5

I posted this as an answer to Why are the sidebar stats for a question now under the title?, but that was removed as being off-topic for that post. So, I'm bringing it to its own space.

I expect that this change will result in many more "I know this post is old...." comments in answers, or users declining to even interact with older posts. The "thou shalt not necropost" convention is burned into people from getting yelled at in forums. (That is: replying to or editing anything in an "old" thread, where "old" is often as recent as six months, is deeply frowned upon on many web forum communities.)

Of course, that convention is not what we want on Stack Exchange. We have several badges which encourage improvements to older posts (both answers and edits), and we mark incoming posts as duplicates of older ones if the older post is appropriate regardless of age. (See Is it worth my time answering old posts? and Closing posts as duplicate of very old questions, among others.)

By putting the age of the post so, so prominently, the design encourages users to expect forum-like behavior towards older posts. Was this tested against this outcome?

At the very least can we review in a few months to see if this effect is as I suspect it will be? (That is, specifically look for answers mentioning the age of the post, and also look for a decline in activity around older posts.)

  • I upvoted your question because experiments are always good to do. But do note that you can earn several different badges for answering and editing old questions, so the behavior you discuss here is actually encouraged. – Cris Luengo Jul 26 '19 at 13:44
  • @CrisLuengo This was mentioned in comments to the deleted answer. Those badges are effective for people who are already engaged with the site or for the subset of people who discover the site's functionality through badge-hunting. It is much less prominent than what now appears to be a "this is an old post!" warning banner. – mattdm Jul 26 '19 at 13:46
  • The title of your question seems to be at odds with the body of your question. The title suggests the new placement is a bad thing. But I interpret the body of your question as (albeit somewhat ambiguously) saying that the more obvious placement of the date could discourage so-called necroposts (which I assume is a good thing). Are you sure you didn't mean to use positive in the title of your question? (Otherwise, the body of the question doesn't make it clear what this behaviour is: declining to interact with older posts or actually interacting with older posts.) – Jason Bassford Jul 26 '19 at 14:56
  • I also echo the sentiment of an earlier comment. It's not at all clear if interacting with old posts really is good or bad. That seems to be a hasty judgment. It seems to me that it's good in some cases, and bad in others. It depends on the nature of the interaction. – Jason Bassford Jul 26 '19 at 15:00
  • Re "The "thou shalt not necropost" convention": Yes, it sticks its ugly ugly head up on the Stack Exchange network from time to time. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Jul 26 '19 at 15:45
  • I think it would be better to replace question date with some subtle color differences. The cost in FAQs would be bearable. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Jul 26 '19 at 15:48

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