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Unresponsive askers abandon questions

What I mean by people abandoning questions is people who post a question, get several replies, maybe post a comment. Then when someone asks for more information the OP never replies. It seem to happen quite a bit. They are visiting the site because they keep asking questions with more or less the same outcome. This is typically people who have a very low acceptance rate.

So what can be done about this?

  • @Cody: Odd, I don't think that question came up in the list of similar questions.
    – Mike
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 0:42
  • I know I've seen this question discussed here before. I was pretty sure I'd even seen the exact phrase "abandoning questions", but the above question was the only one that a search revealed for me, as well. Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 0:43

3 Answers 3


Leave a comment on the question for those people. If they actually do visit the site, they'll see a notification of a new comment. If they care at all, they'll respond, either answering your question or confirming that they solved the problem a different way. If that's the case, kindly ask them to post an answer detailing their solution and accept it when the system will let them do so, informing them that this is necessary to mark their question as "resolved".

Otherwise, don't worry so much about it! They're here to beg you for help. If they don't want to help themselves, then I can't see how there is any way that you can help them, either.

Remember that participation on this site is completely voluntary. There's no way of cajoling users into participating more actively. If you see a question that you think has been completely abandoned and poses no redeemable benefit for future visitors to the site, please flag it for moderator attention.

  • Thank you. You hit the nail right on the head.
    – Mike
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 0:44

You can't make people participate. Hell, StackExchange doesn't even require a registration process. They could use the email given to nag the user after a certain amount of time of inactivity, but I'm not sure that'd be fruitful.

If you have a good answer, you'll accrue upvotes as other folks find your answer helpful or useful. All that is left to do is bask in the glory of unrequited love!

  • Thanks for the reply. I'll admit I completely forgot that there's no need to even sign up for asking a question.
    – Mike
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 0:45

I've abandoned questions on other sites before. Normally, it happens when there's a fundamental misunderstanding between my question and the answer that's given, and when discussion does not completely resolve the misunderstanding - usually answerers only have limited patience before they give up on the question. In that case, I often get ashamed and quit (at other sites, the truth is that the answerer often does get impatient and stops trying to help - and my abandoning the question is a way to prevent myself from irritating the other person or from experiencing the pain of rejection)

So... Try to convince them (with concrete statistics hopefully) that there's something special about Stack Exchange so that their experiences on other forums don't necessarily imply that they'll get the same experiences here as well.

  • +1 Good points. It's true that after a lot of back and forth it can become quite tiring.
    – Mike
    Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 0:49
  • 2
    The whole point of this site is that there isn't supposed to be much (if any) "back-and-forth". If you find yourself doing this frequently, it's probably a sign that your questions need some attention. Make sure that you include all necessary details, rather than making people guess and expecting to clarify later through comments. Commented Jul 6, 2011 at 2:21

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