Something I have noticed a lot is that new users with 1 rep ask a question and never appear on the site again. Good answers are posted, but the question stays "unanswered" forever. Often, these are perfectly good questions (I just came from this one and actually used it for recovering my system) so they don't have any grounds to be closed. What should be done with these?

You might want to consider:

(a) Adding an "abandoned" flag so that a mod can come in and somehow accept the answer for the leaver OR

(b) Adding a system for voting for an answer to be accepted, so that if someone comes across an obviously answered but abandoned question, they can vote for it to be marked as answered.

Preemptive clarification: Not a duplicate of asking or encouraging new users to accept answers. I'm talking about is people who never come back to AU.

  • Whoah! Why was I downvoted without explanation? Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 19:57
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    On Meta downvotes mean that people disagree with your idea, not that it's a bad question. Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 19:58
  • OK. Thank you (I don't frequent meta much). Sorry. Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 19:59

2 Answers 2


I disagree. Primarily, there is no such thing as an "obviously abandoned question" - or rather: when do we draw the line?

Secondly, I don't really see a point in forcing questions to be accepted. It may not be what the person who asked the question was looking for (i.e. incorrect answer for the specific case), for instance. Also: There is no real benefit for the person who gets the accepted answer (or any person looking for the correct answer) over, say, masses of upvotes as it is a great - and most likely valid - answer.

Long story short: Answers should only be accepted when they actually solve the problem in a way the person who asked was looking for. Thus, noone else can determine "this answer is the one that's correct!"

  • An "obviously abandoned question" is one that was asked two years ago by a user with 1 rep who has not contributed any content to the question other than the original question, etc. (E.g. the user has not come back to the site and it doesn't look like they will any time soon.) Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 20:07
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    @WindowsEscapist And at that point, I don't feel the need to have an answer accepted anymore. The question is dusted, probably out of date, and most likely been asked again in the meantime. I'm going with not worth the hassle and too vague.
    – user98085
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 20:09
  • You've convinced me. Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 20:10
  • @FEichinger: I disagree with you a little here. A lot of old questions are maintained by the community, so it's likely we'll just close any new questions that are dupes if there is a good answer on the old one, while updating the old one.
    – RolandiXor
    Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 5:55
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    @RolandiXor-TheIceMan Oh, that is definitely true - but in that case I doubt we'd consider the question "abandoned" in the sense this post is about. I simply doubt we have that many old questions with great answers that don't have their answer accepted and still matter that much.
    – user98085
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 23:07

It's impossible to really force anyone to accept an answer, especially if they bail.

That answer has 4 upvotes, so as far as the community is concerned it's a good answer, it has enough votes to no longer show up as unanswered in the system so what problem are we trying to solve?

(TLDR; we don't need people to accept answers, if you see something awesome, vote!)

See here for more info on how accepting answers works:

Now, what to do about this? Well, you can certainly mine the site for "abandoned" questions by searching by date, or clicking on "unanswered" at the top of the site. The reason there's no tag for this is because it'd be more work to tag this stuff than it would be to either answer it, improve it, or vote on it. I have a set of queries that I've been sharing with people here: Our answered rate keeps plummeting, ideas to improve this?

And then I go through those questions and try to answer, improve, vote, and so on. So when someone abandons a question we as a community can still improve and vote on it's relative worth to others. Another way is to start helping reviewing posts on the site for quality: http://www.jorgecastro.org/2012/04/22/improving-user-support

Good luck and happy voting!

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