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Posts with a historical lock notice look almost like ordinary posts. All that distinguishes them is:

  • The absence of voting arrows, a minor detail, especially to people who are not habitual Stack Exchange users.
  • The absence of the edit or improve this question link.
  • A discrete notice under the question that indicates that “it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site”. This notice often blends in with the protection and closure notice. It's well-known that users don't read, and we're not even making it easy for them to find this important piece of information.

Historically noticed posts should be indicated far more prominently.

  • Put the lock notice at the top. That way, it won't blend in with the other notices, and it won't be lost below a potentially long question text.
  • Use the deleted question style.

This is in effect what had been proposed by Jeremy Banks in Add the alternative of "delisting" questions; deletion is usually harmful overkill) and Pekka in Show embattled deleted questions to the public as if they were 10k+ users. As things stand now, the historically noticed posts are pretty much displayed as ordinary posts; we might as well not bother.

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    Hmmm, if this gets done I'd say use a different colour (say green) as the background - to reflect the fact they are not deleted, but archived.
    – user142852
    Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 11:25
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    A faded parchment background would be cool... in particular with the historical context ;)
    – Oded
    Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 11:56
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    @Oded: why, that's such a good idea it should be applied to all old questions!
    – user1228
    Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 13:31
  • @Won't - Genius! Great minds and all that :)
    – Oded
    Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 13:38
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    We have plans for this...but the current state certainly isn't a bug. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 15:33
  • @Gilles - you can disagree with the design, sure, but that's still not a bug. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 15:47
  • @NickCraver Sure, the implementation conforms to the technical specification. The problem is that the technical specification does not conform to the concrete requirements. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 15:50
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    @Gilles - Who's requirements? Yours? That's a feature request, literally, by definition. We have larger plans for archiving questions, and won't waste time here on an interim solution...it would be totally wasted effort. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 15:53
  • @NickCraver Ok, this requirement wasn't spelled out in the blog post. But the lock notice reads “… it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site …”; I took it as a requirement that this lock notice should be visible to people with no SE experience. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 21:44

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If these posts are being kept around in part because of off-site users (which would explain why they're delisted from searches), having them displayed with the deleted color-scheme would be wrong.

I'm not saying that they shouldn't have a different color-scheme. But the deleted one is very... harsh. It's off-putting, and looks really unpleasant on the site. It also makes the text harder to read.

Remember: these off-site links could be the first that a user sees of Stack Overflow. We should try to make a good impression, even with questions that are not in keeping with the site's current best practices. It's good information (that's why we're not deleting it, after all); we shouldn't make it look like non-information. And we shouldn't suggest that all of SO looks like that.

A shiny heading would probably be the best way to go for this. A special header, possibly with a slight background shift to a off-white grey.

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  • Looking off-putting is the point. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 21:42
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    @Gilles: Your point, perhaps, but not mine. They should look different, to show that they're not the standard fare. But they shouldn't look off-putting. Remember: this may be the first view of Stack Overflow for some people. They need to see something attractive. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 21:45

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