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Can we please permanently close threads which are longer than 2 years inactive?

I'm getting sick to read old posts about ancient Debian systems, because some moderator decided it would be a good idea to correct some typos.

If someone want's to add something to an old thread, he should create a new thread and link to the old one.

Also this forum bot, which pushes ancient threads to the top, it's just wasting my time, please delete this bot!

I know this might be the wrong place to ask this question, but I don't know where to ask else. So if you know a better place, please feel free to move this question.

Thank you

EDIT:

Take that thread (question) for example:

A stop job is running for LVM

Asked 8 years, 2 months ago Modified today Viewed 4k times

I DON'T CARE!

This stupid bot has pushed this old nonsense thread to the top of the home page. For what reason? Look how many clicks this posts has got, how many valuable human life time has been wasted.

Please fix it! If you can't or don't want to fix it, delete or deactivate it!

15
  • This is wasting time. Just auto close old threads (questions), which are inactive. Also make sure that they never will push up at the home page.
    – paladin
    Jan 29 at 14:43
  • 1
    People who downvote posts for no reason...
    – paladin
    Jan 29 at 14:54
  • 2
    it actually tells in the timeline view why the bot has popped the post: "This question has answers that may be good or bad; the system has marked it active so that they can be reviewed.". It's done that, oh, maybe 20 times now. If you want to help stop it doing that, vote on the answers there.
    – ilkkachu
    Jan 29 at 14:55
  • This should stop for posts inactive for more than 2 years. In practice, it's no more point of interest. Maybe make it hidden, but don't push this nonsense to the homepage top.
    – paladin
    Jan 29 at 14:58
  • 3
    @paladin, I think saying someone downvotes "for no reason" is going a bit far. People often have their reasons, even though they don't state them (and sometimes might think that stating them won't do any good). If I were to guess, someone might downvote this post since it sounds a bit like venting frustration more than a genuine actionable post, and the all caps shouting often doesn't help in making a good impression. And then there's the thing that it doesn't really matter if any of us cares about old posts, SE isn't going to change the way things are, so we get to accept it or walk away...
    – ilkkachu
    Jan 29 at 14:59
  • 4
    And also, there's the meta custom of using up/downvotes for voicing agreement/disagreement. Not that the system really does anything to facilitate that, but it seems to be some sort of a custom. Shrug.
    – ilkkachu
    Jan 29 at 15:00
  • Oh so user experiences, which are frustating, using this platform are no concern of interest? People who downvote exactly my post because of that have no idea how to be constructive and should not downvote at all. I don't want to impress anybody. But the current system of pushing old nonsens posts to the top of the home page is just frustating. I just commented a 4 year old post. I invested at least 10 minutes of my life time to help the OP of the post, only to find at the end that this post is 4 year old and that OP has probably no more interest in it at all, as it's outdated.
    – paladin
    Jan 29 at 15:02
  • Yes I could be more careful, and always start reading the creation date of the post, but you know what? Who does that?
    – paladin
    Jan 29 at 15:03
  • "And also, there's the meta custom of using up/downvotes for voicing agreement/disagreement. Not that the system really does anything to facilitate that, but it seems to be some sort of a custom. Shrug." @ilkkachu thanks, I was not familiar about this. And as far as I know, this should not happen, as it was never designed as such. Instead usual polls should be used.
    – paladin
    Jan 29 at 15:07
  • 3
    Not a custom. That is the entire point of votes on meta sites. If people don't agree with a proposal, they downvote it. I think this would make the sites worse, not better, so I downvoted. Frankly, given the aggressive tone of your post, your saying that others "have no idea how to be constructive" is a bit rich. You're the one who came here with a rude and aggressive attitude. Don't be surprised if that isn't being well received.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 29 at 15:43
  • 1
    @GillesQuénot it's also on topic here, there is no reason to migrate. And it would be a duplicate if we did, and would also just get downvoted to oblivion. At least here, the downvotes don't affect rep.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 29 at 15:52
  • Relating unix.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4834/117549 (and others), but this Q could be a request to change something...?
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Jan 29 at 15:58
  • How would you distinguish between posts for old EOL Linux distributions and old posts about things that won't ever change, like how quoting works in bash? Would it feel productive to have to rewrite or artificially bump all the still-relevant posts?
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Jan 30 at 7:58
  • If a mod is just correcting some typos, the post should not be pushed to top of home page. If the bot find's an inactive post - inactive is a negotiable term, maybe 2 years - it should not push that post to top of home page. 2 easy fixes, which would work wonder... but hey, let's don't improve this site... I guess it's better to see 8 years old Debian posts in 2024... I guess, "never change a running system" - how about, "if it's not being fixed today, it might break tomorrow"
    – paladin
    Jan 30 at 11:20
  • PS have fun in year 2034
    – paladin
    Jan 30 at 11:26

3 Answers 3

4

Wow. That's quite a bit of attitude you've brought to the discussion. Setting that aside, while you might not want it, this is actually one of the best and most central features of the system. The whole point of these sites is to avoid duplicates, so asking the same question again is exactly what we are trying to avoid.

If you really find it so unpleasant, I fear these might not be the sites for you. What you can do, is if you see things that you know are no longer relevant (it is very likely that old questions are still relevant, especially command line things), if you know for a fact this was an issue that has been fixed on newer systems, you can vote to close as non-reproducible. However, remember that there are many legacy systems around which are still running old versions. Some of these cannot be updated, so you never know what old question might be useful.

Finally, remember that the objective of these sites is not to answer people's questions. It is to collect a useful library of questions and answers. Whether the OP has left or not is completely irrelevant. Answering old questions is actively encouraged, and everyone can still vote on them. The person who asked, the OP, is just one out of the hundreds of thousands or millions who might read a post and its answers. We don't really care if they are still around or are still interested in an answer, unless the question is very specific to their particular case. If so, then we vote to close as non-reproducible as I suggested above.

I have very, very often found old posts useful. If you don't, if you only want to see new ones, then just use the Questions page ("Questions" link in the side bar, https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions) which shows questions sorted by time of posting. The home page, https://unix.stackexchange.com, is specifically designed to show posts by recent activity, so editing will bump them. This is a feature, not a bug, but if you don't like it, just don't use the page that is specifically designed to work the way you don't like and use the page that is specifically designed to work the way you prefer.

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  • 1
    For me this (from psychological point of view) do not work. I spend few times more than hour to write the correct answer to question just to see question is >10 years old. And moreover the OP is no longer member of SE so he/she can't see the answer and (eventually) mark it as accepted. Also I did not get ANY upvote for my answers. How do you think the web site will motivate the people to answer? Maybe such questions can be marked with different colour or some sign... Jan 29 at 16:46
  • 1
    @RomeoNinov I... really disagree, personally. We don't answer for the OP, we answer for all future users. Sure, sometimes nobody votes, and yes, part of what makes answering fun is the votes, but that's not the only reason. Plus, old questions can and do get good answers that end up getting upvoted. In any case, you can see the date of the question right there, where you see the OP's name. If it really makes so much difference, just check the date.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 29 at 16:48
  • Check the date is possible, but it add effort and I prefer to concentrate on the question, not on meta info. As site developers make META sites with this odd and ugly colour they for sure can make older than year (for example) questions with some colour mark. Jan 29 at 16:52
  • @RomeoNinov but that would discourage people from answering them, so it seems counter productive. If you don't want to answer old questions, just don't use the home page and go to /Questions instead. I personally never use the home page, actually, even though I don't mind answering old questions.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 29 at 16:53
  • This (go to Questions) I do most of the time. But when I visit site via upper right menu it direct me to the main page where some question may catch my attention. You are right, it may decrease the amount of answers (in total) to old questions, but will keep (probably) the amount of good answers. Which is IMHO what SE want. SE do not want answers only, it search for good answers (this is the reason of voting system and tick to accept answer) Jan 29 at 16:57
  • Eh, I wish we could remove the tick, to be honest. I think it causes far more harm than good. All it means is that one person happened to prefer the answer, and it causes all sorts of drama with people pushing the OP to accept or complaining if another answer is accepted etc. And I don't see why it would keep the number of good answers. Frankly, I only see downsides to the idea and no benefit whatsoever, but that's my opinion. If you really feel strongly about it, you can suggest the feature, maybe others will agree.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 29 at 16:59
  • OK, let me add answer about colour schema and let see :) Jan 29 at 17:01
  • 1
    Please post a new question instead of an answer, @RomeoNinov. You are suggesting something different and more specific than what the OP here is saying ("close old posts").
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 29 at 17:02
  • Please explain to me how pushing an 8 year old post to the top of the homepage is any helpful. "If you really find it so unpleasant, I fear these might not be the sites for you.", do you really think I don't care? I'm even trying to improve this site, by showing everybody what's totally wrong at this site. If someone comes to me and says "Bro, but we're doing this all the time.", I could explain in a clever way why that doesn't matter as argument. Maybe it worked when posts were not older than 4 years, but imagine a world where posts become older than 20 years, you still wanna see these?
    – paladin
    Jan 29 at 17:10
  • @paladin I have explained. If you want to have a discussion, then come back when you are ready to be civil. I have no desire to deal with anyone who uses the tone you have been using here.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 29 at 17:17
  • @terdon, done :) unix.meta.stackexchange.com/q/7199/101265 Jan 29 at 17:18
3

Over at AskUbuntu the community has to close questions for versions that are no longer supported. I'm sure that could be implemented here. The issue is that this Exchange supports multiple distributions not just one, so is it worth a moderator's time and effort to go through all the OS tags and determine if the version is supported when we don't have version tags?

I don't think so. I came to this site 9 years and a few months ago because at that time the distribution I use was having a fight on its forums regarding whether SystemD was better or worse than init. I posted moderately there if I had an issue, but it got to the point that nearly every question and answer turned into a flame war, and I couldn't get any answers.

I frequently edit old questions (when I have time) with new code snippets or updated phrasing because a reader took the time to contribute something that actually works even on older OS'es. Using the OP's thought process, we'd have to tell users who possibly still use that old OS:

I don't feel this question is valid because your OS isn't supported

when the problem isn't the OS. Most of the time it's a configuration or package problem, and most users of any linux know whether their version is supported or not, but have no choice in the matter as to whether to upgrade or not. Granted, upgrading may or may not solve the issue, but if the OS is being used in such a way that it can't be upgraded easily, i.e a webserver, proxy, etc. where a user only has normal SSH access then that user is stuck, which makes all these old questions valid. Those users come her to this Exchange to find those answers because they realize that if they went to the OS'es support forum/site they'd always get the canned answer I quoted. We shouldn't leave those users no recourse, and by doing as the OP suggests, we would be.

1

Questions can be closed, but that will not prevent them from showing up in search results.

If you don't like the default list you can sort on "newest".

3
  • "Newest" is not often the the page of interest. But it's also not of my interest to see 5 year old posts, because some mod has fixed some typos.
    – paladin
    Jan 29 at 14:44
  • @paladin then don't? Just go to the Questions page (unix.stackexchange.com/questions) instead of the home page and you don't need to suffer so. Some of us don't share your feelings though, so you really might want to tone it down.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 29 at 15:47
  • The home page should only show posts of interests, and not some 8 year old garbage no one wants to see. Presenting this garbage at the most important page, the home page, daily, to the user base can be seen as insult too, so please excuse my tone.
    – paladin
    Jan 29 at 17:13

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