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I believe some old questions would be quickly closed if asked today (e.g., What is sound and how is it produced? in my opinion is too broad and shows too little prior research effort).

What should we do?

  • always leave them alone, 5+ years is history;
  • consider voting to close, but only if there aren't very good answers "rescuing" it;
  • not take the question's age into account at all when casting votes;
  • ?

Of course, voting is a judgment call, my question is how (and whether) to take the post age into consideration.

The answer and discussion in the question Enforcing new policies to old questions/answers shows we don't shy away from disturbing archaeological questions in case of a policy change, but I'm not convinced the situations are equivalent.

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I don't think questions should be considered ineligible for closing because of their age. People do sometimes use those questions as examples to help them learn what is appropriate for the site and what isn't, and in that sense it's strictly better to have questions closed or not closed according to the site's current standards than the alternative.

That being said, old close-worthy questions aren't exactly a priority for closing because they aren't getting viewed very often.

My recommendation is that if you see an old question that looks deserving of closure, post about it in the chat room. If you find several other people in agreement who can all cast close votes, you can all cast your votes and make sure the question actually does get closed. If you don't get a response, you can still vote to close as you see fit, but there's a higher risk your vote will age away without the question getting enough attention to actually effect the closure.

TL;DR don't take post age into account when deciding if a question deserves to be closed, but maybe take the age into account when deciding how to go about getting it closed.


FWIW I'm rather skeptical of the idea that a good answer can singlehandedly "rescue" a question which otherwise deserved to be closed, but I think that's tangential to the main point.

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  • $\begingroup$ Once a user has voted on question, he cannot vote again on it, even after their vote has aged away, right? That's why it's important to gather support for closing before casting a vote - you get only one chance to try to close a given question. $\endgroup$ – stafusa Sep 29 '17 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ @stafusa Not really. I do recall having voted to close the same old question more than once. Once the first VTC ages away, you can try again. $\endgroup$ – AccidentalFourierTransform Sep 29 '17 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, it's good know @AccidentalFourierTransform . $\endgroup$ – stafusa Sep 29 '17 at 16:24
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My philosophy when reviewing question is to not look at the date, the author or the answers. An off-topic post is off-topic regardless of when was it posted, by whom, and of the presence of very good answers. And vice-versa: and on-topic post is on-topic because of its content, not its context.

In this sense, my suggestion is: do not take the age of a post into consideration when voting to close (or to leave open). If it is off-topic today, vote to close it. The fact that it was on-topic back in the day, when policies were under construction, should be of no relevance for this decision. I believe this is what most reviewers do anyway.

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