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TL;DR

We are announcing that as of November 17, Windows Phone SE has been archived.

Why now?

The Stack Exchange network is a lot like a neighborhood. Each individual site makes up a house in that neighborhood. Some houses are quite large, and others are a bit smaller. Each house has different kinds of people in them, doing their best to keep things running smoothly.

As we all know, neighborhoods change. After a discussion between the Community team and the last elected mods, it was clear that the Stack Exchange Neighborhood would change. In other words, we jointly decided to archive the site. This decision was made because the last security update to the Windows Phone OS was in January 2020, and it's been some time since a Windows phone was manufactured. In addition, Microsoft made it clear that they would no longer support the technology and that no effort to open-source it would be made. Naturally, user activity on the site has declined as a result. With all the above in mind, it became clear that this decision was needed.

What about the content?

Earlier this year, we were approached by the moderators from the site, who pointed out that we needed to figure out what to do with the content on the Windows Phone Stack Exchange site. So we were left to either migrate the content to a different site – if one felt like a natural fit and there was consensus between both communities – or archive it on Area51. Either of these options would ensure that the content still remained accessible to anyone interested.

Much of the content fell under general troubleshooting, rather than meaningful content about the phone or its operating system. With that in mind, it didn’t make sense to us to push it to a different site for them to handle, especially for content that wouldn’t get much interaction.

If you are interested in viewing the content, you will be able to find the Archive link on Area 51 in the coming months.

Final Thoughts

We want to thank everyone who participated on the Windows Phone site for your contribution to the superb 10-year history of the site. Special thanks to the last elected moderators, Indrek and Rowland Shaw, for their input in helping us make this decision.

If you have a memory about your experience with Windows Phone that you would like to share or a great Windows Phone meme, this is the place to share it.

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    You could merge it with the Zune SE. Wait…
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 17 at 15:51
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    @JonCuster I had a Zune! Loved that thing. Preferred its UI to the iPod at the time.
    – SpencerG StaffMod
    Nov 17 at 15:57
  • 4
    Spring cleaning! (In the Southern Hemisphere.). Nov 17 at 15:58
  • 14
    Is this the first SE site to... run out? expire? Graduate-for-the-second-time? go-obsolete? "be archived" doesn't feel like the right phrase, that's what happened to the content. At the risk of sounding harsh, is "the site died of old age" acceptable?
    – Criggie
    Nov 18 at 0:14
  • 31
    Can you elaborate on why it's only available on Area 51? Wouldn't it be more useful to have left the site up on its current domain, just restricted the ability to post new content, edit existing content, sign up - effectively put the whole site into a readonly mode? It seems like that would make the content discoverable to anyone still interested in it. This seems like a poor precedent for future sites that may close if they are relegated to an archive on Area 51. Nov 18 at 3:10
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    Windows Phoned Home
    – Luuklag
    Nov 18 at 5:51
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    I have buried all my Windows Phones in a waterproof box for archeologists to discover in a thousand years. They all still work, so I've also included a parchment map leading to an additional buried box containing a great secret treasure... the power cords. Now, if they happen to discover the box with the power cords first, a great mystery will begin to unfold... Nov 18 at 7:09
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    @Criggie Yes, this is the first site that has graduated to be shut down. Dying of old age would be one way to frame it.
    – SpencerG StaffMod
    Nov 18 at 13:43
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    @ThomasOwens A read-only state was something we considered, but Animusion's answer still applies. That being said, I would not say that Windows Phone's fate will be shared by any other site as a guarantee. Question migration is always a possibility, which was considered in this case.
    – SpencerG StaffMod
    Nov 18 at 13:48
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    Wait, there was a Windows Phone SE?
    – CodeCaster
    Nov 19 at 22:21
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    @CodeCaster Scroll to the bottom of this list and you might find several that most SE-ers haven't heard of. Nov 20 at 12:25
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    @SpencerG can the Windows Phone SE be made into an static site? I mean just pure HTML. If so I think I may be able to host it away from other SE sites. freeing resources to more active sites. Nov 20 at 13:15
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    @ShadowTheKidWizard Ideally, it will be December, possibly January. We ran into a slight issue that is causing its delay in being made available. With the holiday season, it might get deprioritized till January.
    – SpencerG StaffMod
    Nov 28 at 13:43

7 Answers 7

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I felt a great disturbance on the network, as if millions of smartphones suddenly rang out and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

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88

Hmm

If you ever feel stupid just remember in 2010 Microsoft held a funeral for the iPhone after launching the windows phone 7

Source

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48

The Area51 site says:

closed after 3857 days in beta

But Windows Phone was not in beta. It was a graduated site.

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    This is correct, it's not ideal. We are looking to create an "Archived" state that better reflects its tenure as a site.
    – SpencerG StaffMod
    Nov 18 at 13:29
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    @SpencerG How about calling as "Dead"? Nov 19 at 19:20
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    @VictorStafusa-FORABOZO not unless you want to be stapled with an "M" ESRB rating :) Nov 20 at 9:22
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It wasn't all about failure...

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A huge thanks to the contributors and the moderators who kept this site going this long.

The site did help me a lot during my Windows Phone days particularly towards the last years where there were not many places where you could get help on Windows mobile.

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Well - In the case of windows phone I suspect no one particularly cared but couple of things for the (hopefully rare!) future instances of this happening:

  • Could we have one last spam cleanup before the site is archived? While SE has very robust systems for this, some slips through

  • In addition to the A51 archives, would a archive.org or similar copy of the site when it was in operation be possible?

  • What's the status of the site in data dumps and SEDE ? - will it simply cease to be and what's the period between sunsetting the site proper and removal from data query tools?

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    Yep, I wish they would simply move the archived sites to a static copy on a non-SE domain, but still keep them live. I've read the whole meta.stackexchange.com/a/359700 thing and I understand concerns for the SE brand reputation, but I think those can be solved by a non-SE domain, so windowsphone.stackexchange.comwindowsphone.archivedexchange.com and that's it Nov 23 at 8:16
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    SEDE refreshed today and Windows Phone is still there.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Nov 27 at 12:46
  • Closed sites have always had to be manually removed from SEDE in a separate process. (cc @Glorfindel) 2 days ago
0

It would be preferable to freeze the website (= keep it online but make it read-only) instead of only archiving it. Upsides of freezing the website:

  1. Much easier to browse than the archive.

  2. Avoid dead links.

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  • Well one major issue I can predict is people complaining about wrong/outdated posts and asking to edit them. Another issue is spam users being created just to flood Users page with spam. And surely more things. Dec 4 at 5:27
  • @ShadowTheKidWizard how do you spam a read-only website? For the outdated issue, just add a warning. Dec 4 at 5:28
  • I mean only the users page, so people going to see the users are greeted with spam/NSFW even in the names. For example here they already have couple of spammers called spammers (result of mods renaming spammers), few Chinese spam, and plumber. So imagine that page, full with NSFW names instead, and there's no mod to handle it. Nothing major, that's why I brought it as the second example, but still - a problem that will eventually require staff time to solve. Dec 4 at 5:45
  • @ShadowTheKidWizard I see. Maybe user pages could be frozen as well? Dec 4 at 6:27
  • Maybe, but again, this means extra time from developers. Anyhow, this is something worthy of actual feature request, where it might get better feedback. Dec 4 at 6:51
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    @ShadowTheKidWizard When a site is placed in read-only mode during periods of maintenance, it becomes impossible to create a new profile on them (or sign into an existing profile), so your issue is moot. Dec 4 at 9:37
  • @Sonic huh, that's good to know. But my main concern is still valid, people will complain about outdated info. Dec 4 at 10:22
  • @ShadowTheKidWizard just add a warning. Better than removing all the info created by years of human time. Dec 5 at 4:50
  • The info is still there, archived, but yeah, needs non trivial efforts to actually read. Essentially I agree with you here and upvoted, but playing devil's advocate to explain why it's not going to happen. Dec 5 at 6:28
  • That said, a solid feature request might be for SE to add "Archive Reader" on Area51, some external tool that will make reading archives easier, e.g. you upload an archive and get the posts in a table, or something like SEDE. Dec 5 at 6:30

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