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6:58 PM
Q: Do not lock old questions

GillesSo I was doing a bit of cleanup on Stack Overflow. Going through the polls tag and voting to delete the worst offenders, the ones that asked for “one item per answer”, and got it, and ended up with a jumble of information that's completely unexploitable. The thing is, many of these questions are...

room topic changed to Historical locks harmfully frame garbage: Extended discussion for… [locked-questions]
Even the poll questions that are yet to be closed/deleted could do with shifting that content into the tag wikis. That's nothing but a list of things, like most, if not all of the questions currently locked under historical significance
7:17 PM
I've only flagged totally-unredeemable stuff, like Strangest language feature
Debating on whether to / how to answer that question... I've pretty much stated my opinion on the many previous discussions on MSO already
"Strangest language feature" is just all sorts of polls into one melting pot
I left things like List of freely available programming books alone, because someone has gone through the effort of organizing (some) of this information, so there is useful content
Boils down to this: for edge-case stuff, different people have very different opinions on where the line is between "useful exception" and "irredeemable noise".
"Too many answers" is the same as the "Historical significance" lock reason. Only difference being in how many more months it's been around
7:20 PM
@Gilles Case in point - I hate that thread. I do not see that it has any value, no matter how carefully curated.
@Shog9 freely available programming books is an edge case. I wouldn't shed a tear if it went, but I don't mind if it stays up (I expect @random disagrees on that).
Strangest language feature is complete and utter crap
If I want a good book on Forth, I'm not going to crack open some gigantic combo pack of freely available books - I'll probably go fishing on Amazon, but if I ask on SO it'll be targeted specifically at books on Forth.
At 9 pages, the list of fee programming books, if pared out into the tag wikis for the relevant languages, would probably drop back down to 2 pages
And then maybe you could shift that remaining list into whatever relevant tag exists on Programmers. Reading books, as a programmer
Question: Do you believe the relative merit or value of the answers posted to these questions has any bearing on whether or not the questions should be deleted?
Most of the time those answers were just looking for something to hang on. That the question came around is only reason for it not being blogged or put into a forum. If they're good, they would be applicable as side notes to actual answers as an addendum or a gotcha example
7:25 PM
@RobertHarvey I did take answers into account when flagging
My criterion was: look at the first few answers (by upvote) in addition to the question.
which is what 99.9% of visitors will do.
If there was nothing useful in there, flag.
Otherwise, don't flag. Which doesn't mean “this should stay”, just that it is not an eyesore that warrants immediate deletion.
@Gilles 1008 community users disagree with you. They say "A++ Awesome! Would buy again!"
A: List of freely available programming books

RedWolvesThis link was listed on Digg.

You have to really dig into that list of free books against all the cruft like that
@random Deleted.
Hmm, one-boxed answers have the links converted to plain-text.
If the problem is crufty answers, flag those and we'll dispatch them in due course.
7:35 PM
I feel like this is loosely related to the discussion on the podcast the past week
I don't like seeing this content on SO, particularly not as the Top Questions on the site
@JeremyBanks Too bad there's no podcast transcript :-/
There was discussion of archiving internet content, and how much stuff is deleted forever.
certainly these posts are still in the old dumps, so I know that's not the case here
7:38 PM
but it's not really the same as being available online directly
Didn't someone make a website that preserved/displayed deleted posts? Maybe I should just be happy with that and stop letting it being removed from the original source bother me so much.
Yeah, but then the links will not work. We would need some readonly "historic pearls of Stack Overflow" site, where those questions (and answers) can get shown, and the current URLs on SO would be redirected.
That's true
Breaking links is bad.
The linkrot issue is an important one, particularly for the historical reasons questions. Deleting says "this should've never existed in the first place", providing a justification for introducing link rot: you should not have linked to it because doing so made the internet worse
7:41 PM
The internet is better off by having all those links broken, etc.
There is a difference between "should be nowhere on the Internet", and "is not a good fit for Stack Exchange".
And I think at least some of the locked questions we are discussing now are just in this gap.
@PaŭloEbermann absolutely. If there was a button for “move this out of SO and onto reddit”, I'd press that instead of asking for deletion.
@PaŭloEbermann Right, but that's not what's at stake here. Is the internet better off by having those things on Stack Overflow? Do they attract the right people to a site that's supposed to be generating high quality questions and answers? It's not just the content of the question, but where the question is. I'm sure it's a great fit for "Lists R Us", and the internet would be better off for having such a place.
7:47 PM
:768567 fine. If someone wants to implement a reposted, they have my moral support. And if they want me to tell them before I vote/flag to delete a popular question, I'll do it.
@PaŭloEbermann I'd also be in favor of having “migrate to reddit”, and leaving a stub on SO
But this is not by far the most urgent feature that I want SE devs to work on
@Gilles Yeah, even more as it only applies to a relatively small (yet prominent) part of the questions.
@Gilles More generally, the ability to leave a stub/message for deleted posts could be useful for this and other purposes.
Good point. This also should give a 410 instead of 404 (as long as there is no redirect somewhere else).
8:47 PM
Since Tim deleted his, here's a long-ass answer to keep things lively...
A: Do not lock old questions

Shog9That pony moved. I saw it. Quick! Give it another whack... This is an old, old argument... A quick glance at the comments and revision histories of most of these questions will tell you that there was never a time when they were universally accepted as "appropriate" for the site. The fact that s...

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