It seems now that questions that are "locked for historical significance" have a much different meaning and treatment from questions that are locked temporarily, because of content disputes or off-topic comments, or because the question was merged with another one. This is especially since vote arrows are removed in questions "locked for historical significance", such questions are removed from many question lists on Stack Overflow (but not deleted), and other changes are being proposed to make them stand out from other locked questions.

Therefore, I ask this question: Would it make sense to use a different word, such as "archived", for questions "locked for historical significance"? I propose this word as a more succinct way to refer to such questions than the current terms.

  • 2
    Having archives hints at the need to have a curator - I wonder if that could be a new community job, curating archived questions :)
    – Oded
    Mar 28, 2012 at 13:38
  • I think museum could be an appropriate term for locked "historical significance" questions
    – gnat
    Apr 3, 2012 at 7:28

1 Answer 1


IMO, "archived" implies that this is a somewhat permanent store of this information.

Granted, archives can be purged, so the implication of permanence is not absolute, but I believe it's a fairly common perception.

The historical lock is there because these questions have value to the users and the Internet as a whole; while they are no longer a good fit for Stack Overflow, they are important in general and should be preserved.

But they're still not good candidates for Stack Overflow.

I don't believe that it's there to indicate that it's the final resting place of these questions; it's been kicked around that these questions should be archived off-site. Whether or not that comes to fruition remains to be seen, but it's in no way unfeasible.

If/when the day that we have a real archive for these questions that is separate, but linked to the Stack Exchange sites proper (maybe another "dimension" as Jeff would call it, like meta and chat), then it would be appropriate to call that an archive.

We don't want to cross-contaminate the site with good content that is suitable for the site, and content that isn't suitable to the site, but still of value to people and the Internet as a whole.

With all of that in mind, I believe using the term "archive" would be a bad idea, because the "historical significance" lock is meant to be used very sparingly and implies that the content belongs here, when it clearly states in the lock reason that it doesn't.

The other lock reasons, do not indicate that the content should not be here, but rather, the content (or the management of that content) is having adverse effects.

  • I agree with your meaning of "archived". What I believe is the lock on questions with "historical significance" is more "permanent" than, say, questions locked for content disputes. (Here, permanent and temporary are only relative terms for duration; permanent here doesn't mean everlasting.)
    – Peter O.
    Mar 28, 2012 at 14:13
  • @PeterO. Updated to directly address historical significance vs content dispute, etc.
    – casperOne
    Mar 28, 2012 at 14:18
  • 'another "dimension"..., like meta and chat' - to me this would make perfect sense
    – gnat
    Mar 29, 2012 at 6:44

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