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There has been a trend lately of old meta posts brought up to the front page because of retagging or other minor edits. While this happens all the time on the main site and is OK and encouraged in mild doses, the situation in meta is somewhat different. Meta is very slow compared to the main site, by a factor of about 50. (It takes ~7 hours for an inactive post to slide down the main but ~2 weeks in meta.) I would therefore like to bring this up here. If we're OK with this, then we're OK, but if we're not then we need a policy to stick to.

The problem is that bringing an old post to the front page gives the impression that the discussion is still active, and this can be very confusing. Old support posts like this one become meaningless when a tide of changes completely washes over the issue. Old policy discussions (which I won't link to) do not gain anything from the extra attention, and we have seen this have tragic consequences for certain questions.

Mostly, though, I think there's no real reason to be fiddling with the tags on old discussions. They are in the archive and can be found easily enough. They often discuss quite topical issues for the specific time they were asked in and now have only historical value. (A lot of it in some cases.) They do not belong on the front page.

Let me take a stance, then, so people can up/down-vote. Please keep edits of old meta posts to a minimum. Use retag edits on them only when they would be impossible to find otherwise. If you feel a certain discussion should be revived, then give an alternative answer, or better yet ask a new question that's appropriate for the site's current conditions. If you don't have anything to add to such a thread, then maybe it's in the cold archives for a reason.

Some tags deserve special attention. The meta tags , and can only be applied by moderators. If you feel a question needs one of these tags and doesn't have it, flag a moderator and tell them that, instead of inventing new tags for it.

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  • $\begingroup$ It can be difficult to decide whether to start a new question or add to an existing one. The system flashes the titles of old questions while you're typing a new one, which works as an incentive to add to one of them. And someone might criticize you for starting a new question instead of "keeping everything in one place" by staying with an old question. $\endgroup$ – Eugene Seidel Sep 15 '13 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I know (and I saw your new answer). The point is that dredging old threads back up without having anything to add to them is hardly constructive. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 15 '13 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Eugene You're only supposed to check those old questions to see whether one of them answers what you want to know. But if you want to ask something that isn't covered by an existing question in its current form, you should definitely make a new question, don't edit an old one to add your issue into it. Nobody should be criticizing you for not keeping everything in one place, just make it clear why old questions don't address your issue. (That's the general rule, not just for meta). $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 15 '13 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ As I'm sure you are aware, one of your fellow moderators has in the meantime deleted my posting. His message to me appears to indicate that it is not welcome as a question, either. Is that something that you and the other moderators agree with? $\endgroup$ – Eugene Seidel Sep 15 '13 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Eugene no; if another moderator deleted the post, there's no reason I would be aware of it. As a matter of fact I can't find the post you're talking about at all. If you think something shouldn't have been deleted, you can post a question on meta to ask about it. Include a link if you can. (For best results, phrase it as "Why was this deleted?" rather than "This was wrongly deleted, please restore it." In the former case, if the discussion shows that the deletion was inappropriate, we will of course fix it.) $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 15 '13 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ @David that wasn't my question. I am not contesting the deletion or asking why it was deleted. Rather, I am asking whether I could expect my (identical) posting to be again deleted if I posted it as a question instead of an answer this time. (You can view my deleted posting by clicking here). $\endgroup$ – Eugene Seidel Sep 15 '13 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Eugene It was deleted because it didn't answer the question it was posted as an answer to. That does not indicate anything about what would happen to it if you were to post it as a separate question. In this case, it probably wouldn't be deleted, but it would be status-declined for reasons including that we do not have the technical ability to make that happen. $\endgroup$ – David Z Sep 15 '13 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ Fine, I'll stop, ok? And this may be tagged as status-completed : ) $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Sep 17 '13 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ @DImension10AbhimanyuPS This question is precisely the sort of thing that adds no value to the post and simply adds distracting clutter to the meta front page. Please stop. I think the consensus on this is pretty clear. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 18 '13 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty: Uh, that's a retag. $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Sep 19 '13 at 2:00
  • $\begingroup$ @DImension10AbhimanyuPS Yes, precisely. It's a retag of an old support question which was successfully resolved a year ago. The question is completely contingent on the OP's very particular circumstances and hardly understandable now (without digging through a year of activity to find a single post). There is really very, very little that a future visitor might gain from it - and there is only that much to be gained by re-filing it with the proper tags. (And even when retagging, the correct action would have been to flag for a status-completed tag.) This type of retag adds no value. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 19 '13 at 2:25
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I agree completely and am annoyed by it as well... Answering old questions is fine, expanding old questions is fine, retagging or minor (ie. doesn't add substantially to it but still bumps it to the front page) no so much.

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