Every once in a while I come across a question like this one.

However this question has been answered multiple times but the OP hasn't been active for almost 2 years. The OP hasn't responded to answers etc. Now one could try and answer the question again, but this seems 'silly'. The OP will never benefit and this question will not be removed automatically as seen in this question.

As I would like to participate in cleaning up and thus improving quality of the site I think I would flag this to get a mod's attention (since I don't have enough rep to vote-to-close). But is this really the best thing to do? or should I just ignore this question?

  • 5
    Why does it need to be closed? Quality issue? Lack of a big green checkmark? Account is gone? – random Jun 7 '12 at 22:57
  • 3
    Why should questions like this be closed? They address a problem, and people have put effort into answering them. Additionally, the point is not to help just the OP, but everyone who may have a similar issue. The sample you linked has been viewed over 4 thousand times, so it is clearly of interest to a wide audience. However, the fact that it has been viewed so many times without getting a single upvote may mean it is not very useful.... – yoozer8 Jun 7 '12 at 22:58
  • 1
    @Jim You catch my train of thought in the last line ;-) There are numerous questions very likewise, which have feedback provided by the OP and are thus more helpful. – siebz0r Jun 7 '12 at 23:02
  • @random Account is there, but is inactive for ~2 years. I don't see the big value of the question, especially looking at similar questions. – siebz0r Jun 7 '12 at 23:05
  • 1
    There are no downvotes on the question, so nobody thought it too bad to hang around like pus in nasal cavity – random Jun 7 '12 at 23:06
  • 3
    The presence or absence of an OP account has very little bearing on the value of the post to the community. – user102937 Jun 7 '12 at 23:09
  • Just saying that it lacks feedback like an accept or similar. The answers given 'should' work, but there is no confirmation whatsoever. – siebz0r Jun 7 '12 at 23:13

The reason to close a question is not to dispose of an unanswered, old question. Closing exists to stop new answers from accumulating on a question that is unacceptable by the standards of the site.

A good question that simply attracted poor answers should never be closed. Even worse would be closing a good question that attracted good answers, but the OP never bothered to accept one.

Yes, we delete old, truly unanswered questions. But if a question falls outside of this criteria, then it is because the question and its answers have some merit to the site. There's no point in closing such questions.

  • 2
    Clear as day, thanks ;-) – siebz0r Jun 7 '12 at 23:43
  • 2
    On my opinion a forced acceptance were a better solution as let the question open for the eternity. – peterh Oct 12 '14 at 14:31

Assuming that the question has at least one reasonable up-voted answer you should ignore it.

If there are no reasonable up-voted answers then do one (or more) of the following:

  1. Up-vote any good answers.
  2. Edit any OK answers so they become good answers.
  3. Provide your own good (!) answer.
  4. Down-vote any bad answers.
  5. If the question is really useless it is current form, and the OP has not reacted on clarification requests for a long, long time, downvote the question.

2 and 3 have the advantage that they bump the post so others will see the question and newly improved answers and do the same as you.

Don't forget it's not just the OP that benefits from good answers - it's all the people who come along afterwards via Google (or Bing) searches.

  • I agree with the point that the community benefits. I just want to tie loose ends. The question will stay open in all 4 cases. – siebz0r Jun 7 '12 at 23:19
  • @siebz0r - true, but down-voted answers can be deleted and questions with no answers and low/no votes/views do eventually get deleted too. – ChrisF Jun 7 '12 at 23:22
  • The problem in this particular case is that the answers supplied are good in my opinion, so I should upvote the best answer. Doing so will keep the question open. – siebz0r Jun 7 '12 at 23:27
  • I feel there should be a point 5., if the question is not useful without feedback from the OP that is unlikely to materialize, downvote it do it becomes likely to be caught by the "garbage collector". – Pekka Jun 7 '12 at 23:40
  • 1
    @Pekka - feel free to add that in :) – ChrisF Jun 8 '12 at 7:41
  • 1
    I can't agree, because your aswer consistently avoid the real problem: these questions will look as active, althoughh they are long answered. On my opinion, a better solution were if that questions would be taken into the ownership of the community, and there were a mechanism to either accept them (by the community) or to removal the possibility of an acception. – peterh Oct 12 '14 at 14:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .