There are lots of good questions made by people that are not using stackoverflow anymore and they need attention: to accept and answer or to update the question with missing details.

From the community point of view it doesn't make sense to ask again the same question, it will only create a duplicate that probably will be closed.

Now, if you have an interest in solving the question you should be able to request ownership of the question so you can accept an answer.

Clearly this feature should be available only to SO power-users and be activated only if the current owner is inactive for a certain period of time.

What is your opinion regarding this? Are there any alternatives?


3 Answers 3


Stack Overflow is supposed to be community driven, and has the stated goal of being the best Programming Q&A site on the internet. I think the proposed feature would comport with the former, and advance the latter.

There are many abandoned questions which were asked by users who are no longer active. I think allowing 10K users the ability to take ownership of such questions, potentially clean them up, and accept the best answer would be a benefit to the site.

If the OP hasn't been active for over a year, I don't think he or she has any reasonable expectation to not have his questions cleaned up for the benefit of the site.

Of course whether such a feature would have sufficient benefit to justify the engineers' time in implementing it is quite another matter.


It doesn't seem appropriate for me that someone other than the original asker could determine that the question was correctly answered. Nor does it seem right to me that the way we determine who becomes the new owner is simply the first (high-rep) user who tries after the "certain period" of time is over.

Also, if there are missing details from the original asker, and you aren't that person, you won't know them. On the other hand, if you do know enough to supply missing details (because you've had a similar issue), you can edit the question yourself.

If you want that question to get answered, you can edit the question to improve it and to bump it up or you can set a bounty on it (you don't need to be the owner to do either). If an answer is good it will be voted up. That will make it clear which answers are better. The "accepted" answer isn't all that determines whether the question has been "solved".

  • +1 for you can set a bounty on it, that's a great idea, and also you can indicate which answer you would have accepted by awarding the bounty. That's as close as I think we can come, I think taking the questions away from their owners is a bade idea. Dec 2, 2011 at 21:06
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    @TheUnhandledException: The problem is that bounties take reputation. They cost a resource. Yet, it doesn't cost resources to simply ask a question. Dec 2, 2011 at 21:14
  • Well +1 for your answer as well @NicolBolas. That's another viable alternative Dec 2, 2011 at 21:17

Actually, what would be good is to create a duplicate intentionally, and then mark the other question as a duplicate of the new one, with the expectation that it will be merged in. Your new question should of course reference the old one, so that people don't think yours is a dupe.

  • Interesting idea. Is it considered appropriate to mark an older question as a duplicate of a newer one? Dec 2, 2011 at 22:38

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