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Some questions in Stack Overflow doesn't have an accepted answer and this doesn't provide any value to the users. As a developer myself, my first preference will be to look for a solution with accepted answer and cannot risk my time to try the given answers without guarantee.


I have already read the question. There are instances where I answered some questions and the user who ask the question stopped answering the comments or additions questions. I believe these kind of questions should be deleted. I know there are some exceptions which moderators should decide before deletion.

  • But those questions have non-accepted answers? – rene Oct 1 '18 at 14:57
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    An accept vote is only one-vote. I would more rely on the community voting. – rene Oct 1 '18 at 14:58
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    You do know you can search for questions that have an accepted answer, right? – rene Oct 1 '18 at 15:02
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    What exceptions could that be that questions shouldn't be deleted? And who are those "admins" you talk about? Do you mean the handful of elected moderators? – rene Oct 1 '18 at 15:04
  • yes moderators is the word. I will correct it. – Arun Oct 1 '18 at 15:05
  • Yes I just read how to search for accepted answers. But what about the questions where the Original Poster(OP) stopped answering the comments or more questions? – Arun Oct 1 '18 at 15:09
  • What about it? Why does that matter? – rene Oct 1 '18 at 15:11
  • People invest time for answering the questions or even replicate his scenario in local (for complex questions I have done that). – Arun Oct 1 '18 at 15:13
  • Why should the questions with no solution and partial list of long comments be there in Stack Overflow. May I ask is there any value in that? – Arun Oct 1 '18 at 15:14
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    An answer being accepted is a pretty weak guarantee. The answer could have serious flaws, might be solving a problem different from the one asked, might not work given your slightly different circumstances or might not even work at all. The combination of votes and comments tend to be much more reliable. – Dukeling Oct 1 '18 at 15:14
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    Predicating deletion on the lack of an accepted answer would cause a whole lot of good, useful questions to be deleted, all because the asker didn't perform a specific action. That seems detrimental to building a repository of knowledge. The only action that should be required from the asker is asking the question. After that, everything should be optional. – fbueckert Oct 1 '18 at 15:32
  • @Arun - Just because an answer was accepted by another user, does not mean it was the correct answer, or even an answer that worked. I personally have seen thousands of answers, which were accepted by the author, but actually were the incorrect answer. – Ramhound Oct 1 '18 at 20:23
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There are today on Stack Overflow 16,491,952 questions of which 7,739,308 have no accepted answer but do have 8,885,956 answers and have a grand-total of 8,349,785,732 views (== money). A total of 1,341,062 questions without an accepted answer have a score > 1 meaning at least 2 users found that question useful.

If the votes matter, 1,341,062 questions should be deleted by moderators. We currently have 26 moderators which are 100% occupied handling all the other flags being raised. Adding this deletion task to their workload will probably keep them occupied for 6 to 8 years. Alternatively you could argue this deletion should be vetted by community review. In that context I refer you to the close vote queue (currently at 7K but has seen numbers into 150K) that also never gets really cleaned. I don't have high hopes for a delete vote queue.

While I'm all in for a better signal/noise ratio I have a hard time justifying given these plain statistics that simply deleting questions without an accepted answer is useful.

There are already automatic mechanisms in-place to remove questions without an accepted answer. Those are caught by the roomba if those posts aren't voted on.

I personally wouldn't judge an answer (or question) on it being accepted or not. The votes is the only thing that should matter as it is much more likely that plenty of people agree on what is the most useful answer while for an accept vote only a single user thought it was an useful answer. Beyond that accepting an answer isn't mandatory and shouldn't be in my opinion.

tl;dr; No, questions with no accepted answer can stay as they have value. The current rules around the roomba already achieve some reduction of noise. Users can help that process a bit by down voting more (or by not casting pity upvotes)

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  • The Votes matter if it doesn't have an accepted answer. That is why I mentioned a moderator has to decide whether to delete or not. – Arun Oct 1 '18 at 15:50
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    @Arun Yuck. Mods have enough to do; we don't need to be piling another seven million questions on their plate that they need to look at. – fbueckert Oct 1 '18 at 15:52
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    @Arun It's not the job of a moderator to determine whether posts have value or not. The users decide that by voting. What you're asking for already exists - high-rep users can vote to remove questions that don't meet the quality requirements for the site - and they do. There's no need for moderators to do this... Can you imagine the few diamond moderators on SO attempting to filter through 7 million questions? – Catija Oct 1 '18 at 15:53
  • There are also 3288 questions with no accepted answer and a score of at least 100, which is IMO the more important metric. Query. – Dukeling Oct 1 '18 at 15:57
  • @Dukeling thanks, fixed that now – rene Oct 1 '18 at 16:01
  • @fbueckert there should be some algorithm to find out these kinds of questions in stack overflow and assign it to some moderator. i would like to call it 'RUNA' algorithm. Yes thats my name in reverse. – Arun Oct 1 '18 at 16:04
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    @Arun I think you need to demonstrate what value deleting additional content will have, to have any chance of this moving forward. Answer acceptance is only a single vote, and there's a whole lot more to building a repository than an asker performing an arbitrary action. – fbueckert Oct 1 '18 at 16:06
  • @Arun I already updated my answer to explain why moderators are not a good resource to handle this problem, if at all. – rene Oct 1 '18 at 16:08
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    @Arun You shouldn't assume that an accepted answer is the best or the correct answer. Votes are more important since the user asking the question is not necessarily the most qualified to judge the quality of the answer. – user204841 Oct 1 '18 at 16:10
  • @Arun If you say votes matter, where do you draw the line? The only objective point would be around 0 votes (where you can say "no-one found this helpful, at least no-one who can and wanted to vote", otherwise you need to judge whether this is useful "enough" based on votes, which is highly subjective) This is already considered for automatic deletion (only for closed questions currently though - we should probably extend that to old open questions too, if it would make a big difference). – Dukeling Oct 1 '18 at 16:11
  • These abandoned questions provide no value. This is the treeshaking process I was talking about. These are not going to get better in time. – Arun Oct 1 '18 at 17:01
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    @Arun 10 score is too much. 50%+ are sitting on 0 score and 90% is at 2 or lower (so, if nothing else, that would be a good starting point). 6-10 score makes up 0.5%. 2 or below would give us 1.4 million questions we can delete right now (which are all older than a year). Even if we make it 1 or 0, we'd still have a decent 1.2 million or 800k to delete. Query. – Dukeling Oct 1 '18 at 17:36
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    @Arun if you think those questions you linked are not useful, you should down vote them, which you did on none of them. I don't understand how you can complain about content without value but don't cast down votes and/or flags. And on top of that expect other users (or even moderators) to clean up the mess. Something is out of balance. – rene Oct 1 '18 at 18:05
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    @Arun if it is junk those posts need down votes. That less and less users are willing to cast those down votes is the real problem. Assuming the junk magically disappears is an over estimation of the magic possible. But I have the feeling we're running in circles here. – rene Oct 1 '18 at 19:45
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There are already some great answers here, but I'd just like to add yet another reason why an awesome question with awesome answers may not have an accepted answer.

On Interpersonal.SE the nature of some questions can be highly personal. As such, even if a user already has an account on the SE network, they'll open an Unregistered Account to be (semi-)anonymous. Maybe they do this on a public computer like in a library to try to extend the anonymity or maybe after a day of answering comments they restart their computer or close the browser session.

Either way, that account is now irrevocably lost (unless the user is willing to merge it into the main account, which is unlikely if the account was created for reasons listed above).

We actually just had a question like this a few days ago on IPS that got a whopping 35,000+ views. That question is very unlikely to have an accepted answer now as the account that created it is unregistered and the browser session probably long gone, but judging from the views and votes, the question is definitely valuable to the community.

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