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This question from 2009 is currently sitting on 8 delete votes. The question asks whether there are valid reasons not to use Boost (a C++ library), which is a subjective question, insofar as there is no "right" answer, and I realise SO is sternly against this. It's nevertheless still highly relevant to C++ programmers today, and the answers contain many useful pieces of information that ought to be weighed by any C++ programmer facing the issue.

OK, the question is subjective, but if we can't abide the smell of subjectivity on SO then could we not just migrate this valuable question and its answers to the Programmers SE site? Or preserve it some other way? Highly upvoted questions and answers that are later deemed "outside the rules" obviously still have some kind of value, and we shouldn't just let them disappear without a trace. If there is already some system in place for doing this that I'm not aware of, I'd be very relieved to hear about it.

In particular, Steve Jessop's answer to asyncwait's question is (as is so often the case) a masterpiece of sensible, balanced reasoning that expands one's perspective. With 192 upvotes, I'm not the only person who found what he had to say enlightening. If this kind of curated, relevant programming expertise is just going to be unceremoniously jettisoned... the waste of it just makes me want to scream.

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    See What is a historical lock, and what is it used for?, specifically "How do I request a historical lock for a question?"
    – AakashM
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:03
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    Sometimes when city gets bigger, old building must be demolished to make room for newer, more modern buildings. That said, if the building has historical value, @AakashM is right - we can fight this in legit ways. :) Sep 5, 2012 at 8:08
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    Thanks @AakashM. I'll do that here, but I'm concerned that there are many other questions in the same bucket that I won't see. Sep 5, 2012 at 8:09
  • Whoever added the old-questions tag (@gnat?) -- thanks. I didn't realise there was discussion about this in the past, having a read through now. Sep 5, 2012 at 8:11
  • ...could we not just migrate this valuable question and its answers to the Programmers SE site? I'm nearly completely sure that they don't want it either. Sep 5, 2012 at 8:16
  • @UnicornifiedBobby: What makes you say that? I thought Programmers was the place to ask subjective questions relevant to programmers, and this is a high-calibre one. Sep 5, 2012 at 8:21
  • @j_random_hacker - Questions on Programmers still have to be answerable. Also migrating old questions distorts the reputation profiles of the target site as they are usually highly up-voted, so we don't really want them. There's nothing stopping you asking a similar question on Programmers now.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:24
  • From the FAQ: "...and it is not about... ...implementation issues or programming tools... ...what language/technology you should learn next, including which technology is better". Sep 5, 2012 at 8:24
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    @j_random_hacker for migration idea, you now got the official clear no in this answer posted by Programmers moderator. if you would want to attempt overruling this, you could consider posting at P.SE Meta - as an active P.SE member I would guarantee you my downvote in that case :)
    – gnat
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:35
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    @gnat In no way is my answer official, both I and ChrisF try to represent the community's best interests here on MSO, but that's about it. If there's anything that comes close to being an official answer that would be the answer the community would chose, had this issue been raised on ProgSE Meta.
    – yannis
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:59
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    @AndrewBarber: 102 people thought the question had some kind of quality, and 192 people thought SJ's answer did. Maybe it doesn't suit a Q&A format, but there is something worth preserving there -- unless you think that votes have no correlation with quality. In which case: maybe we should get rid of them? Sep 5, 2012 at 9:28
  • I will. But my concern is not just this particular post, but all such posts. I've recently learned that deleted posts are still kept within SO, which is a big relief as it means we are not permanently losing these gems at a constant rate. Sep 5, 2012 at 9:35
  • @AndrewBarber: In other words, to unboggle your mind, just read the bolded sentence in the question. Sep 5, 2012 at 9:37
  • Maybe you didn't see my 2nd-to-last comment since I forgot to put in "@AndrewBarber" -- my concern was not this particular question but all such questions. Obviously I can't notice them all in time. And regarding the value of these questions: you need to explain why it makes sense for us to vote on questions and answers at all if votes are uncorrelated with "value". Sep 5, 2012 at 9:45
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    @AndrewBarber: Let me know if I need to spell it out more carefully. I mean the way your stated position implies that votes are simultaneously valuable and not valuable. (I'm assuming that you think voting on questions and answers is a good idea -- if you don't think that, then of course no contradiction arises.) Sep 5, 2012 at 12:35

2 Answers 2

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Migration is not an option

The question is ridiculously upvoted (for Programmers standards), if it were migrated today it would appear in the second page of our most voted questions, without the Programmers community having any involvement in it. Furthermore, if it was asked today, I'd probably had to close it as off topic, under the "it's not about what language/technology you should learn next, including which technology is better" clause in our FAQ.

Please do not suggest Programmers as an alternative for questions that Stack Overflow, for whatever reason, doesn't want, it was asked here, it run it's circle here, deal with it here.

Historical lock might be an option

I don't know if the question qualifies as "stellar", you should thoroughly read the FAQ question about historical locks and make your case for it. I couldn't care less for its upvotes, we've seen garbage get a lot more votes than the question in question. If you are interested in a historical lock please concentrate your arguments on the actual merits and lasting value of the question, and not its popularity.

I'm not a subject matter expert, so I don't really have an opinion on whether it should be historically locked or not.

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  • Thanks for the historical locking info. The question isn't about "what language/technology you should learn next" or "which technology is better". I understand the desire not to be swamped with loads of questions from outside, though I find the idea of not wanting it because it has too many upvotes a bit childish. Sep 5, 2012 at 8:40
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    @j_random_hacker - migrating highly up-voted questions/answers distorts the reputation on the target site. It gives people "free" reputation.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:41
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    @j_random_hacker You'll have to keep in mind that with reputation come privileges, we have a couple of people who can vote to close on ProgSE, without ever posting a question or answer on our site, having gotten all their rep from migrations. If the situation was reverse, would you like me to be able to vote to close, or worse vote to delete on Stack Overflow, a site I almost never visit, and have almost no idea what's acceptable and what's not?
    – yannis
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:42
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    @j_random_hacker Furthermore the decision of whether the question should be migrated to Programmers is not a decision SO or MSO gets to make. Feel free to make a case of it on our own Meta if you want.
    – yannis
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:45
  • What if the questions and answers were migrated, but the vote counts were reset to zero? It strikes a balance between (a) preserving valuable lore and (b) not upsetting the new neighbours :) Sep 5, 2012 at 8:45
  • I understand about migration being up to Programmers. I'm just looking for a way to preserve good stuff, and thought this might be an option because there has been at least 1 migration to Programmers in the past. Sep 5, 2012 at 8:47
  • @j_random_hacker Historical lock or a blog post would be your only options I'm afraid. I wish there was another option, but I can't think of anything else. Also regarding reputation, it's not the only problem with migrations, just the practical one. Programmers, and every other SE site, has a very simple purpose: To become a high quality Q&A site on its niche. Preserving another site's lore, valuable or not, is not within our purpose I'm afraid. People keep coming to the site because they agree with its purpose, and I really don't want to mess that up.
    – yannis
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:51
  • Well, I see no conflict between becoming a high quality Q&A site and preserving another site's (high quality Q&A) lore, but I accept that you and others at Programmers aren't keen on the idea and I think that's reasonable. I'll look for other ways. Sep 5, 2012 at 9:04
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    @j_random_hacker Hm? The boost question is extremely off topic for Programmers, we didn't put that clause in our FAQ on a whim, the community decided we couldn't care less for such questions. That's the conflict, why would we care to preserve off topic content?
    – yannis
    Sep 5, 2012 at 9:06
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    I've just read through the Programmers FAQ and seen that "implementation issues or programming tools" are unwelcome, so I see what you mean (as I said in an earlier comment, the question isn't about "what language/technology you should learn next" or "which technology is better" which you emphasise in your answer). Sep 5, 2012 at 9:21
  • @j_random_hacker Simply put we can't tell the OP if Boost is useful or not until they tell us exactly what their requirements are, the "which technology is better" covers "should I use this or not" questions. I do see why it's confusing because in this case there wasn't an obvious comparison between competing technologies, but the question was still of the "foo vs bar" variety ("to boost vs not to boost").
    – yannis
    Sep 5, 2012 at 9:25
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This should be converted to a blog post - either on the Programmers blog or your own personal blog (with correct attributions of course).

This is almost a stereotypical not constructive question and as such doesn't fit the Stack Exchange model.

NOTE: I'm not saying that the question itself isn't useful/interesting - just that it doesn't fit here.

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  • What I'm asking is whether this can/should be done automatically for all questions above $THRESHOLD votes, or having answers above $THRESHOLD votes. If not, a lot of "useful/interesting but doesn't fit here" stuff will be lost for good. Sep 5, 2012 at 8:42
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    @j_random_hacker - it's not lost for good. Deletion isn't permanent. The content is available so it can be recovered. The process of conversion to a blog post needs to be curated as a blog has a different structure to a question & answer. An automatic process would result in a bad blog post.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:43
  • Good to know, thanks. Do you know if there is a way to programmatically scan SO for deleted posts? If no-one else is already doing it, I might try doing it myself (in my copious free time...) Sep 5, 2012 at 8:50
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    @j_random_hacker - there's the API - stackapps.com - don't know how you'd find deleted questions though.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Sep 5, 2012 at 8:53
  • Thanks, I'll look into it. Sep 5, 2012 at 8:57
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    @j_random_hacker Also stackprinter.com (and stackprinter.com/… for the Boost question)
    – yannis
    Sep 5, 2012 at 9:03
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    Thanks @YannisRizos, looks useful! Sep 5, 2012 at 9:07

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