We all come through Google to questions like "Which is better Matlab or OpenCV?" or "What are the best resources for learning ?" These questions tend to be closed, sometimes marked for deletion, be primary opinion based, have hundreds of upvotes, and be really useful.

It would be good if these were always available, perhaps though automatic migration to another StackExchange instead of deletion. While the knowledge is not in the StackOverflow form, it is knowledge none the less.

Is there any consistent attempt to save this knowledge?

  • 1
    A question with hundreds of upvotes isn’t going to receive votes to close or delete it. You are right, we are not a forum, so questions that generate discussions are not helpful and are properly handled by the community by closing them or removing them through deletion
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 22:39
  • @Ramhound No, they are closed (as they should), but not deleted. Example.
    – user202729
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 2:08
  • 4
    This feature already exists: What is a historical lock, and what is it used for? Commented May 11, 2018 at 5:14
  • @user202729 wrong. Hundreds of those get deleted. Example of old closed questions with highly upvoted answers (300+ score for top answer) which is about to be deleted very soon. There are many users who take part in deleting all old closed questions, at some point they will delete all of them. They don't care about score, for them those questions are off topic crap. (Personally I dislike this behavior, but know we can't do anything to stop it.) Commented May 11, 2018 at 5:41
  • @ShadowWizard The problem when delete/undelete votes don't age away. (and are not retractable, in case someone misclick) | I can't see the delete votes anyway.
    – user202729
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 6:28
  • @user202729 2 delete votes, cast recenty. I'm pretty sure tomorrow the question will be gone. (think that with 17 score it needs 4 votes.) Commented May 11, 2018 at 6:50
  • @ShadowWizard Mod-flag it to ask them to historical-lock is an option.
    – user202729
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 6:58
  • Well the seem deleted. Now is some quasi-deleted state. stackoverflow.com/questions/2961049/… Commented May 12, 2018 at 13:49

3 Answers 3


If highlty rated fhey are not gonna get erased soon. Don’t worry about them. The lock for historical value can protect them;

from; What is a historical lock, and what is it used for?

What is the purpose of a historical lock?

A historical lock preserves content that was very popular when it was originally posted, but is now off-topic or otherwise out of scope for the site it is posted on.


In theory? These questions are really old and from before when site scope is fixed.

There's two problems. The "Mooooom, but HE did it" effect - That new users get confused by these these posts. The former should have never been asked. The latter is a classic bikeshed question.

The second is, well since these are off topic, most experienced users, except the extreme old timers with the slightest twinge of nostalgia would just want these gone so they don't confuse new users.

The actual value of these with respect to new users is... somewhat minimal.

We do have tools that do something like you'd ask for - the historical lock @yagmoth555 has mentioned but eh, in most cases if folks are coming in because of a question that would be closed today, we're clearly going to not give those folks the right idea if that's the first experience they have of SE.

  • The historical lock notice does say "do not use this as evidence you can ask similar questions here". Commented May 11, 2018 at 5:16
  • 1
    Sure but practically very very few questions are worth actually historical locking. And certainly even fewer would be a major driver of traffic or of extreme usefulness to other users Commented May 11, 2018 at 5:45

Such questions, which are likely to already be hosted elsewhere on the internet, are usually too broad for focused Q&A, often attract opinions leading to discussion, and/or become rapidly outdated.

Personally, I do not vote to delete them but I think we should prevent any more of these questions being asked and answered on a network designed for focused Q&A.

In general I think they should be converted to Community Wiki and Wiki-locked to prevent such Q&As continuing to be personal rep winners, while retaining any valuable content.

In this state they no longer act as models for how to gain easy rep by providing popular opinions. Their first answer can continue to be edited and improved by any user helping to surface any content of value, and removing anything that's not.

  • It does sound like you are very concerned about accumulating reputation. Would you point to that as the goal of SO? Commented May 12, 2018 at 13:53
  • @CharlesMerriam No, the goal of SE is focused Q&A, so I think focused Q&A is what reputation is intended to reward.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 14:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .