(By unanswered I mean with no accepted answer, as seen in the Unanswered tab.)

They're potentially bringing the numbers down in terms of completed questions.

Here are some oldies:

Or even more pertinent, questions from deleted accounts with actually no answers posted. Examples:

Thanks to balpha's SEDE magic, we now have the following statictics:

  • 28,192 30270 unanswered questions from deleted accounts
  • 89 96 unanswered questions with 0 answers from deleted accounts

2 Answers 2


I don't think it's particularly relevant whether the original asker is around or even deleted.

Just FYI the following things happen automatically every week:

  1. auto-deletion of questions more than 30 days old with no answers, and -1 score or lower

  2. auto-deletion of questions more than 365 days old with no answers, low views, <= 1 comments, and <= 0 score

Note that "days old" is defined by last activity so if someone edits the question on day 364.. it'll stick around for another year.

edit: for #2, after looking at your examples, I made two changes

  1. I decided to also include posts with score of 1 where the original owner is deleted -- same criteria otherwise: AND (p.Score < 1 OR (p.Score < 2 and OwnerUserId is null))

  2. I decided to use the CreationDate instead of LastActivityDate, so community poking a question (or a user editing it) does not give a doomed question 365 more days of zombie "life".

  • 2
    I never knew commenting could keep low quality questions alive. I might start flagging more then. ;-)
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 11:16
  • 2
    @Arjan Soon to come: Comment flagged as "should be a flag"...
    – MPelletier
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 11:27
  • @arjan more than 1 comment, yes Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 11:57
  • 3
    (Yes, @Jeff, that was very clear. As an aside: I really appreciate it when answers contain technical details, such as the above SQL clause.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 12:01
  • 1
    Thanks @Jeff. That's some quality cleanup. I'm against the idea that poking a corpse turns it into a zombie. There's just no literature on that. I'll leave the question open for future discussion on the remaining 28k abandoned questions.
    – MPelletier
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 20:05

My proposal:

  • 0 answers provided: If more than a month old: delete

  • No accepted answer, some answers provided: encourage closing through voting (maybe add a closing choice like "user account deleted and the question is not noticeable enough to be worth keeping open")

  • 13
    Deleting a post with answers just because it isn't accepted seems dangerous Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 9:22
  • @MarcGravell And I'm no longer suggesting it, see edit.
    – MPelletier
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 11:30

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