On July 21, there were 92572 unanswered questions on Math.SE according to the unanswered questions statistic (and not the not answered statistic). On July 22, there were 94797 unanswered questions — a difference of over 2000. This is visible in the Unanswered Question Tracker in the Crusader's Chatroom.

We didn't get 2000 more questions in a day. I see perhaps five possibilities:

  1. Stack Exchange changed its fundamental definition of an unanswered question in some way, perhaps just on some sites (like perhaps Trinity+Math, or SO+Math, or some other age/volume based way). Under the new definition, approximately 2000 more questions became unanswered.

  2. A 2000+ vote user deleted their account for some reason.

  3. A very large amount of voting fraud was caught and automatically reversed by either the Celestial Thaumaturges (CommTeam) above or the automatic script.

  4. As unlikely as it is, a very large number of users just happened to downvote/remove upvotes/unaccept answers in the same day.

Alternately, either the API from which the Unanswered Question Tracker from lied (though rather consistently for a very long time) and/or the Unanswered Question Tracker is simply buggy (although it is correct now, and no change has been made to it).

This is mysterious to me, and I do not understand what has happened.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is the source code of your tracker available? Just curious to know where the data comes from. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Jul 24, 2015 at 6:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There was a user removed at 2015-07-23 18:03:51Z: most of very active answerers lost 10-30 points at that time. But that was only 12 hours ago, and the jump you observed predates that by a day. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Jul 24, 2015 at 6:21
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I know it's a math website, so it's not reasonable to expect someone to count all the way up to five... but you only listed four possibilities. Is this your proof that $\sf PA$ is inconsistent? :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jul 24, 2015 at 7:32
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ He said "perhaps five." (The fifth possibility is not numbered, indicating the uncertainty of its inclusion in the list.) $\endgroup$
    – JRN
    Jul 24, 2015 at 7:41
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to know about (1) you can ask it on Meta.SE, or alternatively, I suspect moderators have a direct way of communicating with SE? For (2), can't moderators can see the history of deleted users? $\endgroup$
    – wythagoras
    Jul 24, 2015 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ @wythagoras in fact, I was talking directly with two members of the Comm Team. They were stumped, and one eventually asked me to put it on meta. $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    Jul 24, 2015 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ @mixedmath Okay. Also, what is exactly the purpose of the room? Is there something I may contribute to? $\endgroup$
    – wythagoras
    Jul 24, 2015 at 14:25
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I'm going to reprint our team's business cards to denote that we are Celestial Thaumaturges. $\endgroup$
    – hairboat
    Jul 24, 2015 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe this should be tagged (status-completed), if you are statistified by Normal Human's answer. $\endgroup$
    – wythagoras
    Jul 29, 2015 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


The Unanswered tab used to suffer from a couple of bugs or inconsistencies. Both concerned the content with negative score.

  1. A bug reported on Meta recently, Unanswered section does not include questions with negatively scored answers. Illogically, the tab did not include the questions where there was at least one answer but all answers had negative score. There are 755 such questions on Math. Now they are visible on the Unanswered tab.

  2. An inconsistency between Unanswered tab and Questions/unanswered subtab. The former excluded questions with negative score, the latter did not. As of now, negatively scored unanswered questions do appear on the Unanswered tab. There are 1238 such questions on Math.

Taken together, the above should explain the jump of about 2000 questions. I presume that the cleanup of the queries underlying these views had to do with the ongoing reform of SE site navigation, which in particular will fold the Unanswered tab into a particular view of the main page.


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