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I see a lot of questions being closed because although a question was on topic back then, it no longer is.

Isn't this a waste of time? I mean, does it actually help SU (SE) in any manner? I would suspect if anything, all it does it brings old questions, possibly based upon now software/hardware with very limited appeal, to our attention.

What about in N months when the close reasons change again? Perfectly valid questions are becoming lost to the depths of Google. Although the appeal must be lower, it doesn't mean people aren't looking for them.

Would it not be better for when a question (in a certain state, such as answered) reaches N months/years that it becomes archived and locked.

EDIT - case in question https://superuser.com/review/close/234823 (> 4 years old)

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    There are times where we need to close questions b/c other users will state "But X is open why can't I ask Y?". software-rec is one of those. – James Mertz May 27 '14 at 15:32
  • The question isn't even closed. The original question was a software recomendation, it was later determined to be a duplicate, of an already existing question on how to log traffic. At some point it was merged with another question but eventually the duplicate link was removed. I would say the question shouldn't have been touched after it was marked as a duplicate. For some reason tags were added/removed several times. Its still a duplicate, its just a duplicate, of a questin that isn't on topic ( but the answers are still correct ). – Ramhound May 27 '14 at 15:33
  • Yes, @Ramhound, I agree, but it's on a question which is 4 years old... Don't get me wrong, I'm not stating it's become irrelevant (in this case), I've not really read the question if I'm honest, it's more about it's done, dusted etc – Dave May 27 '14 at 19:44
  • @KronoS, as always, good point! – Dave May 27 '14 at 19:44
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    @DaveRook - I have not read the question either. I just looked at the revision history and it bounced back and forth between different status of not being open over the years. – Ramhound May 27 '14 at 21:38
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I see no harm in closing old off-topic questions. Closing the question just keeps anyone from posting new answers until the question is reopened. It's still visible to search engines, and all the old answers still remain.

Moreover, closing off-topic questions, regardless of age, keeps the scope of the website well-defined. It lets other users know that Super User is not a place for posting certain kinds of questions. For example, if a site search turns up a bunch of old software-rec questions, new users may form the impression that Super User is a good place to ask for software recommendations. However, if those old questions are mostly closed, then it's more likely the new users will come to understand the scope of the site.

I would understand your concern if the old questions were being deleted, but I don't think that's happening, especially for questions that are off-topic but have useful answers.

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