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Some unanswered questions are abandoned inasfar as the original poster hasn't visited the site in months. In that circumstance, there is very high likelihood that the OP will not benefit from the suggestions (or there may be relevant clarifications which will not be answered).

Is there a way to indicate if the poster hasn't logged into the site in a while?

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@random there's a grey area between 1 month and 1 year, for example, where there's a reasonable chance the user will be back. I'm trying to see if there's something that could be done during that time. –  Foo Bah Sep 28 '11 at 4:26
    
what about 3 years? stackoverflow.com/questions/3325515/… –  Prof. Falken Sep 30 '13 at 12:27
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3 Answers

It's obviously possible for the system to do this as you can look up the users history and see their last activity...

Personally, I'd like to see a new tag, abandoned, that is automatically applied and then used to filter questions out of the unanswered list.

Per other questions, the "unanswered" tab actually means "questions with no upvoted answer", so I don't see a conceptual problem with making it mean "questions with no upvoted answer, where the user has visited the site in the last 30 days".

When I'm looking to answer a question, I want it to know it might help someone, questions that have been abandoned are less likely to actually help someone -- even if I answer the question, it's likely that that the answer is out there somewhere for someone else to find if they are having the same problem, and that they'll find it there, and as an unaccepted answer it will appear less trust worthy if they find it on SO. As for the OP, if he hasn't visited the site in a month or more, well, he's probably either solved his own problem or moved on.

And while I can manually check to see if the user has been on the system recently, thats a lot of extra effort to put into what should be a straightforward process.

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Do you mean "Personally, I'd like to see a new taB"? –  Kevin Vermeer Oct 22 '11 at 20:24
    
No, a taG. I know it's not how things are currently done, but adding a taB would just clutter the interface. So, a tag gets added automtaically, deleted automatically if the user comes back. And the behavior of the Unanswered taB gets modified to filter out abandoned questions. Optionally let others remove the tag if they find it of benefit (I don't really care one way or the other on that). I just don't want to waste time answering, or even worse researching, a question when it doesn't benefit anyone. –  jmoreno Oct 22 '11 at 21:06
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I think the feature is antithetical to the goal of SO.

The ultimate goal behind the site is to be able to create a definitive reference, such that someone searching via Google for a similar question would be directed to SO. This means that, while answering an "abandoned" question may not help someone that day, this does not mean that it won't help someone in the future.

This is why questions aren't auto-locked after a period of time.

I think this encourages rep-gaming. People looking for easy rep would ignore anything that is "abandoned", because they know that the OP likely will not bless them with an upvote or accept. And since the OP is the person who is notified when an answer is posted, they are the person most likely to upvote an answer. Unless they're not around anymore.

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Absolutely. SO isn't (or wasn't) supposed to be for answering questions specific to a single user - if a question isn't potentially useful to many people, it should be closed (too localised). –  Phil Lello Oct 22 '11 at 10:52
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Or localized, depending on your favorite spelling. –  Rosinante Oct 22 '11 at 17:16
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Is there a way to indicate if the poster hasn't logged into the site in a while?

Click the username link on the right bottom box. It'll lead to the user profile. You can see the last visit timestamp in the Seen field. Or perhaps it's not clickable at all when the account is deleted.

As to this kind of questions, I usually vote them for close as Too localized.

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That's well understood. I'm wondering (and this is why I marked the question as a feature request) if there's a way to indicate it infrastructurally and whether there is community interest for a more direct way. –  Foo Bah Sep 28 '11 at 4:03
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