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I see that there are some old highly voted questions that, to a very critical eye, would not be considered appropriate according to the current rules for good questions.

This question for example asks

What's the best framework for creating mock objects in Java? Why? What are the pros and cons of each framework?

What is the best seems subjective. Asking for a list with pros and cons seems open ended. Would this question be considered appropriate if it were asked today rather than 3 years ago?

Should such questions be closed? If so, I think they should have a banner at the top that explains that, although the question was once considered appropriate, it should not be emulated. Perhaps such questions should be set to a vot of -1, so better questions are pushed up the lists by viotes? Although that should be done in a manner that does no peanlize the reputation of the poster. This would presumably need a change to the interface used by the moderators.

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Duplicate: Old “best book/resource” questions – slugster Sep 30 '11 at 11:35
@slugster That's a discussion about what to do about this type of question. This is a feature request for a banner at the top that explains that, although the question was once considered appropriate, it should not be emulated – agf Sep 30 '11 at 11:38

That already exists, as a "locked" message from moderators.

For example, What is the single most influential book every programmer should read?:

locked by Robert Harvey♦ Sep 26 at 15:39

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. More info: FAQ

Once the question is closed, flag it for moderator attention and suggest they lock the question with that message. Since you don't have enough rep to vote to close yet, you could use a single flag to suggest it be closed and suggest it be locked.

Perhaps the locked message should appear above the question, instead of below it, to make it more obvious and separate it from closed and protected messages?

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"Perhaps the locked message should appear above the question" Yes. – Raedwald Sep 30 '11 at 11:49
I don't see very many locked questions, however, suggesting that the feature is not being used much. Also, note the massive vote for the example question you provide. Should it really appear high in question listings? – Raedwald Sep 30 '11 at 11:51
@Raedwald I don't think there is anything you can do to make the "votes" sort useful -- the "long tail" of highly voted questions simply doesn't correlate with question quality as it's defined by SO. I also agree more questions should be locked -- anything like the one you mention, or any of these:…, rather than just closing or deleting. – agf Sep 30 '11 at 11:55
@agf wouldn't that be short head not long tail? – Andrew Grimm Sep 30 '11 at 12:17
@AndrewGrimm No, it's a long tail. There are a few questions spread out over a large range of scores, and the vast majority of questions are bunched together. Less than 0.05% of questions take up the range from 100-2500 votes, the other 99.95 are grouped between -49 and 100 votes. – agf Sep 30 '11 at 12:19
@Raedwald The feature itself is relatively new. I think it dates back to last week. Prior to that, moderators used to add notices to questions manually. – Adam Sep 30 '11 at 13:29
I've flagged a few culprits. Now let's see if it works. – Raedwald Sep 30 '11 at 15:30
@Raedwald definitely post here with what happens to those flags & questions. – agf Sep 30 '11 at 15:32
The 4 questions I flagged were closed. – Raedwald Oct 3 '11 at 10:48

agf's answer goes into the mechanics of the existing feature, but it should be noted that locking is the nuclear option: used when an obviously bad question keeps getting reopened because it never gets enough votes to be deleted, edit wars ensue, or any number of disruptions to the community. This is why you don't see it often, and the "historical reasons" lock notice (either auto-generated or done manually) is only on the most popular of popular questions.

In most cases, a question that's bad for the site now should be closed and eventually deleted. If it doesn't belong here, keeping it around just so you can tell people it doesn't belong here is counterproductive and merely pushes the problem down the road. Locking a question for historical reasons is a stopgap to prevent any anticipated disruption that would ensue for deleting the question outright, and most of the time it's just not necessary.

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I don't agree. I actually think that the site benefits the most from questions like this being grandfathered in from deletion; however as we don't want people to participate in questions like that any more locking is appropriate, and the locked message should be adequate, especially if it were made more prominent like I suggest at the end of my answer. – agf Oct 1 '11 at 17:41

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