Some questions get closed because they are perceived as time sensitive (including 1-2 of mine). I see other questions that are open which I, then, consider as time sensitive like those hard drive recommendation questions. If you think about it, there are lots of discussed tools, software, process service.. etc which over time become obsolete or irrelevant. But never mind that.

If these type of questions are a big issue at the Q&A sites, why not have an expiration option, set by the user, where after that date, the question self deletes? So my $400 CPU question will be out of date next week, let it expire next week then.

I see the problem with search engines. They will have links to deleted questions.

Or a status indicating the topic is considered old or a voting system to expire questions over time?

  • While you're at it, make a request for self-expiring tags. If they don't get enough love within a week or two ..
    – Wivani
    Nov 17, 2011 at 14:37

4 Answers 4


A big part of these sites is having users contribute to a large compilation of knowledge for everyone who comes after. Placing a timer on a message is akin to saying "When I'm done with your answer, I'm just going to delete it."

Users cannot delete their own questions once they receive answers (with up-votes) to keep authors from throwing away other people's contributions. An expiration date would be effectively throwing away other people's content.

Besides, these sites aren't supposed to be used as shopping or product recommendation sites. So I wouldn't want to see this on that principle alone.

  • The people contributing answers would know in advance the question is temporary so there's no surprise if their answers are gone. Remember that one of the forum's disadvantages is that irrelevant/obsolete posts are kept most often forever. The proposed self delete questions are of special type and can be provided in a special section. May 31, 2010 at 20:18

Since you've tagged this discussion...

SO doesn't have to do everything:

SO is not my only programming resource, not even my only public and popular one, and I don't think it should be for other people either.

The best tools allow themselves to be used flexibly without trying to cater to every possible use; a jack of all trades is the master of none.

If the particular use you want really doesn't fit SO's model, you can try a different site.

  • 1
    No site has to do everything but models are flexible and features can be added if there's enough demand. May 31, 2010 at 20:21
  • You're wrong. Lately there has been a lot of spam on stack exchange. Anything that can reduce questions that are irrelevant should be included. Even if by 1%. I think all spam reducing features should be implemented. But the expiration should be set in groups of years rather than just 1 date. (ie 2 years, 5 years, 10 years).
    – mAsT3RpEE
    Nov 17, 2013 at 21:51

How do you know in advance when your question will become obsolete? Do you just assume that after a week, CPU selection and prices will have changed enough to make the answers irrelevant? What if the market changes significantly after 3 days?

Originally, SO had some support for this: there was a "No longer relevant" close reason that could be used to shut down a question once it became apparent that it had stopped being relevant. This was removed in favor of extending "Too localized" to cover such questions, as it became apparent that time-limited questions were a poor fit for the system: most time-sensitive questions are still of historical interest much later on, and those that aren't - such as your Pricewatch clone idea - aren't good for much beyond attracting spam anyway.

  • If the price drops after 3 days and the post gets deleted after a week, do you really think those extra 4 days would make a big difference and make a lot of people upset? I bet not. So after a week it's gone. Price drops, goes up or stays the same, the high probability of getting an answer which is incorrect is mitigated. Price didn't change? Oh well. Nov 18, 2011 at 15:59

That's a great idea.

They can just allow the user to check a box that it's a timed question, and they have a few weeks to get an answer, then it all disappears (except for the rep gain, which will still be there to encourage good answers). It'd probably be a little more work for the database engine, since the info has to be kept track of even when the question is gone, but hey we're programmers, we can do anything.

  • I have learned to not say those words out loud ever again, especially not in the vicinity of customers/clients, let alone when my boss is within hearing distance. I know it has become popular since Obama's Yes, we can but they're not tricking me again. Ever!
    – Wivani
    Nov 17, 2011 at 14:35

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