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I've been helping out with the LO 'Ask' site for a bit and I've run
into a few roadblocks along the way. The number of unanswered
questions on the site zoomed up when a bug in the site code prevented
users from marking a question as answered, and the number continues to
climb -- over 1,900 right now.

I was previously given the impression that many first-time users were
simply not returning to follow-up on their questions, but when I asked
a couple of users on the site to mark their (answered) question as
'answered', I was informed that they would if they could, but that
they would need to amass 50 karma points to do that -- 48 or 49 more
karma points than they already had.

There are a couple of things I think we can do to improve the user
experience on the site:

1) The karma required to perform operations is much higher on the LO
Ask site than on the Askbot software forum:

Lowering the threshold karma values a certain amount could empower
more people to use the features of the Askbot software, engaging them
as participants, not bystanders.

2) The site needs more moderators.

If a user answers his own question and doesn't have the karma to
accept/close the question, it would be great if a mod could perform
that task for him. I'm not talking about an instant response, but a
comment on a question by the OP like "Please mark my answer as correct
-- I can't do it myself" would ideally be seen (and acted on) by a mod
within a week.

Sure -- there are a number of other improvements that we could try to
make to the site, but I think that lowering the barriers to active
participation and adding more moderators are two of the best changes
we could make to dramatically reduce the number of outstanding
unanswered questions, and to improve the average user's experience on
the site.

-- Robinson 'qubit' Tryon

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