We are getting to a point with our question base (almost 1.4k!) that it might serve us well to go deep-diving, particularly with older questions, and identify "broken windows" -- questions, for example, that might be closed as "not a real question" if posed to the community today.

The built-in way to track all this in the system is through throwing flags on posts that might be problematic. I'd like to suggest that in cases where we might want collaborative review in making a determination whether to edit/flag, we could utilize chat (either the main channel or we could make a room specifically around this process), or alternately provide a link to the "questionable" post here and we can discuss it together.

Let's clean this place up! A few things in particular that I would consider "high-value targets":

  • older questions (particularly if highly-visible)
  • mis-tagged or under-tagged questions

Some final thoughts. In general, if a post is really problematic and should be closed/deleted, please don't hesitate to throw a flag up. Reserve editing for minor changes and improvements; if a wholesale reformulation is demanded, it might be most expedient/efficient just to shut it down and pose a new question.

  • 1
    What makes an older question highly-visible, simply number of upvotes?
    – Dennis
    Apr 5 '13 at 3:56
  • Sure, that's a good temperature check. (You can also take a look at the number of views on a question as a rough indication of how 'representative' of the site it might be.)
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Apr 6 '13 at 2:35
  • Along those lines, do you know the trick for searching for questions by number of views (assuming there is one)? I remember you showing me a neat trick to search by number of votes, a similar trick for number of views would be helpful for identifying "highly-visible" questions.
    – Dennis
    Apr 7 '13 at 19:44
  • There's a "frequent" sort on some pages -- I'm not actually sure how it's implemented under the hood, but I'd be surprised if views weren't factored in somewhere there. Also the "hot" feed almost certainly takes views into account, though I imagine it's much more transient.
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Apr 7 '13 at 19:45

I found some helpful searching tips on the SO advanced searching page:




"words here"


user:me (yours)


score: 3 (3+)

score:0 (none)


answers:3 (3+)
answers:0 (none)




body:"apples oranges"









The part of this relevant to my question in the comments to the question (how to search by views) is the "views:n" for some number n search feature. Hopefully this info helps those looking to do some question diving.

  • 1
    Nice! Yeah, that search tool is really nice :)
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Apr 7 '13 at 20:56
  • 2
    Yea, it seems that the best way to go about this review process is a disjunctive search where you search for questions with sufficiently high number of votes (maybe 10+?) OR sufficiently high number of views (maybe 250+ or perhaps a little higher, like 500+) AND not closed. It might also be worthwhile to include questions with no answers since these might either merit new consideration OR be indicative of a low-quality question that is, e.g., too unclear to answer. Just my two-cents.
    – Dennis
    Apr 7 '13 at 22:59
  • @JosephWeissman any idea what the </= correlate of : as >= is?
    – Dennis
    Apr 8 '13 at 7:07
  • No clue; it might not be available? But I really don't know :)
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Apr 13 '13 at 1:25

Issued a vote to close as duplicate on do numbers exist independently from observers? since I agree with Joseph's comment that it isn't appreciably different from "Was mathematics invented or discovered?".

Possible merge candidate?

I realize though, in hindsight, that duplicates aren't really the "broken windows" we are after.

  • It's definitely similar ground, but they seem to be differently inflected -- thanks for posting this here for us to think about together!
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Apr 6 '13 at 1:18
  • But yeah, while it's not exactly low-hanging fruit, dups are definitely good to note in passing.
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Apr 7 '13 at 19:35

Is everyone considered a "philosopher"?

Seems to be a duplicate of the closed question: What is Philosophy?

An answer to one would presumably entail the answer to the other (e.g., if we characterize philosophy, then philosophers are the people who do "that"; similarly, a characterization of the necessary and sufficient conditions for being a philosopher would seem to entail a characterization of philosophy, e.g., stuff that "those people" do).

Both seem to be non-constructive.

I cite in favor of the non-constructive nature of the first question that the top (and accepted) answer is simply a dictionary definition.

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