Just based on what I've seen so far, it seems like people generally are more excited about upvoting answers than questions, with the effect that for most questions with a good answer, that answer ends up with more points than the question.

Contrariwise, then, it seems like questions with a high score (so presumably of interest to the community) but with a low top answer score might have the most room for meaningful contribution. (Obviously so do new questions, and I do answer those when I can.) This general idea is what the "Unanswered" view is for, but many look like they're that way for a reason, usually dealing with games I can't help with.

So, question: is there a way to filter or sort by questions where the question score is at least N greater than the top answer score (or perhaps the sum of answer scores)? Frame challenges welcome if I'm missing something, but I'd appreciate it if you'd include a yes or no first.


2 Answers 2


This is a job for Stack Exchange Data Explorer ("SEDE" for short), like SevenSidedDie pointed out! Search can only do so much. Stack Exchange makes full data dumps weekly to SEDE which are fully searchable using SQL, which lets us do all kinds of advanced data searching, like this thing.

I've written up an SEDE query for this. It's a big'un, but it's been a while since I wrote SQL and I had fun stretching my proverbial SQL muscles out with it.

Questions that outscore their top answer

Excludes questions that have been closed, deleted, and/or locked. Results will be up to a week out of date, because SEDE's data updates weekly (not live).

These parameters for customising this query:

  • MinimumQuestionScore — only shows questions with at least this score. (Setting this below 1 may break the query because of Qual%, explained below.)
  • MinimumDifferenceInPoints — only shows questions that outscore their top-scoring answer by at least this much.
  • Tag — Filter a specific tag (thanks to Miniman for the first version). You have these options:

    • Leave it as the default of % to just grab all questions.
    • Specify an exact tag name (e.g. dnd-3.5e, fate-core) to get questions with that tag.
    • Use the % wildcard to search for partial names. The % will match against any or no characters. %world matches any tag ending in "world" (, ), fate% matches any beginning with "fate" (, , ), and %dnd% matches anything with "dnd" in it anywhere (, , )

Apart from the score of the question & the top answer, I've added a couple of other data points that may be of interest:

  • Score diff — the amount of points by which the question outscored its top answer.
  • Qual% — the percentage of (top answer's score / question's score), i.e. the relative difference between the two. The query sorts by this by default.

I added the Qual% column because the score diff, as it turns out, can also be big just from having a whole lot of points, such as in How do I get my PCs to not be a bunch of murderous cretins?.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow, I was just coming here to ask for something like the Qual%, only to find you beat me to it. This is perfect, thank you so much! \$\endgroup\$ Mar 30, 2016 at 0:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for pulling in that tag-field. This is cool. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Apr 5, 2016 at 1:20

There isn't a simple way using the site's own search feature, but the site's raw database is cloned regularly and can be accessed via SQL queries at the StackExchange Data Explorer. I couldn't find an existing query that exactly matched what you're looking for with a cursory search, but I did find Popular Questions without Nice Answers which says it returns

All non-CW questions with at least 1000 views but no non-CW answer scored at least 10.

Looking at the results of running that, there are a lot of well-scored questions with low-scored answers to trawl through, so it's might be close enough to what you're thinking of to suit the practical purpose of finding questions with a lot of room for contribution.

If you have facility with writing SQL though, you could write your own query that returns more precisely the results that are questions with highest answer score lower than the question score.


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