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If you google rails barcode scanner with the filter to only display results from the last year, the top StackOverflow link is the post below:

How to read a barcode in a rails application with a barcode reader

A thoroughly unhelpful, closed post with one poor answer and a comment advising the user to google the solution before posting and asking for help. Ironically his useless post became the top result. I'm not an expert on page rank, but I imagine it's possible to manipulate meta tags, links, etc. to discourage search engines from pointing to low value content.

What if unhelpful, closed, extremely down-voted posts were somehow un-tagged to prevent them from appearing in common searches?

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Well a closed question could still possibly point to a solution... This is why duplicates are not deleted outright... –  Lix Feb 17 '13 at 16:53
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All posts in any state have some value- even if it's a comment explaining why the question is inappropriate for the site. I'm not suggesting anything gets deleted, just that higher-value content should ideally outrank lower-value content on SERPs. –  RSG Feb 17 '13 at 16:56
    
@Lix closed (non-dupe), unanswered posts (or posts with only downvoted answers) could be de-listed with a bit more certainty that they're useless. Still not sure I think it's a great idea though, as people might be deliberately looking and unable to find specific content, but that's probably an edge-case –  Ben Brocka Feb 17 '13 at 16:57
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I think closed questions (except for duplicates) should not be indexed at all. SE could just mark them as noindex for search engines. –  Mad Scientist Feb 17 '13 at 17:00

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I completely agree. While questions that are simply closed, but still have answers and a solution should be indexed, I think that removing silly, useless questions should be very helpful to SO. Especially considering that we're the first few results for almost every programming search, this will give people much more useful results.

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