17

This may be a low use-case request and there may be a better way to manage it than this request but I'd like to see what the possibilities are to make it possible to avoid using the "historical lock" option with its default text on questions that aren't actually bad questions but that are designed to only be answerable for a specific period of time.

For reference, here's the historical lock text:

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed. More info: help center.

This came up as an issue to me on M&TV Meta. We have a quarterly "best answers" post where people nominate their favorite answers from the quarter and voting is open for a limited period of time, at which point our current solution is to use a historical lock to prevent future voting. This has a couple of downsides:

  1. As seen in the lock explanation, it implies that the question is off-topic, which it is not, and necessitates our mods to write a comment explaining that the lock is not a bad question.

  2. The question leaves the recently active queue, making it very difficult to find without searching for it, specifically. So, despite this question being answered as recently as January 16th, it is no longer in its proper place.

Is it possible to get a form of "lock" that prevents additional answers and votes but does not have these two side effects?

  • 3
    Sidenote, this could also be useful for questions like the recent "Choose your own swag" event. – Catija Jan 22 '16 at 3:55
  • What about editing? – Deduplicator Jan 22 '16 at 4:07
  • 1
    @Deduplicator mods would retain editing abilities. Most of the lock limitations would be the same other than the text and the removal from the recent activity list. – Catija Jan 22 '16 at 4:18
  • mods always retain the ability to edit. Because they are mods. So, mere mortals should not be able to do anything but read and favorite the question? – Deduplicator Jan 22 '16 at 4:34
  • @Deduplicator what other access would be needed? The goal is to maintain the question for reference. Being able to edit could be problematic and seems unnecessary. – Catija Jan 22 '16 at 4:36
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    Swags and other contests, community pools/discussions (see the license one), discussion about time framed events (April Fool, winter bash) - a lot of questions could use a more specific form of "lock" – Νеvеrꭑoꭇе Jan 22 '16 at 8:35
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    Tangentially related: Have a special lock for meta sites for historical (out of date) policy decisions – user213963 Jan 27 '16 at 17:25
7

Based on comments and other types of similar time-sensitive events, it seems that what may be useful is an "Event Lock".

This would include lock text along the lines of:

This question was for an event that began on [start date] and ended on [end date] at [end time]. Now that the event is over, this question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed.

This would be useful for events like the ones described in the question as well as SE official events like contests, swag giveaways, etc.

To make this feature even more useful, it would be amazing if you made it possible to set a lock date/time for the post so that mods (and CMs) don't have to be on site to lock the post manually. This information, if set, could be reflected in a post notice similar to the "long answers" banner:

This question is for an event that began on [start date] and will end on [end date] at [end time UTC]. Once the event is over, this question will be frozen and no further answers or votes will be accepted.

7

Historical Lock is already an aberration, an exception built into the system for a specific purpose. I'd be reluctant to add another, different, meta-only lock reason that also behaves differently from a normal lock but for a different reason.

That said, we could just change the text that's displayed on meta. In fact, when it was first implemented, Historical Lock's description on meta sites simply omitted the whole "but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site" bit, as that's almost never how it's used on meta sites.

If this seems workable, then propose an alternate, meta-only description, ideally one that is equally applicable to any scenario where such a severe lock might be useful.

All that said... I want to caution you against giving too much weight to meta votes, and especially against trying to lock down a discussion once a decision has been made. The scenario you describe - a quarterly poll, something fun and engaging - is an ideal use for something like this, but I would be very concerned if I saw folks locking down discussions of site policies or topics. See also: How is consensus determined on Meta sites?

  • What about the new wording Monica proposes? (Latest revision was just created in response to one of my own meta threads) – MEE - Reinstate Monica Nov 22 '18 at 19:16
7

Shog9 suggested suggesting an alternate, meta-only wording for historical locks. Try this:

This question is about an event that has now ended. To preserve the historical state, this question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed or voted on. Take followup discussions to new meta questions.

(Include the help-center link or not, as you choose. Without meta-specific help I'm not convinced of its utility.)

This does the following:

  • Labels it as historically significant (like the current lock).

  • Removes the part about it being a good model blah blah blah. It's probably a fine meta question; it's just that it's been overcome by events (the contest ended, etc).

  • Says what to do instead. For example, moderator-election threads, or pro-tem nomination threads on betas, should probably be locked after the election; you shouldn't express dissatisfaction with a moderator by going back and downvoting those posts later, but instead by raising new issues as new issues.

  • By using "event" language, subtly directs usage away from policy decisions, a concern raised in Shog's answer.

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