As one possible step in Cleaning the Archives there is a suggestion on closing old unanswered questions. By definition, an unanswered question is

  1. A question which doesn't have any answers
  2. A question with no upvoted answers

By old question, we will define that as a question older than three months, and where the poster of the question hasn't been seen in three months. Either, users with enough reputation could cast a close vote and users without could flag the question with the same reason:

This question appears to be off-topic because it is older than three months, the poster of the question hasn't been seen for three months and it contains no answers or no upvoted answers.

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If the original poster (OP) of the question returns, and want to have the question reopened - it will be reopened if it's closed for the reasons mentioned above.


If you agree with this suggestion, upvote this question, if you disagree, downvote the question. Adding answers and suggestions are most welcome.

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    It will be a lot if work, but probably worth it. Just remember that if we find questions where we find an answer that we feel is great, give the answer an upvote instead of casting a close vote :) – Robert Lindgren Jan 15 '14 at 6:17
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    @RobertLindgren As with any action in larger organisation, content management is a lot of work. But it shouldn't be done yesterday (as our daily work sometimes demands). This is more of a process than a project. – Benny Skogberg Jan 15 '14 at 7:24
  • @BennySkogberg - could you define what you mean by "the poster of the question hasn't been seen for three months"? Only I have that strange felling a bulk operation like this could end up in a rain of question bans or similar? – BlueSoul Jan 16 '14 at 15:27
  • @SPArchaeologist on a user profile page, everyone can see when the user was last loggen in visiting the site. That's the definition we'll use. – Benny Skogberg Jan 16 '14 at 18:50
  • Ok -so we close only question from user that never logged in the last year? Good to me. – BlueSoul Jan 17 '14 at 8:37
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    @BennySkogberg - Is there a way to have a list of such user? Ninja search options doesn't seem to help. Maybe something from the 10k tools (if that is the case, feel free to upvote my post until I reach 10k :P)? – BlueSoul Jan 17 '14 at 8:41
  • @BennySkogberg - I have cast a vote on this question as a test. sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/5762/… – BlueSoul Jan 17 '14 at 8:54
  • @SPArchaeologist It is now closed. – Benny Skogberg Jan 17 '14 at 9:20
  • so.... do we start? Any incentive (free rep, Stack T-Shirts, unicorn plushiest etc)? ^_^ – BlueSoul Jan 21 '14 at 13:57
  • @SPArchaeologist With 5 upvotes, and only 1 downvote, I think we start now. Let those flags stack overflow :-) – Benny Skogberg Jan 22 '14 at 6:50

I would presume its a tough call! maybe it should be longer than 1 year? as some badges are assosiated with old posts. Plus when i come to an issue and solve it, then find out there is a question on here that hasnt been answered I would answer it... it has happend on a few occations where the questions were over a year old too!

also like to note that what if no one knows the answer at this given time (new version of sharepoint ) and the question is never answered but someone like me several months or year ;) down the line come up with the same issue/solution. Im sure you know about sharepoint and businesses.... takes time for people to get used to how the new version works... as an example: sharepoint 2015 comes out and within a week I get a major issue and post here but as its a week old and businesses are slow at upgrading it would probably more than likely not get answered as not many people if anyone would know the solution until alot more users use sharepoint 2015 and its been out for some time where new solutions or upgrads/explanations can answer the question and solve the issue.

If you were to close the answer then wouldnt someone else who has that same issue ask the same question, as they would see it as closed rather than active?

also like to know :) what happens to crawling on the site with closed questions? do they get picked up on google or not?

sorry for loads of questions!

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    those are great points. I do understand that some badges are awarded for unanswered and old questions, but if the user hasn't visited the site in over 3 months, especially when he/she is a new user, things don't look promising. Another good point, closing a question would allow for possible duplicates, but we may be able to revert that old question to the duplicate if it ever gets off hold. – Mike Jan 15 '14 at 15:21
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    Very valid points! Maybe we should start with a year and no answers and see what effect it has? – Benny Skogberg Jan 16 '14 at 8:25
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    sounds like a plan! i dont see why not having a trial run to see the outcome? – Ali Jafer Jan 16 '14 at 9:00
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    If the user hasn't been to the site for over 3 months, I really think the removal of the question outweighs any benefits for badges. The only badges dealing with timelines are: "Answered more than 30 days later as first answer scoring 2 or more", "Answered a question more than 60 days later with score of 5 or more", and the "Edited first/100 posts that were inactive for 6 months" which are all still available for questions that are not dead. – RJ Cuthbertson Jan 17 '14 at 18:46
  • @RJCuthbertson how would you calculate somthing as valuble or not? as noted what if its a new product (2015) and not many people use/know about it but you know in one year it will pickup and people would be looking at that question/answer or atleast 6 months min. It could be that noone knows the answer as its new or complex – Ali Jafer Jan 20 '14 at 14:27
  • Value on SP-SE is gauged by the community response (ie: better questions, more upvotes). If the question is valuable to you and has been closed (not deleted) due to non-activity, there's always the option to ask it again and answer your own question. If you're concerned about the difference in potential reputation earned, think about it this way: If the user hasn't logged on in 3 months, do you really think they're going to accept your answer? And how much traffic do you think a three month old question would receive compared to a brand new question asking the same thing on the front page? – RJ Cuthbertson Jan 20 '14 at 14:44
  • @aliSharepoint I'm not sure what you're talking about. You asked me a question so I answered it in a very precise manner. If you've taken this as a personal affront, that is entirely perceived. – RJ Cuthbertson Jan 20 '14 at 15:19

If the original poster (OP) of the question returns, and want to have the question reopened - it will be reopened if it's closed for the reasons mentioned above.

Should there be follow-up for post deletions? Also, are they hidden from the list of questions?

I would like to mention, many abandoned posts that have no answers may have some useful comments, so close carefully.

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  • Closed are not hidden as deleted questions. The only follow up on these closed questions are made by the OP who needs to cast an reopen vote or possibly flag for moderator attention. Closing doesn't remove earned reps. – Benny Skogberg Jan 14 '14 at 20:35
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    Alright, thanks for the clarification @BennySkogberg. It appears that there is plenty work to be done, let's get to it! – Mike Jan 14 '14 at 20:42

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