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Often, someone asks a question, gets one or more good answers, and then leaves without ever accepting one. I would suggest that after a certain amount of time has passed that users of sufficiently high reputation should be allowed to vote to "administratively accept" an answer that appears to answer the question correctly and completely (or as completely as possible). This would clear the question from the unanswered list without blocking new answers.

Edit:

As Mad Scientist noted, accepting is not required to get a question off the unanswered list, but there's something else, I think. It's just disturbing to see a perfect answer, essentially impossible to improve, go unaccepted forever.

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    $\begingroup$ I understand where this suggestion comes from. But it would be a very fundamental change to the SW, so unlikely to happen. After all, the OP could be absent for a longish time for some very good reason. Acute health problems spring to mind. Upvoting an answer to such a question is enough to keep it from being periodically bumped by the Community user. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 28 '13 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ Posts are removed from the unanswered list if they have at least one upvoted answer, acceptance from the OP is not required for that. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Aug 28 '13 at 5:04
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    $\begingroup$ This feature request at meta.SO is (to some extent) similar, it has been declined: Force Accepted Answers on Questions by Inactive Users. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Aug 28 '13 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ It is frustrating enough when I (and I presume others) disagree with the OPs selection of the accepted answer. Imagine how much more frustrating that would be when the community chooses! $\endgroup$ – user1729 Aug 28 '13 at 7:56
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    $\begingroup$ I think the other way: I don't really see the point of accepting answers. It's like a voluntary closure of your question (basically declaring "it's done"), causing subsequent answers to get less recognition (and hence users are less likely to bother writing better answers to questions with accepted answers). $\endgroup$ – Douglas S. Stones Aug 28 '13 at 11:00
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    $\begingroup$ Also: I've seen some of my answers be accepted after at least 5 months of inactivity. We never know when a user will come back and accept. $\endgroup$ – apnorton Aug 28 '13 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ I've had answers I've written that have been accepted almost twelve months later; this one was posted on 24 March 2012 and was accepted March 7 of the following year. When that happened I wrote a database query and found that many answers are accepted more than a year after they are posted. $\endgroup$ – MJD Aug 28 '13 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ I just had an answer accepted that I posted on 2012-05-02. That's 525 days, a new personal record. At present, the global record is an incredible 1,014 days. $\endgroup$ – MJD Oct 9 '13 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ A new personal record; this answer, posted on 2012-05-04, was accepted today, after 658 days. The current global record is 1,285 days. $\endgroup$ – MJD Feb 21 '14 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ It's ironic that this question does not have an answer :P $\endgroup$ – marco trevi Sep 15 '14 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ Supplementing Martin Sleziak's link, here's another related meta.SE thread: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3669/… $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer May 26 '15 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ This answer was just accepted, 989 days after I posted it. The current record is 2360 days. (Odd coincidence: both are about quaternions.) $\endgroup$ – MJD Oct 16 '17 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ My old personal record is shattered! This answer was accepted after 1613 days, which I think might put it in second place over the entire site! $\endgroup$ – MJD Nov 12 '17 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ A new personal record: This answer was accepted after 2161 days (nearly 6 years!) but this does not even approach the record for entire site. Indeed it barely breaks the top 100! This post by Robert Israel was accepted just two weeks ago, 2975 days after it was posted, surpassing the old record of 2865 days. $\endgroup$ – MJD Jun 2 at 17:42

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