First of all, I know that this is a Q&A website, and of course I am always happy to get answers to my good and even naive questions from the Latex experts on this site.

So, this pushed me to ask this question in order to understand how some latex expert gets their motive to open this site and look for questions asked several hours nad even days before, then thought about the possible solutions and finally answered them.

It always amazes me to find that my question asked almost day or more before got an answer, and I wondered where this motive to dig for unanswered questions came from, and how it could be sustained.

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    Basically you open the “Unanswered” category and go back in time until you find a question which seems interesting to you and write an answer. I sometimes also go through years old questions in certain tags, especially LuaTeX, because new features get added with time and problems which were impossible back then became solvable in the meantime. – Henri Menke Jul 12 at 22:04
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    I answer old questions because I'm not fast enough to answer the new ones. – CarLaTeX Jul 13 at 4:59
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    @CarLaTeX, I would say that we are not faster than egreg!! lol – Sigur Jul 13 at 15:39
  • @Sigur LOL, also many others! – CarLaTeX Jul 13 at 16:17
  • @CarLaTeX That's strange. You have a fast car and egreg only a motorcycle... ;-) – marmot Jul 15 at 10:30
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    @marmot egreg's motorcycle is very fast and so are marmots... – CarLaTeX Jul 15 at 11:35
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    @Diaa This! I have exactly this question. Thank you for asking. I wonder how they find the time or energy to do this. Indeed amazing. Makes me feel guilty that I haven't contributed enough back to the community. – Krishna Jul 17 at 11:40
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    Egreg has help from his brother fgreg so they are able to grep to the results quickly. – Rob Jul 17 at 23:02
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    The site encourages answering old questions with badges like revival and necromancer. – Nicola Talbot Jul 19 at 11:52
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    @HenriMenke I wonder how you find those ancient questions. Do you look for questions of a certain tag then start going through its questions chronologically from the oldest one? – Diaa Jul 19 at 15:48
up vote 16 down vote accepted

It always amazes me to find that my question asked almost day or more before got an answer

Remember the world is in fact round and some people are asleep when you ask the question. So any answer that comes within 24 or even 48 hours is essentially "current".

But unanswered questions are not good for the site, which is supposed to be a site of answers to questions, so the site makes it easy to list unanswered questions so every now and then people can go through the unanswered list and answer some. Also there are (or used to be) semi regular "answer the unanswered" sessions organised in the linked chat site when once a month people would make a concerted effort to answer these questions, or close them as duplicates of other questions.

Note that when viewed as a long term reference site, the needs of the person asking the question are somewhat secondary, what matters is to post good answers to good questions. So, if someone 5 years ago asked a good but hard question that was not answered at the time, it is still useful to answer that question even though (hopefully) the person who asked the question is not still waiting for an answer.

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    It is good to know that my unanswered question will, someday, fall into safe hands. – Diaa Jul 13 at 19:14
  • An excerpt of your answer So, if someone 5 years ago asked a good but hard question that was not answered at the time, it is still useful to answer that question came across my mind and made me wonder how you remember/find this specific 5yo question. – Diaa Jul 19 at 15:42
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    @Diaa click on "unanswered" tab on the home page and there are lots of questions of that age, what I mean is that it is still useful to answer them even if the original questioner has moved on to other things. – David Carlisle Jul 19 at 22:13

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