This question on ethnic identity and space colonisation popped up as a suggested similar question when I was writing up a new question. It's a couple of years and change old, it has relatively low views but three reasonably solid answers (that are applicable to other similar scenarios/questions concerning continuity of culture) and a smattering of votes. Importantly to this discussion I feel that, while the question is well written, if was being asked for the first time today it would be put on hold as Primarily Opinion Based fast. I don't want to see the question deleted, the answers are good and have wide applicability to situations where authors want to create long term cultural continuity. I was going to flag it for a Historically Significant Question close but realised I don't know how that's done or if we even have a set process for it. So two questions:

How are questions nominated for this special "close but keep" status?

Is this particular actually a good candidate?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Maybe I am overlooking something, but why would the question be deleted? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Nov 19, 2018 at 13:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch Because closed questions seem to suffer that fate when they're not widely viewed or voted. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Nov 19, 2018 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ A quick check among my own questions still show a +2/-3 closed question, almost 2 years old. But, again, there might be something I am overlooking. I leave the word to others. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Nov 19, 2018 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I may have the wrong impression in which case it's less of an issue but I'm also not sure if a "normal" close on a question that old is appropriate. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Nov 19, 2018 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ About the appropriateness, check worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/q/5031/30492 $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch Mod
    Nov 19, 2018 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch Thanks, based on that I think this is a close-vote situation, the question raised good material but not to that extent. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Nov 19, 2018 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ I may be missing something: but what makes this query "historically significant" and thus deserving of some kind of special status? And why the flurry of Mod activity? $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Nov 22, 2018 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


As Frostfyre pointed out, the question isn't currently at risk of being deleted. The system won't automatically delete it, and at this point, manual deletion by a mod is probably the only thing that would get rid of it. The only thing that could happen to it is that it could get closed by the community, which honestly wouldn't be a terrible thing. Many old questions that are deemed out of scope at some future time are closed, and that's okay. Honestly, I don't think that would happen to this one, because I can't see a strong argument for doing so.

A historical lock can only be applied or removed manually, by a moderator. It just takes four clicks through a menu. If you think a post should be locked in this manner, you could raise a mod flag, but asking a question on meta might be better. I think that a historical lock to some extent implies that the community as a whole deems that the question is one of a select few that deserves this status, and that probably should lead to a quick meta discussion.

That said, I think a historical lock would be inappropriate, because this sort of case isn't what they're for. Historical locks are reserved for truly significant questions that clearly no longer meet the site's standards. In particular:

Questions can be historically locked when:

  1. The post does not meet the current guidelines for a good, on-topic question, and
  2. The post is stellar, in spite of its off-topic nature, and
  3. There are a large number of views, upvotes and inbound links on the post, and
  4. The post is contentious; e.g., it has been closed and reopened at least once, or deleted and undeleted at least once.

The question here has never been closed, and I honestly think it doesn't meet any of those four criteria, let alone all of them. The question has now been closed (partly via a mod hammer), and currently has three reopen votes, so it's arguable contentious to some degree, but it still fails to meet the other three requirements for historical locking. Therefore, I'll argue that the question shouldn't be locked (note that it has now been unlocked, after it was initially locked).

  • $\begingroup$ "The question here has never been closed" - No longer true. Plus, it's on its way and probably will meet point 4. soon. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Nov 20, 2018 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Mołot Thanks for the update. I've edited. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Nov 20, 2018 at 19:44

The question you are concerned about is not eligible for automatic deletion, as laid out on Meta, because it has an upvoted and accepted answer.

As to the close-worthiness of the question: I don't see it as primarily opinion-based and would vote to leave it open were it to find its way into the queue for that reason. Asking for a method of division that doesn't make it impossible to maintain contact between groups seems to me to be sufficiently limiting for answers.

That being said, the accepted answer lays out a few options, some of which would suggest a too story-based close reason. But, judging a question based on its answers is poor form. With L. Dutch's lock in place, I see no further action need be taken.


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