I can see a whole bunch of interesting but unanswered questions on the site, which means there are no experts around motivated enough to post here. This does not bode well and discourages people from posting more questions. Unless more effort is expended by those knowledgeable in the Earth sciences, "broken windows" effect may gain traction and make this site a loser among betas.
Blunders has the right idea, so I won't spend words restating his post.
I am curious to hear the reasoning behind:
This does not bode well and discourages people from posting more questions.
Good questions often take some time for a good answer to be written up. I'll use your question here as an example. I put that Q on my list of things I want to answer about 5 minutes after you posted it, but only found the time to do a rudimentary write up for it today. Part of the issue in the length of time a question goes unanswered isn't necessarily that we don't have experts, its that we dont have many experts and our scope is quite broad. I know we have a few other meteorologists and closely related scientists here, but those of us that fall under the "skilled meteorologist" banner who are also knowledgeable in thunderstorm forecasting really narrows down how many of us can answer that question. Its not a bad thing! It just means, in general, that the narrower the scope the less people can answer it, and thus the longer it might take for those few people to answer it.
So what can you do about it?
If your question (or any question for that matter) is going unanswered and you want to draw attention to it to get an answer do the following:
- Vote on it, upvotes are free (and people like rep!)
- Offer a bounty on it.
- Post a link to your Q on twitter, g+, facebook, your blog, some mailing list or forum with the experts the Q needs.
These things will bring in new users and motivate existing users to answer.
In my opinion, unanswered questions do not result in questions not being asked unless those questions are visible to a user at the point they're asking a question. Further, I would take the position that high-quality unanswered questions are of value, natural, and not signs of a failing ecosystem of questions and answers if they're of a normal volume; which in my opinion, they appear to be normal.
Simple put, if every question was easy to answer, no one would post questions.
That said, we should be on the lookout for single-users bulk posting poor quality questions - especially ones that go unanswered, since these are more likely to be seen be new users.