I usually gravitate to the 'unanswered' section, but I find that there are always some old questions laying around that no one is ever going to answer. Some of these are a couple of weeks old, some are much older.

For instance, it was stated in the comments that this question was basically never going to get answered, but it is at the top of the 'unanswered section. I'm sure that I'm not the only one, the question has a lot of views for such an old and long post that no one has answered.

Is this the proper venue to propose an expiration or some other solution? I have tried to wade through this section to find things that I can knock off the list, but I tire of reading the same old threads.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So go ahead an nominate it for closing. That will put it into the review queue, and it will probably be closed in short order and taken out of the "unanswered" category. Or if you don't have the rep to cast a close vote, flag it instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 9, 2016 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ What sorting are you using? If you sort by votes, then its not wonder they never change \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Mar 9, 2016 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do we nominate for closing? i see no such option... \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2016 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PlasmaHH I usually sort by 'no answers, but I often try all sort methods. I just don't believe that questions that have been abandoned by the askers and aren't likely to get answered should be at the top of any list when I'm feeling helpful. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2016 at 21:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ For finding questions to answer you can use answers:0 in the search box and then sort it any way. Also that way you can use tags to search on things you might know about like [pic] answers:0 \$\endgroup\$
    – PeterJ
    Mar 10, 2016 at 11:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Like I said, if you have less than 3000 rep, you can't directly vote to close a question. Flagging is the only option available to you -- but please use it sparingly, because it adds to the workload of us moderators. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 10, 2016 at 22:52

1 Answer 1


There is zero reason to close a question just because it has gone unanswered. If it's in topic, and of good quality, it should stay open. Do not abuse the close vote just because there is no answer.

Unclear what you're asking is not short hand for um idk lol, so it should be closed.

As a Caveat, unanswered in the context of the Unanswered question tab, means any question without at least 1 answer with a score of 1 or higher OR an accepted answer. Any question with 0 or negative score answers are still considered unanswered. System wide, not just EE.SE.

The system does prune old, down voted, unanswered questions after a period of time. Notice there is no old negative score questions in the Unanswered questions list.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree that there is no reason to close a question b/c it has gone unanswered. I do believe that a question that has been abandoned by the asker and has no answers in the last few months should at least be sorted down so that it isn't at the top of multiple sorts for months. It is no big deal for one question, but as questions like this pile up, it becomes more difficult for us that want to answer questions to identify the questions to answer. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2016 at 22:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @slightlynybbled sort by new instead of by votes. Problem solved. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Mar 9, 2016 at 22:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sort of, if I sort by 'new', then I find lots of questions with answers already. It would be nice to have an amazon-style checkbox filtering... 'unanswered' sort by newest... \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2016 at 22:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @slightlynybbled oh. Caveat, unanswered means any question without at least 1 answer with a score of 1 or higher OR accepted answer. Any question with 0 or negative score answers are still considered unanswered. System wide, not just EE.Se. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Mar 9, 2016 at 22:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @slightlynybbled technically, THIS question is still unanswered lol. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Mar 9, 2016 at 22:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ lol :) I guess I'm spoiled, but it is still active an only an hour old. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 9, 2016 at 22:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since we don't have "abandoned" as a close reason, we'll have to make due with the close reasons we do have. One way or another, these old questions should be purged from the system since they add no value and become clutter in search results. Maybe the system should do this automatically when there is no upvoted or accepted answer after 3 months. In the mean time we'll have to do it manually. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10, 2016 at 13:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @olin Stack Exchange is intentionally set up not to do that, and provides incentives via badges to answer old questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Mar 10, 2016 at 13:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @slightlynybbled Actually, we have an option for finding questions with 0 answers. Attach is:q answers:0 to the end of the query. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10, 2016 at 22:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ None of this addresses @slightlynybbled's original point about questions that are clearly not answerable for one reason or another, based on subsequent comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Mar 10, 2016 at 22:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickAlexeev Great, do you have a link to where I could find some documentation on the strings? I love that \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2016 at 0:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @slightlynybbled Why yes. Here. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2016 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is good enough for me. I still think that StackExchange should naturally float some of these away from prime-time, but this will do. If you post as an answer, I will up-vote. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2016 at 1:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does, for questions that are down voted sufficiently. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Mar 11, 2016 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @davetweed his point is that old & unanswered is the same as bad or off topic. I answer that directly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Mar 11, 2016 at 16:47

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