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Recently I get a lot of 2-year or older posts in Close Votes review queue. We all saw those legacy questions which would be closed in 10 seconds and get downvotes nowadays (primarily opinion-based or too broad). While I do understand that most obvious answer is to follow the rules, I can't help but assume that rules were different before and so I wouldn't want to ban something which was not against the rules at the time it has been posted. Really, would the rules be like they are now if not for those legacy posts to support the historical value of SO?

Additionally, I assume that if a question has 50+ upvotes, it is valuable and supported by the community. Lots of questions in my favourites list wouldn't survive today, but are favourited by many people. Should such questions be protected from closure/deletion? What are the guidelines for reviewers on such questions?

My reasoning is that closing procedure is supposed to get rid of questions which are unlikely to generate helpful answers:

they are unclear, too broad, or otherwise problematic to identifying the problem in a way that can be properly addressed by answerers

But those questions already have good answers. I just don't see how closing (let alone deleting) them would improve SO. "On hold" status is completely useless in such case because the author is definitely not coming back to edit years old question and why would that even be useful? Again, the answers are already there...

Looking forward to hear your opinions.

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marked as duplicate by gnat, hims056, Lance Roberts, Tobias Kienzler, Aziz Shaikh Oct 10 '13 at 11:52

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Because closing them shows newbies that they aren't allowed anymore. Closing doesn't mean we should delete them. If they have 50 upvotes, just lock them. –  Cole Johnson Oct 9 '13 at 22:42
    
@ColeJohnson That's pretty subtle message, don't you find? –  sashkello Oct 9 '13 at 22:49
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Personally I'd say close but don't downvote, seems the fairest all round; question was asked in good faith and deserves its existing votes but should be closed so people don't (endlessly!) say "but this was allowed" –  Richard Tingle Oct 9 '13 at 22:49
    
There are numerous questions here on Meta where someone asks why their question was closed, even though another post wasn't... and that post was an older one. –  Andrew Barber Oct 10 '13 at 1:00

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Should such questions be protected from closure/deletion? What are the guidelines for reviewers on such questions?

No, go ahead and close them.

They may have been OK at the time they were posted, but they're not up to our current standards. There's no "against the rules" here, and you're not "banning" anything - you're just closing a question that is nowadays off topic or unclear or too broad or something else. The question will remain, completely visible, just closed to new activity.

Additionally, I assume that if a question has 50+ upvotes, it is valuable and supported by the community.

If a question has 50+ upvotes, that just means 50 people like it. Old questions or popular questions still get closed or locked from time to time when they're found to be not a good question, or the sort that should be closed.

Our closure system is also deliberately not beholden to votes: it doesn't matter how high- or low-scoring a question is; it has to be clear what's being asked, it has to be not too broad, and it has to be on topic. Votes won't make a carpentry question on topic on Ask Ubuntu, vague questions clear enough to answer, or programming questions with insufficient information answerable.

Suppose you find a question with 50 votes that's primarily opinion-based. You might wonder why it reached 50 votes - and that might mean it's worth pausing to see if this is really the opinion-based question it seems to be - but if it is opinion-based, who cares if or how it received 50 votes? It should be closed. Vote to close it.

I just don't see how closing (let alone deleting) them would improve SO. [Or from comments: why current standards should apply to old questions that were asked before those standards existed.]

It's for cleanup purposes. We have a set of standards for what makes a good question. Questions which don't meet our standards "diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page" - and are closed accordingly. Those standards steadily evolve, and as they do, old questions are found to no longer meet those standards.

Suppose a question from 2009 asking about programming jokes gets a new answer, then starts gathering new attention: why should it being from 2009 exempt it from closure if it is cluttering up our site now?

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my point is in the last paragraph of my post. I just don't see how is it supposed to improve SO? Rules should follow the usefulness (judged by voting system), not oppose it. –  sashkello Oct 9 '13 at 22:45
    
@sashkello It's for cleanup of old stuff that doesn't meet our current standards - that's it. And our closure system is very deliberately not beholden to votes: it doesn't matter how high- or low-scoring a question is, it has to be clear, not too broad, and on topic. Votes don't make carpentry questions on topic on Ask Ubuntu, vague questions clear enough to answer, or programming questions with insufficient information answerable. –  doppelgreener Oct 9 '13 at 22:49
    
Agreed. I however don't think that new laws should have reverse power. –  sashkello Oct 9 '13 at 22:50
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@sashkello its the broken windows philosophy, one broken window will encourage more –  Richard Tingle Oct 9 '13 at 22:51
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@sashkello They're not laws. They are our current standards of what makes a good question. Questions which don't meet our current standards are closed. The reason as quoted is the ones that don't: "diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page." More pertinently: suppose a popular question from '09 about programming jokes starts gathering new attention; why should it being old exempt it from not being up to our standards? –  doppelgreener Oct 9 '13 at 22:52
    
@JonathanHobbs OK, I see your point, preventing off-topic activity is a good reason for that. –  sashkello Oct 9 '13 at 22:54

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