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Here on MSE, we have a close reason for bug reports and feature requests that have been rendered obsolete by changes to the system:

The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question.

This leads to questions such as First Responder hat of the 2016 winter bash being closed - despite being perfectly on-topic, acceptable bug reports, because changes have rendered it obsolete or in the example above because the event ended.

This doesn't seem quite fair to me. A closed question counts against you for badges such as Inquisitive and Socratic, for one, and the questions as asked were perfectly acceptable.

It would make sense to create a new tag, akin to and , and to apply that tag to questions where the problem detailed is obsolete due to circumstances out of the OP's question, much like we tag questions with when things were fixed.

One such example of a post where this tag would be applied is The "possible spam" banner for suggested edits is misaligned. This is a bug report from 2014; a perfectly acceptable use of meta, dating back six years. However, in the six years between then and now, the problem detailed in the question has become obsolete due to multiple redesigns. It's now at 3/5 close votes (one of them mine, admittedly).

Would there be any chance of creating a new tag for obsolete questions instead of outright closing questions that were perfectly acceptable?

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  • Questions closed more than 60 days after being asked don't count negatively toward the asking days badges. Also, this checks the current closure date, so if it was closed, reopened, then closed after 60 days of being asked, it won't count (anymore). Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 23:17

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I'll admit that closing questions as "no longer reproducible" here on MSE is a bit of a pet peeve. I think that these should, instead, be tagged either as (as Glorfindel suggested) or marked as if they are legitimate bugs that were reproduced at one point and just happen to get fixed in the interim.

This is how I think about the two tags:

  • - The examples you cite about the "possible spam" banner and Winter Bash hat bug feel like something that is completed, since the answers seem to indicate that the problem as described was actually fixed rather than the problem no longer existing (particularly in the case of balpha answering the WB question).
  • - For a bug that occurred during an event like Winter Bash but was never fixed (not like the example) - the event has ended and the bug no longer applies. Or, if the report is about a bug with a feature that was completely removed (like the question wizard), again, the bug wasn't fixed but the issue no longer exists.

If updating one or both of the tag wiki excerpts to make this clear is helpful (as Glorfindel mentions) I'm happy to do that.

I don't think we should be closing questions for being unable to reproduce with one exception (that I can think of right now) - if they're lacking in detail and can't be reproduced at all, I think there's room to close the question with specific guidance on how the question can be improved. That means that I'd like to retire the existing no longer reproducible close reason and replace it with a new one that would be a more helpful and specific "needs detail or clarity" with info about how to improve a bug report that y'all are struggling to reproduce.

In the interim before the new close reason is created, and for any questions currently closed with the old reason, we can make a slight update to the existing close reason. One of the best things about the new close reasons system is that we can completely remove the term "off-topic" on all close reasons that are community-specific. While I didn't change all five of the fields, I did give the reason a title and update the current off topic bit to say:

This question was closed because it could no longer be reproduced. It is not currently accepting answers.

Anyway, I've discussed this with the other CMs and this is the route we'd prefer to go, so we're going to status-decline this request.

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  • I always found this close reason to be troublesome. It always felt like there was no true consensus on its use-case beyond obvious applications, and the places where it was used seemed to be inconsistent at times. Thank you for clarifying that here.
    – Spevacus
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 4:15
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    @Spevacus Sure, not an issue. I think the question is what the next steps are here. I think we need to do more than just this post but I'm not sure what to do.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 14:40
  • Well, updating the close reason fields such that they explain the close reason's usage guidance more clearly would be a good idea, but that would probably involve a dedicated question so we can get the language right. I would feel better if you were a part of that discussion.
    – Spevacus
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 14:55
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    I'm happy to take part in it but I did intentionally say that we'd need to retire the existing reason. It's being used on many questions that probably shouldn't have been closed, so reusing the existing one would edit all of the old reasons to show the new text, which would be confusing. :) It's probably worth reviewing the questions currently closed with this reason to see if they should be reopened and tagged instead of closed.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 14:58
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+50

Don't we already have this tag?
Even the excerpt is applicable:

Indicates that the site developers were not able to replicate the behavior reported.

but the tag wiki needs some work. I'm essentially proposing to re-purpose that tag to include obsolete bug reports. In both cases, the final status of the bug is 'we won't fix it, but not because it's a bad idea' (the latter cases fall under ).

Now if we only had a way (suggested edits perhaps) for regular users to add that tag to a question ...

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    Not exactly. That's used more for bugs that turn out to be an issue with something else, such as a userscript, etc. It's not used for obsolete bug reports, as far as I've seen.
    – Mithical
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 13:01
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    Well, if it's a genuine bug that was repaired, status-obsolete seems kinda odd, too, rather than status-completed or whatever actually happened to the bug. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 13:05
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    Can become a new privilege for 20k (or even 30k?) users to suggest mod-only tags, and only mods will be able to approve those, of course. I'd support such a feature request. :) Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 13:09

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