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A questions gets asked, it gets no answers, time passes, and OP no longer needs a solution …

Should we do something with such a question?

To clarify: This is not about cases like

  • OP already found a solution but didn’t post an own answer; in that case the need is still there, a new recommendation could possibly make OP change software, get a better solution, etc.
  • OP isn’t actively looking for a solution anymore (the need isn’t urgent); in that case a recommendation might "reactivate" the need

but about cases where OP explicitly mentions (e.g., in an edit to the question or in a comment) that there’s no need for it anymore.

Should we keep OP’s notice about this? If it’s in a comment, should we include it in the question? As some kind of disclaimer at the top?

Or should we remove the notice and treat this question like any other, although for this question the probability is higher that OP is no longer willing or able to answer questions in the comments (like "no idea what I needed a year ago!").

And/or, maybe, should we revamp the question? Possibly removing requirements for obscure features, accepting more operating systems, etc.? If yes, should the question become a community wiki in that case?


An example would be this question, where OP replied to my comment asking which operating systems are acceptable:

my need has passed, but actually I didn't care what OS, I would have used Windows, Linux or OSX

(note the past tense)

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    Or should we "urge" the OP to delete the question, as it no longer is of interest? I'd vouch for this if the question has no (or only LQ) answers, no stars and no/few upvotes (even more if has only few views). Might even be a case to VTC for (custom-reason), explaining this. Background: If OP no longer cares, and nobody else is interested in (no stars/upvotes) – why keep it? It's almost as if it hadn't been asked, only that it's there. – Izzy Oct 6 '15 at 18:13
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    @Izzy: I don’t think we should delete them: while it’s no longer of interest to OP, it might be of interest to others. If the question is bad and OP doesn’t care about it anymore (not clarifying intentions in comments, not providing details that were asked for), we should VTC it (as unclear), and roomba might or might not delete it. If, however, it’s a good question (even if no stars/votes/views = unpopular, not necessarily bad), it would be a pity to see it go just because OP doesn’t need it anymore. -- Anyway, as your comment already has +3, you might want to create an answer? :) – unor Oct 10 '15 at 17:31
  • Unor, sure there will always be exceptions – and I'm with you for really high quality questions. But if the question (not having any answer) is of interest for others, those others can ask it again (if it's deleted). // As requested, I'll make my comment an answer now. – Izzy Oct 10 '15 at 19:25
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While our final approaches will always be "special" depending on multiple criteria (I wouldn't delete a real high-quality answer – but burn a low-q with fire):

We could ask the OP to delete the question, as it no longer is of interest. I'd vouch for this if the question has no (or only LQ) answers, no stars and no/few upvotes (even more if has only few views). Might even be a case to VTC for (custom-reason), explaining this (especially with the OP "out of reach"). Background: If OP no longer cares, and nobody else is interested in (no stars/upvotes) – why keep it? It's almost as if it hadn't been asked, only that it's there.

As a comment on this Meta-question pointed out that post might be of interest for "others": I don't think that's a criterium we should consider (unless it's a real high-q question). If our candidate was deleted, future "interested parties" can simply ask it again – which makes it even easier for them: All of us know, if the original question were not removed, the new one would be considered a "duplicate" – and it's harder attracting interest to some "old question" than pushing a newer one.

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I'd just keep the question:

  • it's faster to Google than to write a question
  • people can still answer the question, which can turn out to be useful for a future reader.

Since people upgrade or change their OS from time to time, the majority of questions are bound not to be needed anymore by their posters anyway.

Also, Roomba is deleting enough user content...

  • Do you also have an opinion about my questions re. adding/removing a notice from the OP about it? And about revamping and/or making it a community wiki? – unor Oct 11 '15 at 21:37
  • @unor what's the upside of converting it into cw? – Franck Dernoncourt Oct 11 '15 at 22:03
  • I thought that if "we" take over such a question (removing obscure features that are not part of the core requirements, making it more broad, etc.), it no longer represents what the OP had in mind. -- For example, if OP looks for free/libre software, abandons the question, and there are no answers, we might decide to broaden it by accepting proprietary solutions, but OP might not be happy that his name/usercard is now associated with this. -- But if you think we shouldn’t revamp such questions in the first place, there’s no point in making it CW, I guess. – unor Oct 11 '15 at 22:24

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