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Once in a while I come across what appears to be a completely abandoned question, by which I mean:

  • Years old

  • No Answers

  • No Question Upvote

  • No comments, or comments that don’t attempt to answer (having same problem, or asking for clarification but nothing further is provided)

  • Author has not accessed system for years

In these cases where the question clearly no longer has value for the author, and usually requires more information to answer properly, is it acceptable/appropriate to flag the question for deletion or moderator attention? If so, what flag would be most appropriate?

As well, assuming the same criteria but the user is still active, is it appropriate to post a new comment asking the user to delete the question if it is no longer applicable?

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Questions without answers one year old are automatically deleted by the system; I don't recall if the question score makes a difference in this case. Other automatic deletions are in place too, for different cases too.

As for asking the users to delete their question, I would avoid that, since deleted posts would cause users to be blocked from asking new questions or answering new questions; then, it is probable that most users would not delete their questions if asked by somebody else.

In both the cases (the user is still active; the user is not anymore active), if there is the ground to close a question, I would flag/vote to close it.

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  • good to know, thanks - There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of questions without an upvote or answer that are at least a year old - simply choosing the unanswered category, and starting at the last page. Many of these have comments, and perhaps answers within the comments, but no actual answers, so the system is not deleting unanswered questions that are one year old – Geoff Jun 26 '15 at 15:32
  • Actually, open questions without answers are not automatically deleted if the owner is still active or they have a score >= 2 or they have >= 2 comments. – Free Radical Jul 9 '15 at 15:40
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SE already has a concept of "abandoned questions" and will delete those that meet the criteria automatically. For instance, questions will be autodeleted if they:

  • > 1 year old, and:
    • has a score < 2 and a deleted owner
    • has no answers
    • has < 2 comments
    • has a viewcount < the age of the question in days times 1.5

or if they:

  • > 9 days in closed state:
    • not closed as a duplicate
    • has a score < 1
    • has no answers with a score > 0
    • has no accepted answer
    • has not been edited in the past 9 days

Those "year-old" you're seeing all has non-deleted owner and/or a score of 2 or greater, or they have not been closed.

(I don't think you'll find any abandoned questions more than a year old that meet these criteria.)

It looks like abandoned questions without a positive score or upvoted answers will go away pretty fast if they are closed, so you could probably speed up the process without flagging by downvoting and voting for closure - provided at least 4 (I think it requires 5 votes to close) 3000+ rep users follow suit.

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