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I've noticed that many of our questions have either inactive queriers or respondents. If so, is there any way to

  • clean up inactive members who haven't been seen in a determined length of time?
  • accept answers where the OP's account is no longer in use (so as to avoid needless Community resurrections)?
  • 2
    Why do you want this? – Double AA Nov 16 '14 at 1:34
  • To Clarify, I don't think that we should delete the accounts of inactive members, I think we should try and deal with the structural problems which it can produce, that is to say, all of these "last seen in 2010" accounts make me wonder why this is. – Noach MiFrankfurt Nov 16 '14 at 4:49
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    What structural problems – Double AA Nov 16 '14 at 5:46
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That a user has not been around for a while does not mean he'll never come back. Sure, we get a lot of drive-by posts from users who never return, but I hold out hope that one of our top users will yet return someday, and I sure wouldn't want him to find his account gone when he does. Inactive users are still users. Also, when you come across a user who's given some good answers (or asked some good questions), don't you sometimes want to see what else that person has posted? You lose that if the account goes away.

(I trust you are only talking about the users and not their posts. Even when a user is deleted, his posts remain -- for good reason. This site is about the content, not just the users.)

As for the community accepting an answer in the absence of the original poster, this has been raised before and declined. The acceptance mark belongs exclusively to the person who asked the question, and he is free to not award it.

If you want to prevent questions from being bumped by Community, help them get a good answer. Community doesn't bump questions with positively-scored answers, even if no answer is accepted. The purpose of the bump is to remind us of questions still awaiting answers, and to make newer users (who didn't see them when they were posted) aware of them.

Community also doesn't bump closed questions, so if the problem is really the question rather than its (lack of) answers, you can advocate closing it.

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I don't believe either option makes sense.

  • "Cleaning up" - Just because they haven't been around doesn't mean they should be deleted. What if they come back in 5 years? Besides, we don't gain anything... [I'm assuming here that you mean delete their account as opposed to deleting their content which surely wouldn't make sense]

  • "Accept answers" - We can't possibly accept an answer for someone else. Accepting an answer is an indication that the original poster thought that a specific answer was the most helpful for him/her. There's no way anyone else could know that...

I see that the real issue you have is with "needless Community resurrections". That sounds like a bug to me. Perhaps we should ask StackExchange to take into account how active a user is before it resurrects something...

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    I don't think that "tak[ing] into account how active a user is before it resurrects something" makes sense -- if a user is not around, then he's certainly not around to curate his content -- that is up to the community to do, which is part of the purpose of those bumps as I understand them. – Shokhet Nov 16 '14 at 1:27
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Just one point on having the community accept answers -- if you want to show that you feel one of the answers on this question is better than the others, you can always offer a bounty to "Reward existing answer," though I don't know if this will stop the questions from being bumped.

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    It won't, but upvoting it should. – Scimonster Nov 16 '14 at 8:28

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