None of the Meta questions I could find (I did a search and then trawled through the "bumping" tag) seemed to answer this.

What's the etiquette on answering a question with no posted answers that's really old and by a user that has left? If the question asker were still around, I think I could post an answer that would help them. But otherwise, I don't know if it's worth the bump to the question.

The question that prompted this was https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/40089/think-i-have-a-diffferent-idea-for-converting-angular-momentum-to-angular-veloci, but I imagine when trawling through old unanswered questions I'd find a lot of missing users.

In the particular case above, my gut says maybe flag it as too localized (although I've never done that and http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/2698/what-does-too-localized-mean doesn't make me totally confident about when it applies), but I imagine some other old questions won't be close to too localized.

  • $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin: Surely you've encountered this in the Crusade of Answers? Do you guys have a system for dealing with it? $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2013 at 15:27
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ "Too localized" no longer exists as a close reason. I would not worry about bumping on a site that has (current number) 475 new questions, and even more answers every day, plus edits to those questions and answers. Your answer would be an extra droplet in the downpour. If you feel like writing one, go ahead: it may be that you are the person who will benefit the most from the process. Otherwise, I agree with Nate's remark about voting down as a means of cleaning the site of obsolete, localized, unanswered questions. $\endgroup$
    – user98130
    Oct 20, 2013 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @EricStucky See my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Oct 21, 2013 at 8:11

2 Answers 2


If you want to write an answer, then don't worry about the bump. You thought it was interesting, maybe others will too.

But if you don't find the question interesting, don't feel obligated to write an answer just for the sake of having one. If it's really dull, you can downvote it, and it will descend into oblivion.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I tend to go through and fix answers for unanswered, highly-voted questions, so that they do not show on the "list of unanswered questions". Often it just takes a community wiki answer that repeats a fact that was stated in a comment. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2013 at 15:42

Naturally, those participating in the Crusade of Answers (a chatroom initiative to push back the number of Unanswered questions by drawing attention to old questions) encounter this situation quite often.

The primary consideration here is:

If you feel the question deserves an answer, and you want to write one, don't hesitate.

If the question you're answering is quite old (say, more than several months) you should feel more than welcome to notify the Crusade of Answers of your answer. The people there will generally appreciate your effort and reward it with some upvotes.

If you think the question should be answered, but can't do it yourself, you can post it to the room as well; maybe someone else there is in a position to do so.

On the other hand, if the question doesn't seem reasonably answerable to you, you can cast down- and/or close votes (the latter require 3000 reputation) -- again, it is admissible to drop a notice in the room explaining your decision. People may follow up on your call, and so shorten the Unanswered queue by one.

  • $\begingroup$ I thought the upvotes from crusaders are not to reward anyone, but only to get the question out of the "no upvoted answer" state. $\endgroup$
    – azimut
    Oct 21, 2013 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ @azimut It depends on the quality of the answer posted, as usual -- a mere iteration of some comments is different from a full-fledged and thorough answer. But at least to me, the "upvote threshold" is lowered because people took the time to answer a question that isn't likely to get a lot of attention. $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Oct 21, 2013 at 8:29

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