The Unsung Helper Who Contributes Back...

My favorite kind of contributor is the person who finds a problem, documents it, and then finds their own solution, and then goes back and makes sure the next person doesn’t fall into that hole. Nothing is worse than running into a problem that the original person solved and doesn’t share with the community.

Well, good news folks. There are people out there who do Do The Right Thing(tm). And they’re doing it every day, and thanks to the wonderful world of data, we know it’s happened 437 times on Ask Ubuntu. The bummer is, sometimes these people do so in a vacuum, they solve their problem, they document it for the rest of us, and they don’t even get a thanks. Well, here’s the data query.

That’s every post a person has posted, and then posted a solution, but still has not received any upvotes. Now you might think this is about earning reputation points. But it’s actually 2 things.

  1. People who bother to post their solution on the internet for the benefit of others deserve a hat tip.
  2. These questions are still considered “unanswered”, even though the poster likely posted a solution to their problem. Without votes on these questions they clutter the unanswered list, and people who still have real unanswered questions get lost in the mix.

So, how to help? Well first off, check out the data query. Open a bunch of the questions in new tabs, and if they’re good questions and answers, vote on them. The data query refreshes every week, so you’ll likely click on the same questions as the next person, so just go through what you can, and then check up weekly. If we can get just a handful of people doing this we can easily go through all the questions in a few weeks.

While you’re voting you can take the time to peer review this information and make it even better!