StackOverflow has 25% unanswered questions

We were talking the other day at Ada Developers Academy about whether StackOverflow has an increasing barrier to entry. In order to play you have to answer a question. This was easier when it first started (and when it first started I had lots of experience). In the last few years many, many of the beginner questions are already answered. And for beginners, it’s even harder to find questions you can answer. The students I was talking to were frustrated by this.

At the same time, I was lamenting the fact that the few questions I’ve asked don’t get answered. Maybe because I only ask questions I can’t find the answer to and that are really hard. Or maybe they are uninteresting.

So I checked and discovered that this morning StackOverflow lists 1,687,405 unanswered questions of 7,016,543 total. That’s 25% unanswered questions! This really surprised me.

So I’m sure there are questions for beginning programmers just by the shear volume of questions. Finding them may be a challenge.

[Update 2014-05-12]

There’s an interesting post on where the top responders seem to think that the quality of questions is getting lower and more repetitive. One responder to this meta questions decried the questions on SO as being “answered 100 times, or is a “do my work for me” question.” So from their perspective the reason 25% are unanswered is because they have been answered before or the requester hasn’t done sufficient pre-work to warrant asking a question.


One thought on “StackOverflow has 25% unanswered questions

  1. It looks even worse at the StackExchange network. According to the [about page](, 40% of questions do not have accepted answers. (1.8M accepted answers of 3.1M questions)

    More interesting to me is that 3.8M members have asked 3.1M questions. So at least 20% of users have never asked a question (and likely more).

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