TL;DR Asking if we can do automatic closing of questions after a set amount of time if OP has no interaction with the question after an answer has been posted.

EDIT It looks as though there is actually something in place for questions with no movement. https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/92006/296524 It doesn't look though that if it has answers they close it, only ones that don't.

Is there possibly a way that there could be an automatic question closing after a set amount of time of no activity if there is an answer? What I mean is that if someone asks a question, and they get an answer but they fail to acknowledge the answer or their own question after say 30 days that then the question automatically rolls over to closed.

I wrote an answer over a year ago where at my job we setup servers all the time with bonding with fail-over configured on them. I don't write answers that I have not tested out and the answer in this question is no exception. Well, after a year OP finally gets back to me and tells me that my answer is indirect of the question asked. To me it seems that OP never tested my answer to see if it worked for them or not but went on their own way to solve their issue another way.

We take time out of our days to answer questions for people all day long where we do not get paid at all and are doing this out of the kindness of our hearts for people. Or there are those that are doing this for fake internet points ;). Regardless of the reason why we write answers for people it would be nice if OPs would simply respond within a reasonable amount of time for the answers that we have spent our time researching and writing. But, we don't have control over whether OPs respond or not to our answers.

So, would it be possible to have an automatic close with a warning to OP when asking the question stating that after the last answer has been written that OP has 30 days to respond or the question will be closed?

Example: Ubuntu: ethX Interface not bonded after unplugging and plugging its cable back

Thank you for taking your time to read my long question.

  • 3
    worth noting that questions which haven't received any positive attention will be automatically deleted
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 15:35
  • @Zanna Thank you! I see that my question has actually been asked before. Could you please vtc mine based on that question? I guess I didn't write this one very well.
    – Terrance
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 15:51
  • 1
    :) that one is on Meta Stack Exchange, so this one can't be closed against it. Re your experience with someone finally getting back to you after a very long time - sometimes that works the other way, when you finally get an accept months(/years?) after posting...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 15:57
  • @Zanna I was on mobile when I looked at that. :) Good find though! I like the answer written there and that is what I was after.
    – Terrance
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


No. One of the most important things about the SE model is that we don't answer for the OP. The OP is almost irrelevant. You answer for every user who might have the same question and comes across the post. So what would we gain by closing a question because the OP abandoned it?

That's also why questions are marked as "answered" if they have at least one answer with a positive score. So even if the OP never comes back, never accepts or otherwise acknowledges an answer, if the answer is upvoted, the question is marked as answered.

So, when you answer and the OP isn't engaged, answer for the community, not the OP.

  • 1
    @Terrance but that's just it. The OP is only one of the, possibly thousands, of users that can be helped by your answer. So who cares if the OP never came back? Your answer is still useful and still helpful to others.
    – terdon
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 14:57
  • 2
    @Terrance one thing that happens occasionally to old posts is that they got generalised - say the original question was about some common action, but 10.04, and later on answers added for modern releases, gradually making it a canonical post for all versions. Some of the users who posted these questions have never come back since, or even had their accounts automatically deleted
    – muru
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 14:59
  • @Terrance yes, clicking the checkmark is a nice gesture when the OP is still around. But nothing more than a gesture and, frankly, I feel it is more trouble than it is worth and would be happy to get rid of it. Especially because so many users go whine at the OP and ask them to accept their answers. Now, this isn't a ticketing system so your analogy is false. That's the main point here: we're not answering for the OP only or even primarily but for everyone who reads the question. And having an upvoted answer does "close the ticket". The question no longer counts as unanswered. Why close?
    – terdon
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 15:22
  • @Terrance that's deletion not closing, and doesn't apply to questions with upvoted answers.
    – terdon
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 16:17
  • @Terrance in that case you might want to edit your question since it really has absolutely nothing to do with what you linked to. The ROOMBA system will delete old questions with no good answers. There is no system that closes "abandoned" questions, nor is there ever likely to be one for the reasons I explained in my answer.
    – terdon
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 16:22
  • @Terrance they're not adding answers for 10.04, but 12.04, 14.04, 16.04, as new versions get released and existing answers get outdated. See askubuntu.com/posts/29553/revisions for a pretty popular example
    – muru
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 16:29
  • I really worded my question poorly on my part. I was very frustrated that an answer that I spent a lot of my time on to write for OP wasn't looked at for over a year then they came back to me telling me that it wouldn't work when I have tested it many times and I know it worked. It was frustrating to me. Thank you for your answer! =)
    – Terrance
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 19:08

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