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People come to SOFU and post questions. They get comments and answers to their questions, go away and try those, and often are never heard from again.

They forget to come back and mark questions as answered.

Solution: Automatically send users emails once per week/month regarding questions that are still open (unanswered). In the email, provide 2 links:

  1. Link to answer directly (using a special URL); no login needed perhaps?
  2. Link to the question so they can edit/update it if it is still open.

This will help to keep all SOFU sites clean and make those who are active contributors feel relevant and fulfilled :)

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4 Answers 4

I was getting irritated by this just this morning. In my case, it was questions that people ask and never revisit to:

  • respond to any questions raised through comments (ie. if the OP needed to provide more information so that a complete answer could be given)
  • accept any answer at all
  • give any kind of indication that they're still interested in an answer to the question

This is even after the OP has returned to Stack Overflow (based on the "last seen" on their user page), and in some cases asked other questions and accepted other answers!

I tend to leave browser tabs open where I've answered a question but no accepted answer has been selected yet. In just a few days I often have a dozen or more tabs still open. The difference in level of engagement between what I do and what the OP does is frustrating.

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If this is done, it should be done sparingly. I have a few questions that will never have an accepted answer, and several esoteric questions which have not yet received an acceptable answer. It would be nice to receive one reminder perhaps 7 days after posting the question, but not a reminder every day/week/month for the same question.

Beyond that - this is why we vote on posts. If the author never selects an answer, the community has already ranked them to some degree, and this should be sufficient.

If you want to find out which question you have with no selected answer, go to your user page, and check out questions where the number of answers is in a white font - indicating no accepted answer.

Beyond that - I fail to see why a question with no accepted answer is a problem. It would be nice if we received that feedback, and the reputation would be nice for whoever had the best answer, but with the voting and with several answers, I just don't see a problem.

If they come back over time, they will eventually learn and modify their behavior. If not, then what has really been lost?

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Because people want the rep –  staticx Dec 9 '09 at 21:28
    
@Pollyanna (cute name / avatar, btw ;), the problem is that these unanswered / incomplete questions clog up the search results and filters. People coming in looking to either answer questions or have their questions answered will waste a lot of time clicking through these posts. I agree about the 7 days etc. The thought was that it would not be every day -- rather periodically, as you suggest, and that each email notice sent would have links / options in it to 'close' the question, thereby stopping emails from being sent. –  Joshua Dec 14 '09 at 15:46

Agreed. I just answered a question that someone put a 100-point bounty on StackOverflow. It was posted last year, but I know my answer is correct and have no way of notifying the person that I have an answer.

I actually had the problem the question addressed and fixed it. I want the bounty.

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1  
The original asker of that question will be notified of your new answer with a message in their global inbox. However, the time to award a bounty has long since passed. The asker chose another answer as helpful enough to receive the points. It's great that you solved the same problem and posted your answer (seriously, thanks!), but there is no way to award that old bounty to you nor is there any strong reason to take it away from the person who originally got it. –  Anna Lear Dec 21 '11 at 3:09

I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to start the exact one, so I'd rather resurrect this one. I would like a feature where I can select SE to send me a reminder e-mail one week (or so) after I post a question if I haven't accepted any answers yet for a very simple reason.

It is common on SE to not accept the first answer right away because it deters other people from answering your question if there's already an accepted answer. You can quite often find a similar comment under one of the answers to

Thanks for your answer. I will wait a couple of days before accepting to see if someone else has an even better answer.

In fact, quite often you see comments under questions by new members asking them to do precisely that.

Now I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm on half a dozen SE sites, and I am a very forgetful person. After a first answer, if no one else posts on the thread again, SE won't send me another e-mail. Since the first answer solved my problem, I forget to accept it and it gets buried. Hence, I would love to be able to opt-in to a feature that sends me a reminder e-mail about my questions for which I have not accepted any answers.

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