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When asking questions about legacy programming languages (in particular web based code) it seems that most often the majority of answers are basically "you should up date the code to a more modern language/framework". (This is one reason I have not asked more questions as my current job requires me to work almost exclusively in classic ASP, as well as I'm a complete idiot and humbled by the entire SO community and don't want to be thrashed for asking "silly" questions.)

While I understand that in some cases a valid answer is to update to a modern language/framework, there are situations where it is a requirement that the legacy code continue to be used.

Could there be some sort of short hand or a general understanding introduced so that most of the SO community, especially the major contributers who answer so many questions (which I greatly appreciate by the way) could ID these types of questions, therefore helping to ensure two things.

  1. Answers that are needed for specific legacy programming languages will be supplied as such, helping the asker out by having only relevant answers.

  2. Users looking to answer only questions about modern programming language/framework questions can know not to inject the answers so as to save themselves and the asker time.


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Don't you mean "way" in the title? – Svante Oct 20 '09 at 20:23
@Svante. Yes I did mean "way" thanks for catching that. – Nip Nov 26 '09 at 14:09
up vote 9 down vote accepted

I think this is one specific example of a more general rule:

If your question has an "obvious" answer which you can't use for some valid reason, state that in the question.

If any answer ignores that part of the question, downvote it. The possible grey area would be when an answer explains why your restriction makes the question impossible to answer, or when it suggests a way of working round your original reason for avoiding the obvious answer.

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I think you might need a two-fold approach:

  • Tag it with "legacy" or "legacy-code" so it's a bit more obvious on the main page.

  • Just put a sentence at the top of the question (and perhaps bottom as well!) stating that you can't rewrite the application at this stage. The fact that you're never going to rewrite it needn't be mentioned :)

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