Some highly popular questions were recently un-deleted, and put into a locked mode with a banner announcing that they exist for their historical significance only.

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. More info: FAQ.

Whether you agree with this decision or not, can we all take a look at this banner, and consider improving it? As it stands, this banner sits as mere sub-text to the "locked by" box. Can we make it more prominent? This banner is extremely important: it's tasked with preventing the content in question from becoming a broken window.

Ideally I'd like to see it sit above the question title. It should announce to the world in no uncertain terms that this question is simply an artifact of history, and not regular content on Stack Overflow.


Ideally, and to make the point extra strong, perhaps we should consider altering the normal Stack Overflow color theme slightly for these questions. When someone browses to the "weirdest programming language features" question, it should be patently clear that something's different.

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  • @Michael - thanks. I saw that, and I agree with the idea. Of course that's for dealing with questions not good enough to be locked - I'm trying to prevent currently locked questions from becoming broken windows. Mar 4 '12 at 7:26
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    FWIW, the "historical significance" lock notice actually originated as a plain ol' edit with blockquoted text that sat at the very top of the question content, just beneath the title. See this revision for an example. Mar 4 '12 at 7:47
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    I don't understand what your last comment means. "Questions not good enough to be locked?" Pekka is only talking about loved, high-vote questions that are no longer a good fit for the site. Those are the only questions we use the "historical significance" banner for. What is different about your proposal? You want to improve the banner and make it more noticeable. That's the same thing he wants to do.
    – Cody Gray
    Mar 4 '12 at 7:52
  • @Cody - I may be mis-reading Pekka, but it seems to me he wants to take deleted questions, and have them show up for all people in the grayed out format, instead of just 10K users like you and me. I want to take non-deleted, locked questions, and improve the historical significance banner. But I could be wrong. Mar 4 '12 at 7:57
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    @Cody, but even if you are right, I still like this approach better. I think it'd be much more straightforward to just honestly tell visitors "Hey, this question is an historic artifact, not representative content" in big letters, rather than having it show up grayed out in "deleted" format. But that's just my opinion. Mar 4 '12 at 8:00
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    My vision (perhaps this is not what he is suggesting) is that we show the historical significance banner and we alter the post visually in order to make it apparent that it is a different sort of content from the rest of the site. I don't think anyone can miss that. And I think it should apply to all of the historically significant questions that the deletion mafia wants to remove from the site, but everyone else rational wants to preserve. The argument is simply that people are using these old, now-off-topic questions to justify asking new off-topic questions.
    – Cody Gray
    Mar 4 '12 at 8:02
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    That doesn't mean they need to be deleted, it just means that the message needs to be made more clear. At least sufficiently clear that we can easily dismiss their Meta questions by telling them to read the message that appears prominently on their example question. I don't really think this needs to be made as complicated as everyone is making it. I'm not saying I disagree with your proposal, I guess what I'm saying is that we need to combine forces into one mega-super-awesome proposal that accumulates all of the upvotes and support, and simply can't be ignored or rejected by anyone rational.
    – Cody Gray
    Mar 4 '12 at 8:04
  • @Cody - I agree with all that, and visually altering the background slightly (though not the dreary deleted gray) is a great idea. (I loved your rant about not changing built-in windows design settings, btw) Mar 4 '12 at 8:05
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    Moving the banner up above the body of the post, giving it a red-gray background, and bolding the text "so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here" would be a big improvement. (Making it blinking marquee is probably out of the question, unfortunately.) Mar 4 '12 at 13:39
  • my preferred way to present historical significance questions would be Stack Printer style. Wouldn't need no stinkin' banners to tell the reader that they look at something special
    – gnat
    Mar 4 '12 at 13:55
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    @Bill - how does this look?? adamrackis.com/StackOverflowPrototype Mar 4 '12 at 16:02
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    @AdamRackis That's so awful that my mind blanked it out as an advertisement at first. :) Mar 4 '12 at 16:34
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    @Bill - hehe xkcd.com/570 Mar 4 '12 at 16:39

Indeed, it's way too suble, as evidenced by yet another attempt to use a locked question as justification for posting another off-topic question. That thing needs to be up top where people will notice it.


Also, maybe the FAQ link should go straight to the https://stackoverflow.com/faq#dontask section?

  • That looks great. Maybe even better than my version Aug 15 '12 at 19:38
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    – Brad Mace
    Aug 15 '12 at 19:40

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