I actually really like stackexchange, however, I think a lot of improvements could be had in the site interface which would boost participation.

The real test of the usefulness of a site like this is customization.

As it stands, the rendering of the subdomain chistianity.stackexchange.com loads the UL container tag with "Questions Tags Users Badges Unanswered Ask Question" as the anchor lists.

The div id "mainbar" is therefore shown on the resulting page /unanswered along with a further div id of "subheader" and a level 1 heading of "Unanswered Questions". The div id "tabs" has the following links: "my tags newest votes no answers".

That last one really is the head-scratcher in all of this.

Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't Unanswered and "no answers" synonyms if not functionally identical?

An ideal rewrite would have a more powerful thread sorting, watch lists, hide lists and clear distinctions which eliminate redundancy.


First of all, the structure of the overall page markup is common across all the Stack Exchange sites. If you think there is any improvement to be made in those areas you really should bring it up on the main network meta site. Those really aren't specific to this site and they will get more attention from the developers over there.

Secondly, there is a difference between "no answers" and "unanswered". The former is obvious, the latter might be less intuitive but it shows questions that don't have accepted or upvoted answers. There might be answer posts but they are not ones the OP or community has found useful, so they are still listed as needing answers.

Lastly I'd like to point out that this is not a discussion forum. As such the very mention of "threading" suggests you might not have understood the focus of the site. The Q&A format deliberately avoids functionality that lends itself to discussion rather than clear cut question and an answer posts. Likewise watch lists and hide lists sound like you are thinking of social networking features that will likely run against the objectives of the site. On the other hand there are topical watch/block functions already. You can add topic tags to your favorites or to an ignore list to customize the front page a little bit based on your interests.

  • Thank you, but a few of the assumptions are incorrect. 1, I get the format of the site, that's not the issue. The issue is making it easier for those interested in answering questions to be able to follow content they are interested in. Every site of this nature comes down to two classes of users and there is carryover between them. Content providers, and content consumers. Better watchlists help both. Tags are nearly meaningless. There is a great deal of subjectivity in their usage. I was thinking more along permalinks. Also, I have to think there is some degree of customization.
    – user31124
    Jun 13 '17 at 22:09
  • 1
    @user31124 Like I said you are welcome to make specific proposals on the main meta site. In the mean time I have no idea what you're talking about. You haven't explained what you think a "watchlist" even is or what it would be watching. Tags are far from meaningless, and you haven't proposed how anything else would be less subjective (or why that would be a good thing); if you want to propose a better way to handle taxonomy then go ahead, but you'll need to be explicit. Also permalinks already exist for almost everything, so I've no idea what you've in mind.
    – Caleb
    Jun 14 '17 at 9:39
  • thank you for your suggestion about the main meta site. To clear things up: Since tags are subjective, they are able to be placed by the questioner but then may be revised by an editor or a system admin, it's a little bit of roulette whether the tag one has followed will ultimately be the one the question winds up with. I could have applied a "debug" tag to this post, then an editor comes in and gives it a completely different tag profile which would wreak havoc on tracking. If a watch list followed a mixture of advanced search and permalinks, it stays watched. Then a hide list.
    – user31124
    Jun 14 '17 at 18:55

Caleb has already discussed the difference between "no answers" and "unanswered". So I'll move straight on to the issues you mention for your "ideal rewrite".

  1. I'm not sure what you're referring to in terms of "thread sorting". You mention in a comment on Caleb's answer that you understand the format of the site. The site currently doesn't have threads (in the sense of Wiktionary's definition 7 or Merriam-Webster's definition 3c), except in the sense that each question and accompanying answers could be said to constitute a "thread". I'm not sure what the point of "thread sorting", more or less powerful, would be.
  2. In terms of "watch lists" and "hide lists": I currently have a group of tags that I list as favorite, and a second group I list as ignored. The "ignore" tags are hidden from me, and the "favorite" are highlighted. If I have another specific question I want to refer back to regardless of how it's tagged, I mark it a favorite—and it stays favorited regardless of subsequent edits. I'm not sure what additional functionality you're thinking of.
  3. As far as the "subjectivity" of tags: I think I understand what you mean. But if an editor "comes in and gives [a post] a completely different tag profile", as you suggest in a comment, it's always possible for the author to roll back the edit to give the post its original tag set—and if the author doesn't, then presumably he or she agrees that those tags weren't in fact appropriate to describe the question in the first place, so that they may not be questions you actually do want to watch.

I do agree that "No answers" and "unanswered" is confusing; I'm not sure what (short) rewrite could distinguish the two.

  • Glad I've got some movement in the agreeable quotient of my "thread" :P Incidentally, 1.) in your Wiktionary definition of my usage of the word, definitions 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9 all work. So I'm sure you got my gist. But let's go with definition 2 and argue that if I want to sort subject matter containing the book of John, would that not be advantageous? It would! 2.) seems adequate, I guess. 3) does anyone with a score under ____ (unknown reputation score) even have that ability? Honestly I think most average users just want traction one way or another without studying overlapping tags.
    – user31124
    Jun 22 '17 at 6:17
  • @user31124 With (3), it's my understanding that Everyone, no matter their reputation, has the ability to roll back an edit to their question which they believe changes their question to something they didn't mean to ask. As far as (1), you can certainly already filter for "a theme or idea" (definition 2) by tag. But how would you "sort" it? You can already sort filtered questions by "newest", etc. as appears in the subheader. Jun 22 '17 at 12:13
  • I want to sort subject matter containing the book of John Use the search function. It's what I do. Jun 23 '17 at 21:18

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