(split off from this suggestion to allow voting on separate feature requests)

I think "Locked" is a really bad term for this, since locking a thread in a forum means preventing new replies from being posted, while here on SO when a question is locked the only thing you can do is post an answer. This is very misleading especially for people not familiar with it (and as it is very rarely used not many people are).

I therefore propose to rename it to Frozen. Mods would therefore be able to freeze posts. I think the word freeze is much more accurate for what the feature actually does.

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    I didn't realize that you could answer locked posts. I went and found one to check out, but there was no 'Your Answer' spot. – Lance Roberts Jan 25 '10 at 21:54
  • Questions Or answers (Or both) can be 'locked'. I think. – George Stocker Jan 25 '10 at 21:55
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    @George: correct. @Lance: if a question is locked while closed, then it can't be answered (because it's closed) and can't be re-opened (because it's locked). A question locked open can still get answers (but no comments, edits, votes, or anything else that directly affects the question itself). A locked answer is pretty much immutable. – Shog9 Jan 25 '10 at 21:57

We changed "lock" so that it prevents questions from being answered.

Note that this only applies when you lock the question itself and not an individual answer.

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    So is there now no way to prevent editing/closing/reopening whilst allowing new answers? – Perpetual Motion Goat Feb 8 '10 at 18:32

Maybe a two line blurb like this:

* This Question Has Been Frozen by a Moderator. *
* No New Replies, Votes, or Edits may be made.  *

There are other adjectives:

This Post is in Time-out
This Post has been boxed
This Post is in Conflict Resolution

  • Ascii Art or Code font is optional. Heck, even a tooltip over the 'This Post is Frozen' blurb. – George Stocker Jan 25 '10 at 21:53
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    "This post needed some time to itself" (or maybe just link to the locked post faq... ) – Shog9 Jan 25 '10 at 21:59
  • I think this is a good idea. It's like how Wikipedia does locked posts – Kip Jan 25 '10 at 22:02
  • The information could appear in the right hand sidebar - like the editing hints. – ChrisF Jan 25 '10 at 22:08
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    @ChrisF: No way, most of us would never see it. (I think many people here are like me on these sites: Tunnel vision on the left-hand 3/4.) – John Rudy Jan 25 '10 at 22:16
  • @G.P.LeChuck - Too true. I just realised that I'd only "seen" the editing hints a few days after they actually appeared. I'd delete my comment, but it would make yours meaningless ;) – ChrisF Jan 25 '10 at 22:31

Word usage

What does "Frozen" mean?

Given that this isn't a discussion board, why do we care what "locked" means to them - are we not allowed to use words just because some people coming from a particular type of community might be confused?

What work has been done to find out what "locked" means on other community sites (ie, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Slashdot, etc)?

As far as I'm concerned, "Locked" is fine shorthand for "Voting is Locked - no further votes and flags are being accepted," or "Post is locked from editing."

But the reality is that if you compare our terms with terms used in other forums, nothing else matches - why are we so concerned that people might be confused with "locking" when every other term diverges from what they may be used to as well?

So if we come up with a new term, it should related to what is happening.

Frozen vs Locked vs ???

I don't know that "Voting is now frozen" really gives the same impression as "Voting is locked."

In reference to voting, you usually use the phrase, "The polls are now closed" - but we use closed for a different, though related, form of question 'locking.'

But I think we might want to dig down into the roots of 'locking' to understand what's really going on -

What is locking really all about?

Generally Locking results when an official moderator has made the determination that the community is no longer able to responsibly determine a post's fate - the option for the community to self-moderate is removed due to the community's own behavior.

Given this definition, "The community is locked out of moderation" is fine.

Does it matter?

But it doesn't really matter anyway, does it?

We receive nearly 40,000 posts per day. How many are locked? A vanishingly small number. They are outliers, and as such don't even need to be understood by the majority of new users.

It would be nice if the site were designed from the ground up so that every term was immediately and painfully obvious. Perhaps at some point in the future when all the kinks have been worked out a mass re-naming can occur so that things are a little more intuitive. In this particular case, though, I'm not sure that there's much to be gained by a name change.

  • I was feeling kinda bad about participating in yet another "bikeshed" discussion, but now that you've put almost 400 words towards it I feel a bit better. Not a lot better though. – Shog9 Jan 25 '10 at 22:31
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    @Shog9 - ah, but were it not for this discussion I would have never heard the term "Bikeshed discussion" - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_Law_of_Triviality so it turns out it's worth it. Besides, I've just been using an internet argument generator to create all of my posts for the last few months - it saves so much time and effort. – Pollyanna Jan 25 '10 at 22:37
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    Funnily enough, that is exactly how we make moderation decisions... lord.xopl.com/ulpage3a/… – Marc Gravell Jan 26 '10 at 12:57

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