Finding old, unanswered StackOverflow questions

So you wanna start answering questions on StackOverflow, but you’re frustrated because it seems like people are fillin’ out answers even faster than you can type?  Find yourself up at 3am hitting Refresh just hoping a new question comes in?

Necromancer Badge Shirt

Necromancer Badge Shirt

Here’s a new trick:

  1. Import the StackOverflow database into SQL Server
  2. Run this query to find old, unanswered questions
  3. Profit!  Err, no, but watch your reputation go up as you solve old questions.

It turns out there’s a little (and I do mean little) niche of questions ripe for the pickin’.  I spent half an hour around midnight last night answering a handful of old SQL Server questions and I’ve already gained 75 points – pretty surprising for a Friday night.  Even more surprising to me, I’d posted an answer to a question that had been dormant since December (6 months ago), and the questioner already checked my answer and thanked me for it.  See, answering old questions really does help people, not just game the system for reputation points!  (That’s how I rationalize it anyway.)

Another boost: you’ve got a better chance of earning the Necromancer badge, which is awarded when someone answers a question more than 60 days old and then gets 5 upvotes on their answer.

Oh, and the shirt?  Yeah, I’ve set up a few StackOverflow badge shirts, including badges that don’t exist (yet) like Fastest Gun and Bounty Hunter.

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