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For various reasons and in various ways, I sometimes wander around looking for old questions to close. (Think of me as the night janitor.) For example, a related question might come up in the list on the right that happens to be a duplicate of a current post that is also a duplicate. I can go to that question and vote to close it as a duplicate, but the probability that several other people will happen upon the same question, within the (I think) 1 week close vote timeout, seems to be pretty slim.

Here are a few examples that are in my queue at the moment:

A possible solution to this might be another moderator tool page would show a list of recent close votes. I sometimes try to visit the "most close votes" page before the UTC day rollover and spend my remaining close votes for the day on posts that deserve it, but posts with even 2 close votes never seem to show up on that list. A list of recent close votes whose posts are still open may be helpful.

I realise that ♦ moderator close votes are binding, so that's another possible answer. However, I don't think that the few diamond mods want to spend too much time trawling for old questions to close; this is a problem whose solution seems to involve the greatest number of eyes.

If I were to flag the post for moderator attention, it would likely get the job done quickly but removes some of the element of community input into close votes. Binding moderator closes always seem a bit heavy-handed to me, especially after just a couple of regular close votes.

I suppose some people might not consider this a problem at all, but I would suggest that without regular cleanup, the same questions will continue to be asked over and over in the long run, which dilutes the question pool and makes searching less focused (for example, I was a bit surprised to see the power-of-2 question appear again). Also note that I am advocating closing, not necessarily deleting in all cases, because there is value in differently-worded posts being pointers to a canonical answer.

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Couldn't you flag for a mod to help close? – random Oct 23 '09 at 7:12
why wouldn't you close the new one as the duplicate and point folks to the extant question, with its answers? – warren Oct 23 '09 at 7:22
@warren: yes, I vote to close new questions as the duplicate. I don't mean to close the old question and point to the new one, that would be silly. – Greg Hewgill Oct 23 '09 at 7:45
@random: I could, I'll add that above. – Greg Hewgill Oct 23 '09 at 7:47
What? There's a 1 week close vote timeout? Gah! – Alex Angas Oct 23 '09 at 12:13
@Al - Yes, that is to keep ever-so-microscopically offensive questions from being closed if they accrue one random vote every few months. – Robert Cartaino Oct 23 '09 at 16:09
@Robert: Thanks, didn't know about it. – Alex Angas Oct 23 '09 at 16:13
Can we vote to close this one? It's no longer relevant, since all the questions he talks about are closed. :-D – George Stocker Oct 23 '09 at 16:20
see also… – Ian Ringrose May 18 '11 at 13:53

How about not making it a moderator tool, but making it a 10K+ user tool? There could be a special section for "old posts receiving recent close votes". Now personally I don't look in the 10K tools page much, but I might start doing so for "pseudo-moderator" duty if that was deemed a useful thing to do...

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That's where I was suggesting to put it, since I'm not a diamond moderator either. – Greg Hewgill Oct 23 '09 at 7:46
Seems reasonable to me. I'm not up to 10k yet, but I'm on my way and hope to be someday. – Gabriel Hurley Oct 23 '09 at 8:08
Why 10K+ only, I think 3K+ should get this list. – Ian Ringrose Oct 23 '09 at 9:57
Possibly. I arbitrarily picked 10K as 10K users already have a page of such tools, and it would be easy to add. – Jon Skeet Oct 23 '09 at 13:32
Yeah, if you have the "ability to close" it makes sense to have access to this list, too. Except, then they would have to add the 10K-type link to the 3K users' UI. – Robert Cartaino Oct 23 '09 at 16:11
@Robert Would be nice to apply that same logic to the suggested edit queue, too. – razlebe Mar 3 '12 at 16:28

As a 3K+ Stackoverflow user I should be happy if the system shown me a list of 2 or 3 questions it wished me to look at and vote to [close|nod close] when I logged onto the site.

This would let the work load be spread round a bit more.

E.g if a question get a close vote, show the question to 5 more random (maybe with tag matching as well) 3K+ users. If more the 1 or 2 then vote to close the question, repeat.

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I was just thinking about this in terms of the new Windows 7 release. Soon the beta versions will expire and a large body of questions will literally become "no longer relevant."

To keep Stack Overflow (and in this case, Super User) relevant and clean, it seems like there should be focused bursts of activity to remove out old posts as [CLOSED -- No Longer Relevant]. But I'm at a loss of how to accomplish this. Old questions simply do not have the traffic to "vote to close."

I'm sure this will happen periodically in other subject areas.

no longer relevant

This question was only applicable to a very narrow situation or moment in time that no longer exists, and will never exist again for anyone.

So what should be the procedure to initiate routine, janitorial work?

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I'm in general agreement - but I think Windows 7 might be a special case. There will be some issues that don't apply, but there'll be a bunch of users who upgrade that'll have some of the same issues as the early adopters. – ChrisF Oct 23 '09 at 16:11
Obviously, even mass-closing subjects have to be treated on a post-by-post basis but when technology literally expires, I'm sure there are plenty of issues that literally do not exist anymore (i.e. no longer relevant). – Robert Cartaino Oct 23 '09 at 16:17

A possible solution to this might be another moderator tool page would show a list of recent close votes. I sometimes try to visit the "most close votes" page before the UTC day rollover and spend my remaining close votes for the day on posts that deserve it, but posts with even 2 close votes never seem to show up on that list. A list of recent close votes whose posts are still open may be helpful.

I do the same thing, and agree - while it's nice to be able to finish closing posts that deserve it, if there are enough 3- and 4-vote questions that don't need to be closed (because the author or an editor took the time to fix whatever problems originally existed) then there's no easy way to get past them and see 1- and 2-vote questions that should be closed. The vote-counting system works against this as well, sorting re-opened questions at the top of the list (with 5+ votes).

IMHO, adding paging or sorting to this list would be ideal. You can sort of get the same information already from the vote velocity page, but that's really not a very good tool for this sort of thing.

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How about adding a new sort option, to sort by close votes? Or a checkbox which would only list questions with >0 close votes on them, so as to allow the other sorting methods to still be applied?

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How about just not closing posts unless it's actually important?

If you're the "night janitor", then SO is being patrolled by an army of night janitors now. It's ridiculous. Questions get closed left and right, often despite being useful, often despite having hundreds of upvotes.

Why is it so important to close close close close close close close?

Coudn't just some of us try adding content every once in a while, instead of removing it? That might also give people a bit more motivation to stay around and contribute to the site.

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You're right. I hope I can continue to add useful content to the site, that's what it's for. – Greg Hewgill Mar 3 '12 at 9:39

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