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I've been looking at a lot of unanswered questions recently in tags that I haven't worked with in the past. What I'm noticing is that there are a significant percentage of questions that fit these categories:

  • The question was actually answered in a comment to the question, and not as an answer. In this case, anyone reading the question will see that the asker no longer needs/wants any more assistance with the issue, and has effectively abandoned the question.
    Examples: a, b, c

  • The question was asked by an unregistered user (and will thus never have an answer accepted).
    Examples: a, b, c.

  • The question was asked a long time ago, or by an inactive user (and thus is highly unlikely to have an answer accepted).
    Examples: a, b, c

Would it make sense to allow the moderators to close these questions once the question has been inactive for a year or more, if only to keep them from cluttering up the queues?

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It's not because the person that asked the question won't mark a question as accepted that we should close the question. There can always be good answer added to a question. The whole point of this site is to get questions answered. Closing a question is only there for questions that shouldn't be there in the first place.

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  1. If a question is answered in a comment, then copy pasta the comment into an answer and submit it. You'll be doing the entire site a valuable service.
  2. If a question has already been answered well, then up vote the answer. Only questions with no up voted answers are displayed in the unanswered section. This will work to remove questions from the unanswered section whether the question was asked by an unregistered user or an inactive user. If copying an answer makes you feel uneasy, as HoLyVieR suggested in a comment to this answer, you can simply cite the comment's author in your answer.
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yes, it is completely legit to copy an answer-as-comment into a real answer. I support this, because it teaches a lesson: don't freaking put answers in comments! – Jeff Atwood Aug 9 '10 at 5:14
It still feels like copying someone else's work... – Craig Trader Aug 9 '10 at 11:12
@W. Craig If you feel that you are "copying" an answer, you can post this as an answer : "As XXXX posted in the comment, [his answer]". – HoLyVieR Aug 9 '10 at 12:19

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