I just came across this question which is primarily opinion based, which doesn't fit with the current standards of questions on SO.

I understand that this has historic significance, it has some good answers, and is somewhat popular, with good answers. How should this be flagged so it can be preserved for historic reference? What is the correct way to flag questions like this?

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    You can still vote to close the question if it is not a good fit for Stack Overflow. Just because it gets closed doesn't mean it will be deleted. As long as it isn't deleted it can still be used as a reference. – Taryn Feb 13 '14 at 17:21
  • I don't have enough rep to vote to close, which is why I would flag it, but I'm unsure what option to select, other than going for "off topic". I'm sure it doesn't matter too much, but thought I'd ask for some clarification anyway. – Joe Feb 13 '14 at 17:23
  • @JoeStead if it is primarily opinion based then it is primarily opinion based. Flag it to close as such. Age shouldn't change the close reason. And the option does matter. When you flag a post to close it, the reason is displayed to the potential close voters in the close vote queue, so it will help them understand why you think it should be closed. – psubsee2003 Feb 13 '14 at 17:25
  • I found another one too, which clearly doens't talk about coding: stackoverflow.com/questions/302017/… – puretppc Feb 13 '14 at 17:25
  • just vote to close it – Sam I am Feb 13 '14 at 17:26
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    @psubsee2003 I'll keep that in mind, but there seem to be exceptions, such as the much discussed C++ book recommendations. – Joe Feb 13 '14 at 17:26
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    The golden rule of moderator flagging: can the community handle this without moderator intervention? – Robert Harvey Feb 13 '14 at 17:26
  • @puretppc there are hundreds(thousands?) of questions like this. – Joe Feb 13 '14 at 17:26
  • @JoeStead that is probably the only exception. You shouldn't worry about that, if you don't think it is not on-topic or otherwise close worthy, then flag it. Let the close voters worry about if the question should be closed. – psubsee2003 Feb 13 '14 at 17:27
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    There are some related discussions on this topic here and here that I found very useful when it comes to flagging old questions. – Anil Natha Feb 13 '14 at 17:54
  • @RobertHarvey, I've seen the comments and suggestions to keep the C++ book question open and it bothers me that it isn't closed. I understand it's popular, and there are many links to it, but keeping it open IMHO, sends the wrong message to users. It infers that if you can make a really popular off-topic question, it can remain open. Although these days it will probably be closed before it can gain popularity, but by keeping it open it can be construed to new users that recommendation posts are allowed. Just my two cents. I feel that we should lead by example and do as we say. Cheers. – Anil Natha Feb 13 '14 at 17:57
  • @SlyRaskal: The C++ Book question remains open because the C++ community have promised to maintain it and keep it current. This would not happen for the vast majority of book questions. – Robert Harvey Feb 13 '14 at 17:59
  • @RobertHarvey, be that as it may, the post is still off-topic and it sends the wrong message to new users that are unfamiliar with SO guidelines. Also, does this mean that if the PHP community promises to keep an off-topic post up to date, they can do so as well or any other community for that matter? And if that is denied, could that then be considered a discriminatory practice? – Anil Natha Feb 13 '14 at 18:02
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    I knew I shouldn't have mentioned the C++ book reference question! – Joe Feb 13 '14 at 19:11

First off, if it meets close criteria vote to close it. This particular question, while it meets several criteria, probably fits best as "Primarily Opinion Based", which it has since been closed as. There really isn't any question about whether or not to close it. Historical locks come into play more to deal with:

  1. People constantly trying to reopen offtopic questions, just because they're that popular

  2. The question being deleted, even though it has really valuable content.

For the case of #1, you'd only need to flag it requesting a historical lock if you see the question being reopened/closed over and over again, which is not the case here.

For #2 you'd only need to flag requesting a historical lock if the question is deleted, or looks like it might be deleted soon (i.e. it's collecting delete votes).

I don't see this question as being "so absolutely amazing that we must keep this around because the world is a dramatically worse place without it, so even if the question was facing deletion I don't see it as needing a historical lock to prevent it. There are only a small handful of historical locks. They aren't for, "pretty good, somewhat useful, or kinda okay" questions. They're for, "WE MUST HAVE THIS!" questions.

Having said all of that, if you do feel a question needs a historical lock, there is no specific flag for it; use a custom flag saying that you feel a historical lock is warranted, and explain why. Alternatively, because historical locks should be for questions of enormous value, you can potentially create a discussion on meta asking if you feel a historical lock is warranted. This should be done especially if there is controversy over whether or not to lock it. This will allow an in-depth discussion to take place, with a mod to act on whatever the community consensus seems to be.

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