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We were having a discussion today about old questions on DBA.SE. Basically we have a lot of questions that either were migrated and not followed by the OP or that were asked long ago and never followed up on.

Some examples:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Is it possible/feasible to add some sort of tool for mods to quickly and easily close or delete these questions? I'm thinking the criteria should be:

  • Older than X months
  • No activity in Y months
  • No answers posted at all
  • Bonus points if OP either doesn't have an account or has not been active on the site for Y months

We have large numbers of these where they will never be answered. There is not enough information in the question to make it answerable, and the OP has abandoned the question so they won't ever clarify.

They are also broken windows in that they are examples of incomplete questions that set a bad example.

Ideally this would be some sort of dashboard that allowed quick access to these Qs for management.

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"There is not enough information in the question to make it answerable" close as NARQ? - Right away I mean, then reopen if the OP fixes. – Jack Douglas Feb 16 '12 at 15:24
@JackDouglas - definitely. I guess what I'm asking for is a way for YOU as a mod on the site in question to easily see questions of this type, and close them – JNK Feb 16 '12 at 15:25
sorry, snuck in an edit there before you replyed – Jack Douglas Feb 16 '12 at 15:26
@JackDouglas - no worries. I'm open to suggestions on how to implement, I just think it's a largish issue both on SO and the other smaller sites. – JNK Feb 16 '12 at 15:28

Another important characteristic is the last-visited date of the OP. If a question has no answers, and the OP is around, a comment requesting clarification should be no big deal, and the question doesn't have to get closed or deleted.

In Exhibit A, the OP was here just last week. Jcolebrand's comment:

RagnaRock you still around? We would love to document this for the next guy coming down the pike, but you seem to have lost the desire to give us feedback. In lieu of your giving us more information, I'm gonna close this question in the future. – jcolebrand♦ 16 mins ago

seems like a good example of how to apply this information.

In Exhibits B and C, the OP hasn't ever been on the site. Those look like migration issues. Migration is a dangerous action; we're basically forcing the OP to create an account on a subsite and ask a question there. The migrators should be very careful to not migrate NARQ stuff. Granted, there's some information that the migrators might not know - Exhibit C has lots of information and looks like a fine question to this embedded systems engineer, but a comment from a DBA after the migration reveals that critical information is missing. Sometimes it works, but more often than not it's better to leave a comment, close, and let the OP manually migrate.

The worst way that we could address this issue would be a "Delete all questions matching these criteria" button. Better ways would be a review queue or a Community flag for questions which match the filter. Again, the filter should incorporate the OP's last visit date (or lack of an account) when analyzing questions like these.

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