Yesterday and today I saw, in the review queue, flags for rather old questions: yesterday the question was posted 5 months ago, today the question was posted 2 years and 7 months ago.

I see no point in closing or putting on hold such old questions. I mean, the fact that in 2 years nobody had objection to that question makes me suspect it is just some sort of "badge rush". Or is there something I am missing?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sometimes old questions are answered/edited by someone and because it's active a lot of people see the question for the first time. If you don't explicitly look at the date you might end up flagging something that is really old. And just because something was on-topic doesn't mean it would be on-topic now. Bad, old questions might potentially attract a lot of bad answers when reactivated, then it might be better to flag and close it. But of course flagging old stuff that was inactive for a long time and not especially bad should be avoided. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Should we close old questions? $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Why has my 7 year old question suddenly been made off topic? $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 22:46

2 Answers 2


Our definition of what is an acceptable answer or question has evolved over time. We should strive for consistency across the site. We often suggest to new users to take a look around the site to see what makes a good question. If we don't close questions that no longer meet community standards, there will be a lot of hidden gotchas for new users.

Similarly we wouldn't want new answers to old questions that are no longer considered appropriate. The 10 rep protection should help with that a bit but that is an incredibly low barrier.

We shouldn't go out of our way to search for problematic old questions, but when they become active, or become referenced in a policy discussion, they should be closed to prevent confusion.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Yes, age should not be a factor in deciding whether to close something, only content. Old questions resurface periodically and we've seen questions here on meta from people asking "why was this close when that other one is open?" -- the answer often being "nobody noticed that other one". $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 14:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What @MonicaCellio said. About the only time I tend to look closely at the dates in the review queues in particular is in the proposed edits queue; where I tend to judge an edit on an old post slightly more harshly than a similar edit on a fresh post, simply because of the edit bumping the question to the top of the front page. It's simply not worth bumping the question all the way to the top if it's a trivial edit that doesn't really improve the post, but if it is a substantial edit that remains in line with the author's intent, then it might very well be reasonable even on an old post. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:18

On Stack Overflow this was actually a pretty big deal. Very early on, while the Stack Exchange model was still developing, things were pretty wide open. The community was smaller and the occasional joke or mildly off topic question was tolerated because while the site was small the problem was small.

Then the site grew...

What was once the occasional errant post became a daily annoyance, so things changed incrementally to prevent some of the flood of annoying nonsense.

Later down the line, there was a flood of noise on Meta.
"Why can't I post X, high rep user Y posted it and got 100 upvotes, this is obviously discrimination against new users!"

Obviously this was also annoying. The old, highly upvoted question didn't fit the current site standards, and it didn't have anything to do with the rep of the user posting it, but there was also the perception problem to deal with.

Eventually the Historical Lock was developed to handle some of these questions. While some were just flatly closed and or deleted, the questions that the community was particularly attached to could be preserved with a disclaimer:

locked by Moderator♦ Mar 16 at 20:01

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed. More info: FAQ.

Long story short...

This is a normal developmental​ stage for a Stack Exchange site. As we develop what is and isn't a good fit we'll occasionally need to go back and close or lock some of our earlier posts. But don't worry, it's a good thing in the long run.

For more info see:
What is a historical lock, and what is it used for?

Should I vote to close old questions?



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