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Can a question enter limbo when the asker moves on and just stops their activity on SE?

An owner can bounty, accept, un-accept, and exercise other owner privileges on their own question. Do these privileges simply vanish with the owner?

(If yes, the consequence is likely an inability to manage old questions)

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    Seems a very grave misunderstanding - users don't "own" posts, but release them on free license and can be freely edited/closed/deleted etc.
    – Mithoron
    Sep 25, 2019 at 22:50

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The only real "owner privilege" is acceptance (and unacceptance) of answer. Yes, that ability disappears if the question owner moves on. Nobody else has that power, and nobody else is going to be given it: see e.g. Moderators accepting answers on user's behalf after a certain time period and its many duplicates on main meta.

But that doesn't mean a question "enters limbo". Questions with no accepted answer are perfectly fine and valid contributions to the site. Sometimes even if the asker is still active they choose not to accept an answer, and there's no problem with that (partially related link, there may be an apter one).

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Yes in effect these "owner privileges" are lost if the user simply up and vanishes. But then the user might not even use these privileges in the first place anyway. Lets look at each mentioned privilege:

  • Bounty: Anyone can award a bounty on any question provided they have the privilege and the question is eligible for a bounty so this isn't a "owner privilege".

  • Accept/unaccept: This is perhaps the most important one but even then it isn't that important in the general case. In the SE system it's almost always better to look at the answer's score rather than whether or not it is accepted. Usually the answer with the best score is the best answer rather than the accepted one (not all the time of course).

    The one exception here is questions when the only person who knows the correct answer is in fact the asker. In this case we would like acceptance. However, even then the OP doesn't need to formally "accept" an answer, leaving a comment or the like is fine for us.

I'm not even sure what other "owner privileges" there are but as you can see they don't matter that much in the grand scheme of things anyway. SE's model is to help as wide an audience as possible so it doesn't necessarily matter what one user (the asker) thinks is the best answer, it matters what the majority thinks is the best answer.

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