Old questions: quite often I'll work hard to answer a question, only to find it's from 2 years ago. I imagine that questioner isn't still waiting and checking for the answer! So, to maximise my time, how can I answer new questions over old ones?

Maybe there's not really a question here, and I just need to check when a question was asked before answering it, but presenting 2 year old questions that are unanswered on the front page of a topic may not be the most efficient practice. I know that the answers are not just for the original questioner and still have value, but still, prioritising new questions over old makes sense to me.

Apr 15, 2018

You are right, you...

Explanation:

... have to check when a question was asked before answering it.

For starters, new questions are prioritized in the feeds, i.e. at the top of the subject pages, but old questions do make their way in there as well.

Now, the old questions that are being bumped back at the top of the feeds are prioritized based on when they were first asked.

• asked days ago $\to$ highest priority among old questions
• asked years ago $\to$ lowest priority among old questions

At any given time, the feeds contain a mixture of recent questions, which hold the absolute highest priority, and old questions as mentioned above.

The system set up this way because, as you've mentioned, the answers are not just for the students who asked the questions. Yes, we want to help everyone get answers as soon as possible, but that's not really possible because of the high number of questions coming in, both directly on the site and on the app.

Moreover, the questions that go unanswered can still be useful if answered days, weeks, months, or even years later because other students will most likely look for the answers to these questions using Google.

In fact, the vast majority of students who use Socratic never ask a single question on the site. The ratio of students who ask questions to students who use the answers that are already available is something along the lines of $1 : 500$.

These students land on Socratic because they're looking for answers via Google. That is why every question, regardless of how old it is, gets bumped back into the feeds at some point or another.

So if you want to sort through these questions and focus on recent questions, that's perfectly fine, but

1. you're going to have to do so by checking when the question was asked.
2. answering old questions is not a waste of your time, not by a long shot!