get a request for clarification.


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