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A post can be locked.

  • What does it mean to lock a post?
  • Who can lock a post?
  • When should a post be locked?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 16 '09 at 16:46

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Note: The below answer only applies to posts locked for reasons other than "historical significance". The "historical significance" lock reason works differently, and more info can be found here: What is a historical lock, and what is it used for?

What does it mean to lock a post?

A question or answer which is locked can no longer accept:

  • edits
  • up-votes, down-votes
  • comments, comment up-votes
  • new answers (questions only)
  • close votes, reopen votes (questions only)
  • new bounties (questions only)
  • delete votes, undelete votes.

In the case of locked questions, the (unlocked) answers are not bounded to these restrictions, with one exception: you must have full editing privileges to edit these answers; suggested edits aren't allowed if the question is locked.

Locked posts can later be unlocked by diamond moderators at any time. Optionally, they can be configured to be automatically unlocked after a certain period of time. Common temporary locking periods are 1 hour, 24 hours, or 1 week.

Who can lock a post?

Only diamond moderators can manually lock or unlock posts. If you believe that a post should be locked, flag it for moderator attention and explain why.

The Community user will lock posts under the following circumstances:

  • The post receives 6 spam or "rude or abusive" flags, or a single flag from a diamond moderator (it will also be deleted by Community).
  • The question is migrated to a different site (Community will lock the migration stub)
  • The question was migrated from a different site, then rejected (if the destination question gets closed, except as a duplicate, Community will lock it)

The Community user will unlock posts under the following circumstances:

  • If a post has been configured by moderators to unlock after a certain period of time, Community will unlock it once that time lapses.
  • If a question that was migrated gets rejected by the destination site, Community will unlock the original (former migration stub) question.

When should a post be locked?

Posts should generally only be manually locked in cases where something seriously bad is happening. In particular, where the ongoing updates and edits are actively detrimental to the system. A list of reasons moderators can apply when locking a post can be found at https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/172592 (scroll down to "locked").

Some examples of when a post might be manually locked include:

  • A post where repeated voting or editing is happening in a way which attempts to game, hack, or otherwise abuse the system.
  • A post that multiple users are edit-warring or rollback-warring over and can't decide which revision to keep.
  • A post that attracts many, many off-topic or irrelevant comments that should be taken to the site's chat instead.
  • A question that gets opened and closed repeatedly many times without achieving community consensus on whether it should stay open or closed.
  • A question that, for whatever reason, continues to attract flame posts, spam, or other inappropriate answers.
  • A question that is repeatedly vandalized by its asker; for example, to drastically alter the meaning of the question that invalidates existing answers, or to obliterate/obscure the question.
  • A question that attracts many answers that are really the same thing over and over again.

Another type of locked post is a merged question. When a moderator merges two questions that are exact duplicates, all the answers are moved to one question and the other question is left as a "stub," with no answers. The stub question is locked.

What if I disagree with the lock applied to a post?

If you have a justifiable reason that a post should be unlocked, you should flag it for moderator attention using the "flag" link underneath the post. Select the "other" flag reason, and provide a detailed explanation of your rationale in the textbox provided.

A moderator will review your flag, and if they agree with your arguments, unlock the post.

Anything else I should know about locking?

  • If a post that was migrated from another site is later locked for any reason, any lock reason notice applied will not be shown, and instead the "migration rejected" notice will be shown, even if it's not actually a rejected migration. This is a rare edge case that the team has decided they won't fix.

  • Locking a post will prevent it from being automatically deleted by the Community user as part of the Roomba scripts, unless it is locked as a migration stub or a rejected migration.

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    If "Only diamond moderators can lock or unlock posts", why do I see posts that are "Locked by Community ♦"? This question is not addressed either here or in Who is the community user?. – gerrit Jan 28 '13 at 12:19
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    @gerrit Well, Community is a Diamond mod too, right? What's wrong with being a robot? – Undo May 31 '13 at 21:36
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    @gerrit this happens on several cases like 6 spam/offensive flags causing automatic lock and deletion of the post and also in case of migration, the post on the source site is getting auto locked. – Shadow Wizard Oct 28 '13 at 22:27
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    @ShadowWizard Why don't just delete those annoying questions. – Ave Maleficum Mar 11 '14 at 13:52
  • @Ave sorry not sure what you mean. Spam question is getting deleted too, migrated question is deleted automatically after 30 days, where those 30 days are "grace period" to allow undoing of the migration. – Shadow Wizard Mar 11 '14 at 13:55
  • But, how to request a locked-for-historical-purposes question to be unlocked, maybe with a suggested edit? For example, with a very simple edit, this question could be very relevant: stackoverflow.com/questions/1168175/… – Andrew Jan 25 '17 at 2:19
  • @ɪʙᴜɢ we can flag comments on locked posts: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/195527/… – Shadow Wizard Mar 12 '18 at 8:14

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