Like many users, I suppose, I have wondered how and when an old question gets bumped by the system. (Of course an edit or a new answer bumps a question: I'm not asking about this.)

The system already does this by itself but the algorithm is imperfect and some good oldies escape it and would stay dormant without user intervention.

And in a comment (by user9072) to the same answer:

$\ldots$ the only questions I ever saw getting bumped are those that are in 'unanswered' while having an answer, ie, have answer(s) but none with positive score.

The context of this comment suggests that things may be different now, but my non-systematic observation of MO leads me to think the comment is essentially valid now.

So if I understand correctly, a question with no answer at all is consigned to oblivion if there are no answers or edits, while one with an answer that is not upvoted will be poked from time to time? Surely this is an anomaly? Is there a good reason for this?

If there is not, I propose the following.

Questions with no answer should be bumped by the system on the same basis as questions with at least one answer but no upvoted answer.

• You asked (among other things) which questions are bumped by the system. Links to some info which contains (among other things) details about this can be found in the tag-info of the community-user tag. (BTW this might be a reasonable tag for your post.) Sep 27, 2016 at 2:10
• Related post on the main meta: Community user does not bump questions that never had an answer. It is marked as (status-bydesign). Sep 27, 2016 at 2:14
• Another consideration in favor of your proposal is that a question with an answer has in fact already been bumped at least once, when that answer came in. Sep 27, 2016 at 2:15
• Auto-bumping is one reason that "answer in the comments" is not as good as "answer in the Answer". Sep 27, 2016 at 11:53
• @MartinSleziak Thanks for those links. So it seems to be a universal SE policy. Perhaps the main Meta may be the appropriate forum to make this feature request. Still I'm curious to know what the MO community makes of the status quo. Sep 28, 2016 at 18:39
• Possibly this post from meta.SE might be relevant too, since it contains explanation why the bumping by Community ♦ was implemented: How can we make the purpose of Community “bumping” more obvious?. Quote from there: "To be clear, the intent here is to resurface questions that someone has attempted to answer, but which haven't yet attracted any votes to either confirm the usefulness or decry the worthlessness of the answer(s) that've been posted." Sep 29, 2016 at 0:37

Depending on how one reads your post, it can be considered as two or three (or perhaps even more) closely related questions.

• Could (and should) we change behavior of the community user such that it bumps questions which have no answers? What are the reasons why this feature request currently works the way it does?

It seems that the main purpose of this feature is not to bring unanswered questions to the attention of users. It is about bringing attention to answers. I will quote from this post: How can we make the purpose of Community "bumping" more obvious?

To be clear, the intent here is to resurface questions that someone has attempted to answer, but which haven't yet attracted any votes to either confirm the usefulness or decry the worthlessness of the answer(s) that've been posted.

So changing this to bumping questions without answers would mean using this feature for a different purpose than originally intended.

As with any automated system, it is probably difficult to define good criteria how to choose questions which should be bumped. (I.e., questions where additional attention might be useful.) I do not know whether all details how community user selects the questions are publicly known, the algorithm might be quite complicated. For example, only recently I learned that number of views is also taken into account.

• Is my understanding that community user does not bump questions with no answers correct?

I wrote questions with no answers rather than unanswered questions since by the meaning commonly used here on Stack Exchange network, the term unanswered question includes question having an answer, which is neither upvoted nor accepted.

Some links to the basic info about community user can be found in the tag-wiki. In particular, this post contains many details about what community user does: Who is the Community user?

Specifically to your question this meta.SO post seems to be relevant: Community user does not bump questions that never had an answer I will point out that it is tagged as .

• Are older questions with no answer doomed?

The exact quote from your post is:

So if I understand correctly, a question with no answer at all is consigned to oblivion if there are no answers or edits.

In my opinion, the answer to this is certainly No. (Although the likelihood to getting an answer is definitely much smaller.)

Bump by community user is not the only way how a question can be bumped.