I notice a lot when I search on, e.g., askubuntu.com or stackoverflow.com, sometimes I will get some very old answers that no longer apply to any environment currently being used by the majority of answer-seekers. (For example, I will never care about how people got screen savers in Ubuntu 12, a decade later, or what the Git command for rebasing a number of commits onto a branch was before git rebase was user friendly.)

Are posts ever archived currently? I searched but did not find an archival policy (maybe I searched in the wrong places). More philosophically, shouldn't posts age out at some point? My understanding of the goal of SE sites was to provide a repository of useful knowledge; if the knowledge is obsolete, don't SE sites fall prey to the same weakness as ye olde forums, eventually?


2 Answers 2


I do not think that Stack Exchange posts should ever be archived.

If they are still useful they should maintain a positive vote (more upvotes than downvotes).

If they are no longer useful they should be downvoted until they start to be eligible for delete votes to remove them from the site.


There are several options available that could be considered "archiving": closing, deleting, or (historical) locking. But typically posts about old techs are left alone, for several reasons:

  • Some people use these old versions for one reason or another, and information on other sites grows more and more scarce as links rot. And sometimes the new way has a critical flaw that makes you want to use the old way.

  • Not "archiving" posts prevents all arguments about what's relevant and too old to be kept around.

  • Applying any moderation action on the scale needed is a lot of effort.

  • With answers, only deletion is really an option to remove it from its spot under the question, and that's too extreme.

  • There are often better actions than "archiving". For example, a question about how to rebase commits should be left open and unlocked and have a new answer posted on it that explains the new command, even if it was asked before that was available. You can also downvote any answers that you don't find useful, though this may not help for some time.

However, consider asking on the child meta for more specific policies. This very site, Meta Stack Exchange, does have a site-specific policy: close questions when no longer reproducible (but no real policy on outdated answers). And it makes sense for the unique needs of this site (what use is a feature request to change the appearance of a long-gone page on the website?).

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