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Can a closed question be given special tags?

I see a few [closed] questions on Stack Overflow from time-to-time and wonder if it might be a good idea to add this as a tag as well as allow moderators to add '[closed]' to the question/subject line.

My reason is that then I (and others?) can add the 'Closed' tag to our ignore list of tags to ensure we don't see these messages; as in the majority of cases I would expect not to read these simply because I cannot contribute to them anyway.

Any thoughts on this?


I did a quick search to see if this has been suggested before but it appears not. My apologies if it has, and therefore this question is then marked [closed] resulting in weird recursive Stack Overflow metadata!

  • I'm out of votes for a few hours, but I say: This sounds like a great idea. – Eric Aug 19 '09 at 21:00
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    Being able to ignore closed questions makes sense, but I disagree with a 'closed' tag. Tags should describe content, not the state of a question. – jjnguy Aug 19 '09 at 21:02
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    jjnguy: If that was the case, all of the status style moderator only tags aren't being used properly. – TheTXI Aug 19 '09 at 21:04
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    Those are different. They are red and clearly serer their purpose well. But I don't think they belong on other sites. – jjnguy Aug 19 '09 at 21:06
  • FYI - users with 10k+ rep can see a list of recently closed posts – bdonlan Jun 22 '10 at 4:07

The idea of ignoring [closed] and even [migrated] questions is a good idea, but they don't really belong in the tags list. Maybe a user settings option to hide them instead?

However for closed questions, this seems like an option everyone would end up enabling. In the end won't that go against the idea of users being able to reopen questions they think were unfairly closed? You can't vote to reopen a question that you don't see.

  • Perhaps some visitors/users appoint themselves as the reapers of closed questions- these same visitors are likely to read questions that have been closed anyway and thus garner useful information from them anyway. For those of us that assume (perhaps wrongly?) that a closed question has nothing particularly useful within, we can choose to filter these away. Interesting point though! :-) – Gav Aug 19 '09 at 21:22
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    Questions can be reopened...so if everyone starts ignoring closed questions, you lose the people who would potentially vote to reopen a wrongly closed one. – TheTXI Aug 19 '09 at 21:25

It would have to be one of those "moderator-only" style tags to ensure that people just couldn't remove it.

Either that or you could just have an alternate suggestion of allowing users a user preference that would auto-hide any closed topic.


How do you propose handling questions that already hit 5 tag max?

  • To be fair, if a question is closed, why would it have any tags? Even the not-programming-related tag is redundant, but better than polluting the other tag pools with garbage. – GEOCHET Aug 19 '09 at 21:06
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    Because sometimes- often even- a closed question will be re-opened. – Joel Coehoorn Aug 19 '09 at 21:09
  • Closed questions can still have value and should have tags and be included in search results. – jjnguy Aug 19 '09 at 21:09
  • @Joel: But when it is closed, why does it need tags? When it is reopened it should be retagged, no doubt, but closed questions need no tags. – GEOCHET Aug 19 '09 at 21:25
  • @jjnguy: I disagree. A not-programming-related question has no value on a programming Q&A site. – GEOCHET Aug 19 '09 at 21:25
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    @Rich, some closed questions have value (duplicates). Non programming related questions should be taken out back and fed to Welbog's mother... – jjnguy Aug 19 '09 at 21:28
  • @jjnguy: Duplicates should be getting merged, not just closed. ut certainly if it is a dupe, why does it need it's own tags? – GEOCHET Aug 19 '09 at 21:29
  • @Rich, having the dupes around provide more surface are for the search engines to find. But, given exact duplicates (same tags, terminology, etc.) I agree, they should be merged. – jjnguy Aug 19 '09 at 21:31
  • @jjnguy: So 1 out of how many close reasons might be ok to keep tags? – GEOCHET Aug 19 '09 at 21:48
  • Yes, duplicate questions need to have tags. But theTxi made a good point about questions being re-opened...so it might be a good idea to keep all tags. – jjnguy Aug 19 '09 at 21:50

This seems redundant and unnecessary. I would rather have a preference in my profile that I can check to "Filter closed questions.".

  • +1 for proposing the same thing I did. – TheTXI Aug 19 '09 at 21:06
  • How do you propose filtering questions? In the absence of a 'closed' tag, then we would have to settle on a format i.e. [closed] in the question line (which seems to be prevalent). I just think that putting meta data in the question seems messy- almost like adding (2hrs) to a todo item in Basecamp because the app doesn't support a means to allow you to specify how long you think a task will take. (Sorry to veer there, couldn't think of another example!). – Gav Aug 19 '09 at 21:18
  • Um...you could filter on questions with status "Closed"... – TheTXI Aug 19 '09 at 21:22
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    @Gav: Do you think that databases work by magic? – GEOCHET Aug 19 '09 at 21:23
  • @TheTXI: Sorry, I didn't know questions had a status, I thought they only had tags, a body and question line. @Rich B: Working with MySQL sometimes, I wish they did! :-) – Gav Aug 19 '09 at 21:28
  • @Gav: How would you propose they display the closed field if the question had no status? – GEOCHET Aug 19 '09 at 21:30
  • @Rich, Magic...duh. – jjnguy Aug 19 '09 at 21:31
  • @jjnguy: OMG I LOVE MAGIC – GEOCHET Aug 19 '09 at 21:49

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