I love this site, and I'm doing my best to provide good questions and helpful answers. But as I browse through the questions, I find a lot of orphaned questions that IMO don't contribute anything to the site.

Examples are:

  • Questions that weren't clear, there was a comment asking for clarification, but the questioner never got back - like this one
  • Questions that weren't answered for a long time, and now refer to old iOS or OS X versions that are probably no longer in use - like this one

How should I as a user react when I come across such questions?

2 Answers 2


The good news is that the site is designed to have a large number of unanswered / orphaned / closed but not deleted questions and they only serve to index issues and eventually point to the most on-topic and best answered post covering the main issue.

Whether a post is 5 days old or 5 years old - it can always be edited to make it more clear or more relevant or in some cases - more general.

Comments can always be left to help clarify what the issue is in case that brings back the poster. Unless someone makes votes or posts in answer - questions get cleaned up automatically over time if they never generate any interest.

As to old questions - as long as they are tagged appropriately with versions instead of saying “the latest iPhoto” old posts will help people that don’t want to upgrade or can’t upgrade.

  • This one isn’t that bad and someone could come and answer a “here’s how to troubleshoot VPN in general and here are links to more articles.” - Unable to connect to a server over VPN The other is just fine since it calls out iOS 6 and you’re right - even with potential benefit - chances are they may sit in the back waters of the site forever without an answer.

Lastly - you are free to exercise your franchise and down vote them for reasons above. At some point they get cleared out when they are 0 or less score and untouched for a while. A single vote might be all that’s needed to clear them even without close votes.

  • just lettin you know that the link in your answer is broken, redirects to the Ask Different 404 page Jul 18, 2017 at 23:50
  • 1
    Yes @Jackson1442 - it’s been deleted so only high rep users can see it. Part of the lesson I suppose, how to clean up orphaned questions is to down vote them and/or not up vot them. The system cleans them systematically if no one tends to them or cares for them.
    – bmike Mod
    Jul 19, 2017 at 0:28

If you find a question that isn't clear, to the point where it is unanswerable, and where the poster hasn't responded to a request for clarification, vote to close it as 'Unclear what you are asking'. If there is no existing comment identifying what is unclear, it would be appropriate to leave a comment explaining what is unclear.

For old questions that relate to old versions, as long as it is clear that they are specific to the older version, do nothing -- leave them be. If the question is more general and not specific to a newer version, you can provide a new answer with the updated information. (In some cases you might be able to vote to close as a duplicate of another question that has better answers, if a suitable one exists, or possibly edit to clarify that the question is about an older version.)

If you can't vote to close yet, you can always flag it for closure, which will put it into a queue where others with the privileges to vote for closure can review it and decide whether they want to vote to close it too.

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