I have a client I did a fixed-price contract for. After I delivered my work and was paid I expected the client to close the job. Which didn't happen. I asked them whether they wanted to keep it alive for future work. No response.
I am still rather new to oDesk and I am still building my profile. So feedback is greatly appreciated. I don't necessarily want a dormant fixed-price contract with a non-responsive client.
Please, don't advise me to wait for at least 5-10 weeks before ending the contract. I am not sure I want to work with that client again. There has to be another way than me being terrified of ending a contract - although I fulfilled it. And the client was happy also.
I have let these kind of ones build up over the years and it becomes more of a problem if you let it go, so it is better dealt with early on. I'll tell you what I do. Some say you shouldn't close contracts yourself as it affects the dark scores ... but no one can be sure about that - all I know is I haven't been affected yet.
So, I have a list of old dormant contracts. Every now and then I message one of them asking if they're still around, and would they mind closing up and giving mutual feedback? and that it doesn't mean they're not welcome to seek me out again if they need my sevices.
I state clearly and concisely that if I haven't heard from them in two weeks, I'll assume they've left the site and I'll close the contract myself. This bit is important for the future as a "papertrail" showing that you tried to contact the client.
Next ... I don't want to have my job history cluttered with empty jobs with no feedback. So, every time I have five good (5*) completed jobs, I go to the list, check which old one has reached the "due" date, and delete one contract. This way if they're not replied to they're scattered through the other jobs and don't stick out like a sore thumb.
The problem with this method is that it's painfully slow - and for all the new clients and jobs you finish there may be another load that you have to keep chasing to close up - so it's an uphill struggle. Having said that, I've brought down my open jobs from 22 to 15 - and my dark score hasn't been affected.
Please note this is only my own experience but it's (slowly but surely) working for me. I still wish oDesk could bring in some sort of amnesty on old dormant contracts though, but I won't hold my breath...