Let's see what we can do to answer the unanswered questions. I was able to answer one about cryogenic propulsion recently, and I'm suspecting more can be answered. I'm going to place a few bounties on some of these questions, but let's see if we can get them all answered. Perhaps some other high reputation users can help contribute to this effort?
Nice work so far! I know I personally have answered 4 questions, and offered 5 bounties. I've awarded two of my bounties (With a third one answered by myself). There are currently 9 bounties out there, which is fantastic! I've seen some great answers from several people! We've even gone up a whole percent in our percent answered statistics, from 93% to 94%. Keep up the good work!
We are currently at 163, so we still have a lot of run to go, but we are making progress, and that's fantastic!
Thanks also to everyone who has participated thus far, this has been and is continuing to be a great success!
I'd like to offer a few thought on this, but first also a few caveats:
When Pearson mentions in his suggestion that some other high reputation users can help contribute to this effort, what's probably meant with high reputation is those few of us with reputation above or fast approaching 20k. I of course joined this scheme, and will award some more in the future like I did before, but I'd suggest that our members don't jump too quickly to conclusion that they're high reputation members. Currently, during the beta period, 4k reputation points is all anyone needs (gets you all site privileges), but once we graduate, that bar increases to 20k. There have already been cases where lack of high reputation members delayed site graduation (recent one is Cryptography that is technically queued for graduation as soon as possible and they already had first moderator elections, but lack of sufficient number of high reputation members that's about on par with us means that the community review couldn't function at desired level, if that reputation bar for site privileges was increased). So please, if you're not a high reputation member, and you consider some question should be additionally exposed with bounties, mention that in our main chat room, and I'll personally see to it as soon as I'll be able to (each of us can have only three open bounties at any time).
Setting bounties to questions doesn't really guarantee that the question will receive answers worthy of awarding them, or indeed receive any answers at all. If you deem that you could answer the question instead, please do so and remember that if you also set a bounty on it, the one that offered it can't be awarded that bounty. And it also wouldn't be the first time that no answer really qualified for a bounty by whoever offered it, and the system then automatically awarded half of it to the most up-voted answer, if that was warranted or not. All of this is potentially wasteful to our total reputation point pool that our site has, so please don't jump on it too fast. If you're interested enough in answers to some question, chances are you've already done some research on the matter and could instead rather answer it, or at least give it your best shot. This has also already happened, e.g. offering a bounty and then providing the only answer to the question to me in What could the X-37 be useful for?, and I also offered bounties on other Stack Exchange sites that didn't result in any answer at all, e.g. Briligg's request Can we add the ability to place multiple links in chat event schedules? on Stack Exchange Meta.
And now a bit happier thoughts:
One other way of decreasing the number of unanswered questions, besides the obvious one to try and answer them yourself, is to also check if they already received answers that are good enough to deserve an up-vote, but nobody yet voted on them. I managed to find 6 such answers, while still sticking with my criteria of what quality of answers deserves an up-vote. That is a better statistic than what we managed to collectively do with this scheme of offering bounties so far (11 offered worth 650 points, only 3 awarded worth 250 points, with 3 more waiting for answers worth 150 points).
So please vote! Up, down, edit to improve, comment, flag, use whichever peer review option out of many available and see if any items are waiting in review queues, but please read contributions and if you've done so, also decide how much you deem they're worthy of your approval. I know it's a worn-out phrase, but it helps us separate the wheat from the chaff, and enables good contributors to gain much needed site privileges faster, so they can help out in all of this.
I've offered before (in chat, and probably here in meta too) to award bounties off my own reputation to exemplary answers. So while I'm reading most of the stuff on our site, time permitting, I might also miss some and I'd be grateful if you bring that to my attention in our chat. Feel free to award bounties like that on your own, but I'd personally prefer if you don't do that if you have, say, 4-5k reputation points, and I'll gladly chip in myself instead.
I think we should reinstate our Topic of The Week scheme that was frozen for inactivity. I suggest a few changes to this scheme to make it stick this time around though:
- One week doesn't seem to have been enough, and introduced more work than it produced results. One month however seems a bit too much, so I propose we run these ToTW each fortnight and if circumstances require it, we extend each for up to a month (e.g. New Horizon's approach to Pluto would be one such example, if we move fast and there's still a point in running that).
- We need to somehow better incentivize ToTW. We did try to gain support from Stack Exchange and to extend capabilities of our Q&A infrastructure, but that - while in my humble opinion an excellent idea - sadly didn't succeed. Probably because it would only appeal to smaller and beta Stack Exchange sites that actively work on community building and site scope, but that's not for me to answer.
- (Because all good things come in threes, but this is really just 2.1) To incentivize ToTW, I propose we run a similar scheme to this one also there. Say, those that support and approve of certain tag featured in ToTW, and if they're high reputation members, also see to it that best quality answers received during each ToTW are awarded bounties. This way we can guarantee that reputation points stay in our community, instead of throwing some away by risking with offering bounties before questions even receive any answers.
That's about it. Please discuss these points in our main chat room, and I'll refine my proposal and write it as a separate question here in meta. Thanks!