I asked this question, https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3752988/gcc-vs-ms-c-compiler (10k-only link), Sep 10th, 2010. It was closed Oct 23rd, 2012. How can it be closed two years after the fact? Is there no rule for grandfathering in early questions?

(I rarely go on SO, and just noticed it today.)

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    Hey, who let the Careers dev out of his c̶a̶g̶e cubicle? Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 15:13
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    Ha. I'm not a dev. I'm allowed outside.
    – Juice StaffMod
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 15:14
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    It should probably get a historic lock instead.
    – Stijn
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 15:15
  • @Stijn: depends on how useful the content is; historic locks are usually only handed out if the content has had a history of people trying to re-open / undelete it. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 15:17
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    @Stijn No real need to even consider that unless people start trying to delete it.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 15:17
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    @staticbeast That's saying that questions like this shouldn't be closed at all. This question is saying that old questions should simply be grandfathered in. There's a difference.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 15:18
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    These two posts will give you some perspective on the matter: here and here. Cheers.
    – Anil
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 15:29
  • Consider yourself lucky, many times such questions are also being deleted. In short, the definition for constructive/on topic is ever changing and becomes more and more strict - many users love to dig deep and close everything they see that doesn't fit those rules anymore. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 15:40
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    At least it wasn't unlaterally closed and hasn't been deleted yet, thought it's on the way. I cast a reopen vote, though I'm fine with it being closed, but it needs to be protected from deletion. I also cast upvotes on all decent answers, to help protect it. That's about all you can do. There are deletionists out there who don't understand the policy Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:21
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    @LanceRoberts: I say delete it. The question is a "gorilla vs shark" question. It asks multiple questions in one question. The requested comparisons are largely subjective. The products being compared are long out of date. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:35
  • @LanceRoberts, the link you provided speaks of merging answers for duplicate posts so we do not lose the contributions from others. The post in question here isn't a duplicate though, so I am failing to see how Jeff's recommendation to merge would be useful. What would you be merging with? Cheers.
    – Anil
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:39
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    @LanceRoberts You think it should be closed, so you voted to reopen it. Seriously? If it should be closed then it should be closed. If you don't think it should be deleted then wait for it to actually be deleted before complaining about people deleting it, and vote/flag to undelete if it does end up deleted.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:40
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    @LanceRoberts I know that closing questions that the site has determined to be inappropriate is one of the most important features for making this site as effective as it is, and it's the reason why so many people choose to come here over this site's competition. If you want to be on a site where anyone can post anything and have it be allowable, that's fine, but this isn't such a site. People come here because there is a high standard. When you go around trying to remove that high standard and encourage low quality content it makes the site worse.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:44
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    @LanceRoberts But the answers aren't really of high quality either, and don't have a lot of value.
    – Servy
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 17:06
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    I'll just edit in a colloquial term for bodily waste for you, @Lance, and then you can vote to delete in good conscience.
    – jscs
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 20:41

2 Answers 2


Is there no rule for grandfathering in early questions?

There is no such rule. When the standards change they are applied retroactively to all existing questions. Many such questions happen to go for long periods of time without being noticed, but if someone does notice them they are entirely within their rights to vote to close, or do whatever other moderation actions would be appropriate given the current standards.

If a question is extraordinarily valuable, and is at risk of being deleted (or is constantly being reopened-closed), then a historical lock can be used to ensure that the content is still accessible to the public while still making it clear that the post doesn't meet the site's current standards.


That question is too localized anyway. It's over four years old, and some of the answers are based on experiences the answerers had years before.

Even if it had value at the time it was written, it hasn't been maintained in a comprehensive enough way that someone could make a good decision based on it today.

Further, comparing the two compilers has little real-world value. They overlap in use in some ways, but they are clearly designed for different markets.

I can see it being left visible on the site only if it was maintained on a yearly basis (which means it has to be left open anyway) and comprehensive answers that include compiler versions used for comparison are provided.

Otherwise it is nothing more than outdated cruft of limited usefulness, and should be deleted.

This all on top of the fact that it's simply not a good question for this site. At best one can only compare the two compilers at the 50 thousand foot view. If you delve down much further you've got a book to read, and if you want to deal with all the versions of the two compilers that are in active use today and compare them on a changelog item by changelog item basis then you've got volumes of books to write.

And that still wouldn't help someone who is in a position to choose, instead it'd be like staring at an aisle of 342 different types of white bread and wheat bread, and rather than asking which exact bread is good for the specific sandwich that person wants to make, they are standing back and saying, "compare the white and wheat bread for me in a comprehensive enough manner that I can make a decision for my circumstances, which I 'm not going to tell you about."

Instead, let interested users at the crossroads ask an application or task-specific question on SO when they come to that fork.

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