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For example, questions specific to Windows 2000, or where the question explicitly says that the answer must apply to Windows 2000 as well as to later versions.

I'm inclined to say they should be off-topic, on the grounds that they will be of little use to future visitors - but on the other hand, the "too narrow" close reason has been removed, so does that mean we're no longer expecting questions to be useful in future?

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    Well, people still use IE6 and DevC++. So no, age should not make a question off topoic. – Mysticial Dec 17 '13 at 2:15
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    Even back when there was a “too localized” close reasons, such questions were on-topic. Too localized would be for a question about programming in an in-house language for which no public documentation exists. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 17 '13 at 2:25
  • @Gilles: Hmmmm. I guess that boils down to the difference between "shouldn't use" and "can't use"? That is, the fact that future visitors shouldn't be using a given technology doesn't really matter, whereas the fact that they can't does. – Harry Johnston Dec 17 '13 at 2:43
22

Antique languages are on-topic. No reason antique systems shouldn't be.

Not that you will necessarily get much interest.

  • Why are you calling my desktop "antique"? :[ – Aza Dec 17 '13 at 2:31
  • @Emracool That just makes it more valuable. Like other stuff that's very, very old. – dmckee Dec 17 '13 at 2:33
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    Thinking about posting a Apple ][+ question just for the fun of it. – dmckee Dec 17 '13 at 2:34
  • One of these days, I'll sell the DEX 486 for hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of these days... – Aza Dec 17 '13 at 2:41
  • I only just got rid of a (headless) 486 laptop last year. A sad day, for that box had quietly hummed along serving printjobs to a heterogenous network for years. – dmckee Dec 17 '13 at 2:44
  • That's beautiful. A glorious device. I trust it was given a proper cremation and burial? – Aza Dec 17 '13 at 2:45
  • @dmckee - It has been done before: stackoverflow.com/questions/143374/… , although a more practical modern example might be Peter Hosey's Apple ][ cassette tape emulator: stackoverflow.com/questions/3848296/… which I recall someone asking about. It lets you use a modern computer to feed information to an Apple ][ via a headphone jack, which I've been meaning to try with the ][+ that still sits next to my desk. – Brad Larson Dec 17 '13 at 4:12
5

If someone's asking the question today, then clearly the answer is still useful to someone today. Given that, there's no reason to assume it couldn't be useful to someone else in the future.

In fact, in some ways the fact that somebody's asking a question about an antique system today makes it more likely that the answers will continue to be relevant in the future. If a new technology has only been around for a month, it might be that everybody will have forgotten it a month from now. But if something has been around, however obsolete, for decades and still generates questions, it's likely to continue to do so for the next ten years too.

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    "If someone's asking the question today, then clearly the answer is still useful to someone today." ... I think applying that logic consistently would inevitably lead to the conclusion that nothing can be off-topic. – Harry Johnston Dec 17 '13 at 2:45
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    @Harry well, the other on-topicness criteria of course still apply. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Dec 17 '13 at 2:52
  • So if I asked on Stack Overflow, today, how to make a slow roast partridge with spiced cranberry and roasted walnut sauce, because it would be of use to me, today, it would be ok? Sure it's useful to someone today, but not within the scope of "on topic" :) – James Dec 17 '13 at 3:42
  • @James: Such questions would be off-topic for SO, but not because "they will be of little use to future visitors". – Ilmari Karonen Dec 17 '13 at 3:48
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    "If someone's asking the question today, then clearly the answer is still useful to someone today" <-- you can't use this to define what subjects are on topic, otherwise my example would be on topic, so it's meaningless. There are many reasons why things are either on or off topic. It being useful to someone is a reason for neither. – James Dec 17 '13 at 3:57
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    @James: I'm not sure where you got the idea that I was proposing to replace the entire SO topic policy with my answer above. All I'm saying is that "this is old stuff, nobody cares about this anymore" cannot be a valid argument for closing a question, when the very existence of the question proves that someone clearly still does care about it. This doesn't mean questions cannot be closed for plenty of other reasons. – Ilmari Karonen Dec 17 '13 at 4:16
  • "This is old stuff, nobody cares about this anymore cannot be a valid argument for closing a question" - I agree, but what you seemed to be stating in your answer was just the opposite of that. And I'm not sure where you got the idea of me getting the idea that I thought you were proposing to replace the entire SO topic policy with your answer. I simply stated that "useful" cannot mean on topic, which was what your entire answer is about, in response to a question asking about what defines on topic. – James Dec 17 '13 at 4:33
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    That's splitting hairs. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Dec 17 '13 at 5:00

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