I just finished reviewing some of my answers today, to questions that are fairly old but have valid answers from multiple posters.

I thought it might be interesting to have a feature of Server Fault to notify OPs about open questions they might have, similar to how you can receive notifications about responses to questions, etc.

Maybe the best use case would be for users under a certain reputation level to receive e-mails once a week or once a month as a reminder. Then after meeting a certain level you have the option to disable the message.

It might help to narrow down our open question list a bit and encourage new users to help in marking questions as answered and not forgeting about them once they get the answer they need.

What does the community think?

It seems like an OK idea, with two flaws:

  1. Sending people email is annoying.
    Part of what I like about Stack Exchange is the only email I get is the stuff I sign up for - when sites start sending me "reminder" messages I get cranky and tell procmail to do unseemly things to their messages.

  2. The Stack Exchange inbox is a great place for this, unless the user never comes back to the network.
    The kinds of users who don't accept answers will probably be hit-and-run users ("I got my problem solved, why come back and bother with that whole participation thing?!"), so the notification icon won't ever bother them if they don't see it.

    The converse to this is that people who have a question migrated somewhere and forget about it but are active on other sites will see the notification, so this one may be a wash...


All that said I have no problem with (2) above - it can't hurt (much), and it might help...

EDIT: Btw, was going to simply post this as a comment to voretaq's answer, but too long..

I was thinking along these lines today after seeing multiple old questions with comments after an answer like "thanks that worked!" but no accept even though the OP is a semi-regular browser of the site.

I'm wondering if instead of an email notification (for the reasons Voretaq7 explains) maybe there's a way for the Community bot to auto-post a comment beneath the question stating "Consider accepting an answer below and helping the SF community finalize this question."

This way if they really have chosen in their Preferences page to receive Inbox emails, they'd get an email notice (they opted-in). Otherwise, the next time they return (if ever) they'll see it in their Inbox and at least remember "oh yeah, I never accepted something there".

The auto-comment could be a one time thing similar to the auto-bump the bot does. And if it could be a hidden comment only showing up in the OP's Inbox that would be even better.

I'm almost inclined to think that we should just close/delete old (at least a year) questions that have no upvoted answers or no accepted answer (i.e., the tumbleweed questions). As @voretraq7 points out a majority of those questions are created by hit-and-run users. They'll never come back to update their question, answer any of the comments asking for more information or to answer it themselves. These questions just seem to languish and even if they are answered, the poster will rarely return to mark the correct answer. There also seems little incentive for users to try to answer these questions as the poster will likely never upvote or mark their answer as correct. Additionally, the SF Community will often ignore the answers as well (just look at how few Revival and Necromancer badges are earned).

Active participation is crucial to keeping the quality of the content on Server Fault up and I just don't see how we can do that we these kinds of questions. We need good questions with good answers. Just having a collection of good questions isn't that useful.

  • I can see this on questions that don't have an accepted answer after a couple of years. I'd be hesitant to close anything that has an accepted answer as it must have helped someone and add to the SA body of knowledge if you will. – Brent Pabst Aug 30 '12 at 17:39
  • Yeah. I should clarify - I'm talking about questions that are at least a year old, have no upvoted answers or no accepted answer. High view questions would be exempted as well. – kce Aug 30 '12 at 17:48
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    There's already a script that cleans up low view, unanswered questions. I'd be hesitant about closing questions with no upvoted answers, because that doesn't mean there's no valuable information in them. Hit-and-run users are far less likely to upvote an answer (incapable), and a perfectly brilliant, highly useful answer to a question with few views could well get no upvotes. – HopelessN00b Aug 30 '12 at 19:06
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    I don't think that questions with no upvoted answers have no value, the main issue there is the paucity of voting on SF. – Iain Aug 30 '12 at 19:44

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