I was recently browsing through my answers and found this question where the author indicated they were able to solve their issue with a solution similar to answer I provided. Problem is that the original author account has been deleted and they can not mark my answer as the accepted answer.

How do you handle marking the answers for questions where the original author SO account has been deleted?

  • Is it really such a problem if there are questions that don't have an answer marked as "accepted"?
    – sth
    Feb 7, 2011 at 20:03
  • @sth The community is composed of OCD Programmers. How is it not a problem? lol
    – Earlz
    Feb 7, 2011 at 21:53
  • I am saying it is an immediate problem, it is just a lost question where the author did not indicate any of proposed answers solve the primary issue identified in the question. Feb 7, 2011 at 21:55

1 Answer 1


This problem is in a lot of places. Many times though it may not even be a deleted account, but rather an account that hasn't been logged in for a few years.

I think that at some point(6 months? a year?) a question should be up for nomination of an answer. For instance, using the new moderator flagging ability, add the "I think X should be the accepted answer" option. And when there are say 5 votes for answer X, then it is put on the diamond moderator queue. If they think it should be the answer, then that answer becomes the accepted answer. Also, there should be text that indicates the answer was community-selected. Of course, if later the asker comes back online, then they can change the accepted answer.

This specific flagging ability should also have a reputation requirement. I think 500 or 1000 is a good amount.

My approach is intentionally slow and requires a lot of "process". This is because we really REALLY want the asker to choose the accepted answer. But, if the user is no longer available, then they should let the community choose the answer that's the most useful to the community. And just to make sure that people aren't trying to assign an answer for a question that is better off without an accepted answer(such as closed questions), it requires diamond moderator approval.

  • Now the sock puppets found a diamond to be blamed :D Feb 7, 2011 at 19:34
  • If the name of the question's original author is grayed out, that means their account has been removed from SO? Feb 7, 2011 at 19:39
  • @Michael I'm not completely for sure. I believe they weren't officially "removed" but rather they never made an account, and their session/cookies timed out. The anonymous user bit use to work differently than it does now.
    – Earlz
    Feb 7, 2011 at 19:41
  • This does bring up a good point, maybe there should be some sort of indication that the account was removed/deleted. Plus, the example question has been around since November 2008. Feb 7, 2011 at 19:44
  • This might also be helpful for FAQs that were once started by users who are no longer active (example).
    – Arjan
    Mar 9, 2011 at 20:24

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