I keep coming across ancient questions that are now completely irrelevant - for example What do these error messages mean and how to fix it?.

My first thought was "Use a newer release of Ubuntu?!" followed shortly by "Oh, this was asked in 2010..."

I've had a look, and there doesn't appear to be another suggestion, so I'd like to suggest that we add a type of "close" flag - "this question is out of date and wouldn't benefit from an answer".

I'm sure I've seen something like this somewhere, but can't immediately find it, and it's not an option now.

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'd like to suggest that we add a type of "close" flag - "this question is out of date and wouldn't benefit from an answer". […] It's not an option now.

Make it an option:


screenshot


This should place the question in the proper queue for review. If few other users support you with their votes, the question will be closed.

I wouldn't vote to close the question you mentioned though. As David said, somebody might find it useful. However I did vote to close another question and my reason was

… because (from the OP's comment) "This issue has been solved. There was some syntax error". No future visitor will benefit from the question in its current form.

The conclusion is: with enough reputation one does have means to try to close any question for any reason one can think of.

People trying to use ancient hardware and software come here for support. So just because a thread is REALLY old and seems obsolete, doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't still useful.

The problem is when the Community bot gets a question stuck in its head, and keeps bumping it over and over, especially if the question has no value. I recently saw a bumped question that looked really familiar, and it was memorable because of how useless it was. Checking the history, it turned out the bot had bumped it every month for something like 20 months.

That's a problem worth fixing. It annoys frequent visitors, steals oxygen from new posts, and deprives a more worthy old question of being bumped. The only way to remove it from the pool that the Community bot considers is to close it.

You can do that with a custom close reason. For ancient problems, most will be "no longer reproducible". It can't hurt to point out in those cases that the Community bot has lost its marbles and needs help.

Can we stop old questions being bumped?

No, as it is to get attention to old questions (that have no accepted or positively scored answers).

This is one of the duties of the Community Moderator:

Hi, I'm not really a person.

I'm a background process that helps keep this site clean!

I do things like

  • Randomly poke old unanswered questions every hour so they get some attention
  • Own community questions and answers so nobody gets unnecessary reputation from them
  • Own downvotes on spam/evil posts that get permanently deleted
  • Own suggested edits from anonymous users

In particular:

Questions with at least 30 days of no activity, at least one answer scoring zero, and no answers scoring above that. Questions that are locked or closed will not be bumped. The Community User will only bump a maximum of one question per hour.

  • I'm all for bringing old questions up, but some questions don't need an answer anymore as they are so dated... In this case I think it would be good to close the question. unless you disagree? – Attie Oct 17 at 19:33
  • No. Somebody might find it useful. – DavidPostill Oct 17 at 20:00

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