What's the best way to deal with orphaned questions?

By orphaned I mean the question that is no longer maintained by the asker, that means he no longer needs the answer and is doing no research?

When question has answers, I'm suggested to accept answer or start a bounty. When I accept no answer, I'm told to increase my acceptance statistics in order to get more answers. However, the questions may be partial - they give some hints, but they do not solve the problem. The answers may be even wrong - they give no hints and proposed solution is not working. So it would be misleading for viewers to accept such answer.

Normally, when no good answer is given, and the asker finds the solution itself, it is, I think, good practice to write your own solution as answer and accept it. However, there are some cases, when problem is abandoned, because

a) the work-around was used in the project
b) it was resigned from the requirement that made the question to be asked
c) the anker no more works for the project, or he no longer works for the company
d) the question was in relation with asker's private interests, which has changed
e) any other reason

As the asker, I would like not to have such pending question on my account. I would not like this to be closed, because maybe some day it will be answered by someone. On the other hand, I would not like to have bargain of 'unaccepted' questions and be blamed by other users for it.

So, my open question is, what is the most 'stack-exchangable' way of doing in such case?

  • I'm sure this is a duplicate, but I can't find it. :( – Time Traveling Bobby Dec 2 '11 at 9:11
  • I couldn't find something similar too – Danubian Sailor Dec 2 '11 at 10:06
  • @Bobby That's weird; You would think this would be a big "long tail" type of thing. – Andrew Barber Dec 2 '11 at 10:17

I think Stema has some good points. Especially, I wouldn't see 68% as too bad a rate at all.

If you find the solution and no one else has posted the answer, definitely post as an answer and accept. You can change your accepted answer later if someone provides a better answer.

Some people with very low accept rates have a problem where they get bad answers because they post bad question.

Also note that as you get more questions, it won't have a big effect on your rate to have a couple questions "in process".

Finally; I think you illuminate one problem with the way some people "remind" askers to "work on their accept rate". I think it causes some people to just accept anything, even if nothing was a full answer.

  • Yes, if I find the solution, I post it, however, I have some questions on issues I'm not more involved with, e.g. this with Servicemix 4.4 - I've downgraded back to 4.3, or Python with svn bindings under Windows 7 - this is already tested under Linux, which is target platform – Danubian Sailor Dec 2 '11 at 10:10
  1. Questions without answers don't count into the acceptance rate ==> no problem

  2. Questions with answers counts, of course, but I can't imagine, that that is such a problem, that you have an acceptance rate below (Don't know, maybe) 70%. So, no problem.

You are not supposed to accept an answer when there is no answer that satisfies you.

If a question has only partial or wrong answers, you can maybe edit your question, to make more clear what you need.

I don't think you are blamed because of your 68% acceptance rate, I think thats an acceptable rate.

  • I agree about the 68% rate. It's "acceptably low". I tend to get wary of 50% and below. +1 – Andrew Barber Dec 2 '11 at 9:40

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