I keep revisiting this question: Reminder: Unanswered + Time != Too Localised in which @Oli states

"The idea of removing older questions is okay but only under certain conditions:

  • The asker has been asked a follow-up question and never replied (or never edited their post to add requested information) and it doesn't have a viable +1 answer"

etc. See original question if you want the full list. My question is: In the context above, "How long is never?"

  • 2
    The goal of that post was to stop a wave of closure-attempts on questions just because they were old or not made perfect the same day. Just use some common sense for what's reasonable. Certainly no less than a few days.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 9:01
  • @Oli Thank you. This makes perfect sense. I always attempt to get further information (if necessary) and try to reasonable at all times. I don't believe I've ever flagged a question that was as recent as a few days unless it was abundantly clear to the casual observer that is was outside of scope or otherwise not salvageable. I would assume the same overall goals exist today as existed then.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 12:33

2 Answers 2


I would just use common sense here.

  1. Read the question
  2. Has it been improved, or touched recently?
  3. Is there anything you can do to salvage it? Maybe an edit, or a share, or a bounty?

If it's just sitting there for months and there's no activity then it's probably abandoned. There should at least be some kind of activity somewhere.

  • 1
    I will continue to do so. Thank you for treating a relative newb to this site with respect.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 23:41
  • Follow up question: how much is "recently"? How about the questions that has high activity (lots of comments) yet remain unanswered?
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 0:15
  • 2
    It's also a good idea to check if the OP has been seen recently at all. If he hasn't been seen since very recently after he asked the question or in the last year then it is almost definitely abandoned. (cc: @ElderGeek)
    – Seth
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 1:14
  • That makes sense. Thank you.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 2:57
  • @Briam based on the answer above "recently" < "months"
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 15:31
  • @ElderGeek no,nonono, waiting or "holding hands" is definitivelly not the way to go... Stack Exchange and everyone on mSE will tell you do not wait. Let me put it this way, would you wait to vote up or answer a question? BTW, my name is written B-R-A-I-A-M, at least try to write it correctly
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 20:10
  • @ElderGeek more reading meta.stackexchange.com/a/98026/213575
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 20:17
  • @Braiam My apologies for misspelling your name. I certainly didn't intend any disrespect. There's no need to emphasize your spelling skills, I'm not a 3 year old. The above is a perfect example of your typical tone. Please try to understand that we are all here attempting to improve the site. To the best of my knowledge this is not a dictatorship. I think your posts sound demanding at best and condescending at worst. I don't believe that this represents best practices for building a consensus.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 22:57
  • 1
    @ElderGeek, is not the first time that you misspell my name, there's a tool tip that helps you to auto complete the name. Condescending I'm not, I don't even know what "condescending" means, not it is my interest to dwell is such minute thing. My main interest and worry is the path this community is traveling following this counseling and your actions. There have been several discussions about this topic, one recently, yet the problem persist.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 23:44
  • Dwelling in discussions about "how long should we wait", "how long to take action", etc., is not productive and even counter-productive. Stack Exchange ask you to act now if we see something wrong. That's the only thing that I ask you to take into account.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 23:48
  • @Braiam thank you for sharing your knowledge. Allow me to share some of mine. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/condescending
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 23:57
  • @ElderGeek that still doesn't explain how could I been condescending, but whatever, button line here is "how long is never" = 0 seconds.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 0:08
  • @Braiam It appears many would disagree that 0 seconds is long enough to allow a post to develop. I happen to be one of them.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 12:36
  • @ElderGeek plot twist: we have to wait to upvote a good post, which is on topic, relevant or correct. Give it a through. BTW, this has been discussed until satiety, everyone says you don't have to wait.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 12:45
  • @Braiam the discussion you linked to applies to answers my question was in regard to questions! Again, thank you for sharing.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 12:52

First of all, what are you doing reading that +1 year old question? It's no longer relevant today. If you are seeking guidance on that post just drop it.

Secondly, the problem with the general tone of the question is that promote a passive approach when engaging users/askers (comment, wait, comment again, wait, VtC, wait, wait a bit more, etc.) which simply doesn't work. Such behavior motived Stack Exchange to write the blog post and, at the same time with the title, ask us to Vote Early, Vote Ofter, which can be colloquially translated to "vote first, ask question later".

The post you link to, was referring to the fact that people where trying to close unanswered questions that kept waiting for answers for a long time (hence the title), but didn't took into account the fact that there are several factors that have to come in play to get a question answered:

  • The question can be reasonably answered.
  • There are people that can answer it.
  • The activity cycle of each question.

The first case should be closed. Done. No waits, no buts, but just plain and pure closure and deletion. People will say that such approach is aggressive, but the system already waits a year to delete uninteresting questions (no votes), and yet such conservative period of time is being reviewed over other parts of the network.

The second, can be easily solved giving exposure and linking anywhere else, which in fact I've done several times with interesting questions that I've linked in UL chatroom that I've found when cleaning tags.

The third, the system is supposed to take care of it, yet, it depends of us humans to decide what cruft to delete and what to keep, and we seriously suck at optimizing the system job, since we decide to leave open and upvoted several questions that should be closed/downvoted. Is a problem with what the community believes is a "good question", and the long trail of similar asked questions that remains in the system also promotes this believe. BTW, people which questions were automatically deleted can undelete them, so you have nothing to fear about deleting questions where OP came back alive, again.

So, to actually answer your question "How long is never?" the answer is: 0 seconds. Waiting for some kind of activity is like, while you are in front of the market and know that the milk is almost expiring, you decide go home and wait until it expires so you go out and buy more.

If you can solve the problem now, just solve it.

  • 3
    Your tone leaves a great deal to be desired. If it's not relevant it would/should be downvoted into oblivion. Furthermore, I'm reading a 1+ year old post because I wasn't here 1+ years ago. Are you advocating a position of zero research? Do you feel history has no lessons? I'm baffled by what appears to be constant anger and frustration on your part.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 23:35
  • @ElderGeek but if you see the context of such question, you will notice that: 1. It was during a clean up campaign, which has a set of "rules" to participate 2. the behavior is no longer seen anywhere 3. the close reason itself (too localized) prompted people to abuse it. History is there, but not to repeat them. My post, tries to tell you that you shall not use such post as guidance for your actions, since it's obsolete and in fact obstructive. If you are having doubts in how to interpret it, it's because you are attempting to apply it. Is akin
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 23:52
  • to try a method to fly a state-of-the-art ship with the manual of some previous century machine manual. Is just not going to work.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 23:53
  • 2
    Still baffled by your tone.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 2:56
  • @ElderGeek what "tone" you are talking about? You can't hear me to know my "tone", so what's the matter? Did I said something wrong?
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 20:38
  • Chalk it up to my failure to interpret your statements properly if you like. Based on the upvotes on my comments I'm not the only one who thinks you come across as just a bit on the rude and condescending side.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 22:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .