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In my limited experience with Stack Overflow, I have found it immensely helpful, the reward scheme for people to ask good questions and in turn answer said questions is the backbone to the success of the site. There is however one area I think the site lets itself down. Recently I wanted to find out a good RSS generating module for Python. I searched the web, and I searched Stack Overflow; the top web results were indeed Stack Overflow questions.

However on closer inspection the questions were as much as 5 years old! So I re-posed the question.

The question was closed as off-topic. I think Stack Overflow is doing a disservice to anyone trying to find something out by search engine or Stack Overflow by allowing old posts to remain so prominent and not permitting new questions to re-assess the situation.

I think Stack Overflow should think of putting some sort of time decay on the number of up votes these posts have, as anyone browsing Stack Overflow or the web will stumble across potentially outdated information before they discover a more current and relevant source of information.

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This blog post will give you background to why this is. – Oded Jun 9 '13 at 19:50
Rephrased cmt: Old questions may get (re)affirmed by time-slot votes by rasing an old "question-timeslot" (1 slot = 1 yr) according to (high) hit rates. Reraise voting for best answer at N hits (compared to number of hits the intructuction year or successive years) Now stay in the current "answer status" of the last reputation if (re)votes on this year's reraised "question time slot" gets at least so many annual (re-)confirmation votes (perhaps x % of the initial year's votes). – RIL Jun 9 '13 at 23:29
@RIL that sounds complicated... maybe suggest as a separate question? – hayd Jun 9 '13 at 23:37
Well, these old "Let's go shopping" questions are kept available in the site as they are somewhat helpful for the googlers and starters, but as you can see those tend to have 10's of answers with hardly a definite one which is most often too localized in a given time period and opinion-based. So in that case, we tend to close those so that there is a heading explaining that said questions no longer belong in the site's scope, while keeping their historic value. If you find one of those, flag it (or when you reach 3k rep, vote to close). – Fabrício Matté Jun 10 '13 at 0:20
why are you making tiny edits to this post? Adding a space at the end, changing a semicolon to a comma - are you just trying to bump it? – Kate Gregory Jun 11 '13 at 12:33
@Kate Gregory This method does work as a bump right? I wanted to bump it for different timezones to spot and interact with the post, when I post at 2 am GMT, all the USA people see it, bumping at different times of the day would expose it to more (relatively new to the site let me know if there is a better way) – AEA Jun 11 '13 at 13:30
It does work as a bump, but you really shouldn't be doing it. Our cultural norm is that edits should be genuine and not simply to gain a bump. People who care will read down the list or will read the tags they care about. Bumping for bumping's sake confuses people who think maybe you have clarified the question or added something. It's an irritant when it turns out you haven't. – Kate Gregory Jun 11 '13 at 15:20
Ah apologies, I shall not continue to do this, many thanks for the clarification! – AEA Jun 11 '13 at 16:04
"I shall not continue to do this" O RLY? – Cody Gray Jul 30 '13 at 6:54

I voted to delete the old question*, you're right it doesn't really make sense it appearing in Google.

There are a lot of old off-topic questions lying around in the site, but there is very active moderation effort by the community to clean up. There's over 50k questions in the queue being considered for closing and many are subsequently deleted (either manually or automatically).

It's worth mentioning that a few off-topic questions are purposefully kept for historic reasons.

*Update: it's now been removed from the site (thankyou for helping improve Stack Overflow).

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Would it help to let revoting modify a "last (re)voted date" according to a set of rules as in my former comment above:… – RIL Jun 9 '13 at 23:32

Your question,, is closed, but that doesn't need to be the end of the story. If you edit the question so that it is a better fit for the site, it may be re-opened. Being closed now prevents irrelevant answers from being added in the meantime.

On the matter of highly upvoted old questions with bad information, if you know for sure the information is bad (as opposed to just suspecting that it is because of its age), you can downvote and leave comments, add your own newer answer, and in general contribute up to date and correct information that will, over time, take the place of the outdated answers.

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sample rewordings removed – Kate Gregory Jun 10 '13 at 2:14

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