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The rules are extremely vague which often results in cases such as this (I could find many many other examples so let's not focus too much on this one, I just picked it because it involved a popular question):

One question has over 1000 upvotes and allowed to exist

How do I get started with Node.js

and another very similar one is downvoted and locked

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/19015337/how-do-i-get-started-with-sinatra

I think what happens to your question depends entirely on who happens to be moderating at the time. This isn't "as defined by the community", rather, as defined by the current moderator.

We should use questions are precedents to write rules and ask anybody who locks a thread to give a reason based on these rules.

closed as off-topic by ale, M.A.R., Glorfindel, Ward, Nathaniel Mar 2 '17 at 15:19

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – ale, M.A.R., Glorfindel, Ward, Nathaniel
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You might want to take the date of the initial question into account there. The big thing there is that the site has changed (and will change) over time. – Bart Oct 24 '13 at 9:42
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    The first question was asked in 2010 and this second was asked in the previous month. SO has evolved so much since then(and will continue to evolve). What was considered on-topic in 2010, needn't necessarily be on-topic by today's standards. – SudoRahul Oct 24 '13 at 9:43
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    But the first question has helped thousand of people and it's one of the most popular and upvoted on the site. Somehow this lead the site to deem it off-topic? This does not seem like community moderation. – user2787904 Oct 24 '13 at 9:47
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    @user2787904 community moderation does not mean "everything goes". And Stack is private business, like it or not, so they can have their rules without really asking anyone. I agree that "historical" on old question might be a good idea. – Mołot Oct 24 '13 at 9:49
  • "so they can have their rules without really asking anyone" ... doesn't really apply here though @Mołot. – Bart Oct 24 '13 at 9:53
  • Interesting read concerning moderation inconsistency, but outdated as well: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/01/stack-overflow-where-we-hate-fun – nijansen Oct 24 '13 at 9:54
  • @Bart I meant that it's company policy what they want to be on-topic and what not, or at least it can be, as they are owners. And voting is totally unrelated to what they can or cannot do, "community moderation" does not mean "community can do everything it wants". It was just a "mind-shortcut", sorry if it failed to show what I meant to tell. but hey, that's why it was just a mere comment, not an answer. – Mołot Oct 24 '13 at 9:56
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    I told you we need to delete those questions. – Time Traveling Bobby Oct 24 '13 at 10:17
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Firstly, voting != moderation. Secondly: as the site evolves, the community has developed a much keener sense of what works well as a question, and what doesn't work so well. What was well-received 3-something years ago is not necessarily the same as what is well-received today. If you look at the node question's history, you'll see that it bounced around being closed / re-opened for a while, and was eventually locked - this helps prevent it being a constant thorn / distraction.

Interestingly, we discussed this exact topic at quite some length at the NYC developer / community team meetup last week - trying to bounce ideas around in terms of whether (and if so, how) this type of question can be handled more appropriately.

  • And I'm sure you guys will report on some of that at some point? – Bart Oct 24 '13 at 9:49
  • @Bart if and when we have a conclusion, sure - assuming that the conclusion is actually a change from the current – Marc Gravell Oct 24 '13 at 9:51
  • @Marc I am 100% agree with you but what i suggest there should be a stackexchange site where starters can ask such question ot opinion base question .. it will help both stackexchange and starters – Dhaval Oct 24 '13 at 9:56
  • @Dhaval has been proposed before, and it's not a great nor practical idea. Just search Meta for such discussions and the various arguments. – Bart Oct 24 '13 at 9:57
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    @Dhaval it is more complex than that; however! In the case of "how do I get started with" - that would be an appropriate thing to add into the tag wiki – Marc Gravell Oct 24 '13 at 10:03
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Moderation is not allowed to be inconsistent. There is just so much content that moderation sometimes ends up being somewhat inconsistent. Either because some content escapes attention, or because the view on the appropriateness of certain content changes over time.

One question has over 1000 upvotes and allowed to exist

It was asked in 2010. If you look at the revision history, you will find that it was later on closed, once the community settled on a different view for such questions. In the end it has been reopened but locked, so the content - which will have value - is preserved and can be edited, but no new answers can be added.

and another very similar one is downvoted and locked

Yep, because by the time it was asked, the situation was very clear. Questions asking for tutorials or external resources are not considered to be good questions. So they will get closed.

It does not really depend on who is moderating at the time, but more on what the community has settled on as acceptable at that moment in time.

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