Dear 100 Hour Board,
Is there a reason the majority of my (and my friend's, apparently) questions go considerably beyond the 100 hour mark? Not to be whiny, or off-putting, I'm just curious.
-Little Purple Ninja
Most questions that go considerably over hours (e.g. 200, 300, 400, etc.) are because they involve extensive research just to understand the concepts and then take an even longer time to draft an answer that makes sense, is accurate, and (more or less) simple enough for a layperson to understand. Another potential reason (at least for me) is that I get really, really busy for a couple of days so sometimes, even when I have the answer before 100 hours, I don't actually go in and write up the response until the question is at like 110 or 130 hours. When push comes to shove, I will let a question go over hours so I can take a test, do my visiting teaching, get more than 4 hours of sleep at night, etc.
And that's just me, I'm pretty sure that there are other writers who are far busier than I am.
P.S. I would also like to point out that this is 100% voluntary -- none of us are getting paid -- but I am working enough hours on this every week that I pretty much count it as a second job.
Dear Entropy's sibling, perhaps?,
Since The Beginning, the Board has been frequently answering things over the advertised 100 hour mark. With every set of editors, they've tried to crack down on over hours questions, with varying degrees of success. While I could say something snide here about "you get what you pay for," I think that's a total cop-out. We really do try to get it to you in 100 hours. Really. Just sometimes it's hard.
Some reasons that questions go over hours have more to do with the inner workings of the board than anything else. So here's a list of reasons in no particular order. Next time your question goes over hours, you can pick your favorite option.
1. This question needs input from someone with inside knowledge or expertise on the subject, and the person we contacted to get that expertise took awhile to respond, or never did at all. Most of us have an optimistic view on people getting back, so often a question will marinate in the inbox for days before the writer gives up hope on word from the expert.
2. Like Watts said, people are busy. We're students. We have lives. This encompasses a few things: a) The editors are busy, and aren't around every minute of every day to give the necessary editorial approval on our answers so they can post on time; b) A writer got excited when they saw your question, and left a placeholder response. Then they got unexpectedly snowed under and forgot to get back to writing the answer; c) The writers are busy and aren't around to answer questions or give them approvals to post.
3. Your question warped the fabric of the universe, speeding our collective perception of time, thus propelling itself past 100 hours marked in Earth time.
4. Also like Watts said, your question might've been a real conundrum. If you want a treatise on an arcane subject, you're going to have to wait a while before writers can find time to answer it fully. Another thing that takes forever are the "I vaguely remember a song/movie/book/whatever. What is it?" questions. Those require sifting through masses upon masses of wrong results without certainty that there is an answer.
5. The submission of your question, through the butterfly effect, caused a rippling and a stirring that resulted in mass rioting in Kazakhstan that the writers needed to quell before they could get back to you.
6. There's an issue with the answer. This is partially under reason #2, but if there's a minor issue with the response, another writer or editor will flag the response. Only the writer who originally wrote the response has the power to remove the flag and fix the issue. If the writer isn't around, it might be a while before they notice they even have things flagged they need to deal with.