I find several questions like mentioned here: Question of deleted user shown The question OP is not clickable (and often has a name like user123456) and is probably not existing anymore.

These questions become orphans with respect to control over the accepted answer when the OP is gone.

Often the orphans are ok, since the 'accepted answer' is (I believe) considered from the viewpoint of the person that asked the questions. So when that person is gone then we might say we do not care about the accepted answer.

(A bit of track: from my viewpoint the 'accepted answer' is not only about the benefit to the OP and it serves a wider purpose. Because of that it should in my opinion should be controlled by the community and not just a single person. This is especially the case when the OP that asked the question, is possibly having a knowledge gap, and may not always know what a good answer entails, especially what makes an answer a 'correct' answer. But that's a different issue)

What do we do with the control of these orphan questions, and especially when the accepted answer is false? (but there is no OP anymore to change this)

This question can be taken as an example case: Statistical language in "The Avengers" It's 3 years old and has an accepted and upvoted answer, but... does that close the case?

  • 2
    First of all, you shouldn't ask two questions in one post, and secondly both questions were asked and answered already, so there is no need to post those in the first place.
    – Tom
    Jan 31, 2020 at 9:13
  • @Tom, really? I should split up those two questions? That is a bit exaggerated. The main issue is the second anyway. Jan 31, 2020 at 9:15
  • @Tom where is the previously asked question about the wrongly accepted answers that are not controlled by any user anymore? Jan 31, 2020 at 9:22
  • The current accepted answer has been edited and is not what this OP chose to be the accepted answer. So the workaround (to change the accept mark, when the community doesn't agree) is that the community edits the (accepted) answer and in this way overrule the choice by the OP what he finds accepted (also putting word into the OP since it makes an answer accepted that the OP may not want to accept) and overrule that 'the answer mark is controlled by only the OP'? (I would agree that this case here is extreme, but it shows a problem in the mechanism which is also available in softer cases) Feb 5, 2020 at 12:36
  • @SextusEmpiricus People voted on an answer as you had a valid idea. It's a idea the community didnt approved, but I give you the effort to had it and wrote it. Editing it to put something completly else is called content destruction in your case. If the question would had been open to add other answer, I would guess you can just post the answer you want, but such answer would had been flagged NAA/VLQ and possibly deleted, as it's an extreme case
    – yagmoth555
    Feb 5, 2020 at 13:28
  • @yagmoth555 that's a fair point. People can always revert/change their votes to changed answers (Answers change often on SE/SO, this happens a lot, but you are right it is tricky business to have answers change by a lot; I consider it not content destruction, it's the writers should control this, it's their intellectual property). The same point applies to the 'accepted' mark. The OP had the answer accepted and people started to edit it which alters the content that the OP deemed accepted and violates the concept that the 'acceptated answer' is in the hands of the the OP and not the community. Feb 5, 2020 at 13:36

4 Answers 4


As answered by @JourneymanGeek:

No one does. The post has no owner. We treat it, well like the owner hasn't been back for a while.

However, it need not always be like this. For example, this is a feature request that would allow acceptance of a question to "time out" when an asker leaves the site or loses interest in their question:

Keeping special status for Accepted Answers without sticking them to top forever?


I would add to others answers, even in case of a user that is not deleted, nothing can force him to change the accepted answer anyhow.

The fact it was accepted mean the answer was useful in that time. It’s the big difference between some forums and here, here the answer mark is controlled by only the OP, which for me is important to stay it that way.

Upvoting the correct answer is the best thing to do.I would maybe suggest to make the most upvoted answer appear before the accepted answer when viewing the question would be a more acceptable compromise IMO.

  • "The fact it was accepted mean the answer was useful in that time." I would disagree. It is possible that a wrong answer gets accepted as well as highly upvoted. What is 'useful in that time' becomes very relative when different people asking questions have very different concepts of what a useful answer is. When a wrong answer is considered useful and marked as 'accepted' then I do not find that good for the site, and I consider it a problem with the design. Jan 31, 2020 at 9:24
  • See, for example, the development for the votes on the answers in this question how long it can take for a wrong answer to be overtaken in votes: forum.codidact.org/t/on-the-value-of-scores-and-votes/328/… and it is still with +250 score in third position. Jan 31, 2020 at 9:28

No one does. The post has no owner. We treat it, well like the owner hasn't been back for a while.

I suspect the "best" way to deal with it is to create a question pointing out the answer for the other question dosen't work or is false, and maybe close as dupe the other way.

In some cases, historically, I've just posted an answer and figured voting and the user's common sense would lead them to the right one (which may or may not be mine)

  • 1
    Creating duplicates, just for this reason, sounds like a cumbersome work around. Jan 31, 2020 at 3:21

Nobody controls the orphan questions and this should not be the case. For other questions the status of the 'accepted answer' can change so this should be a desirable possibility for orphan questions as well.

Either the 'accepted' should be removed or a feature should be build that the 'accepted' is controlled in some way by the community.

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