Should there be a better, more noticeable visual indication that a question is old?

I know that the question will have the post date on it, but many many users either don't notice the post date or don't realize the implications of an old post.

Older questions constantly generate flags by users who apparently don't realize their age, or are used in "but this question isn't closed, so why is miiiiiine???" whines.

In addition to these issues, it is nice to notify internet searchers that a particular solution is dated. In our business, a solution proposed a year or more ago could easily have been superseded with a better one. Again, some kind of visual hint that suggests to the reader that they need to consider the age of the post would be welcome.

Perhaps older questions should be visually "aged", similar to how posts with low vote scores are faded out and interesting questions have a different background?

What other ways can users be given a visual clue that a question is old?

Mockupthat is not mostly serious:

Aged image

  • 7
    If we want to show that something is old, I'd be more concerned about old answers than old questions.
    – HedgeMage
    Jul 14, 2011 at 17:26
  • 3
    @HedgeMage: I'd like to see an answer older than the question! I know its possible, but I'd still like to see it. I think it'd be pretty cool. You know, answer older than the question. I could, like, comment "woo take that space time continuum!" or something. I think it'd be cool. And stuff.
    – user1228
    Jul 14, 2011 at 17:30
  • 2
    Wait a second... Have you only gained 1.3K rep in 127 years!? Aug 5, 2011 at 11:02
  • @staticbeast: 11.3k, you young whippersnapper.
    – user1228
    Aug 5, 2011 at 12:46
  • related: Use pink background when rendering historically locked posts '(frankly I was originally dreaming about background like of an old newspaper, but decided to drop that to leave SE folks zero chances to run away mumbling "oh this needs effort, will take 6-8 weeks")'
    – gnat
    Feb 29, 2016 at 20:03
  • Ironically, this question is now old.
    – user1228
    Nov 7, 2018 at 20:27

2 Answers 2


I just know I've seen this somewhere before... but where ever could that have been?

Oh yeah, from here:

Alert! This ancient trifle retrieved from the Joel on Software archive is well-past its expiration date. Proceed with care.

(Unfortunately, the same site also explains why this probably won't work because users just don't read.)

  • 2
    You don't need to read a visual indication similar to my exaggerated suggestion.
    – user1228
    Jul 15, 2011 at 14:01
  • 3
    Yes, agreed. For what it's worth, I actually support this proposal regardless. Even if people don't read it, it would be nice to have something obvious to point them to when they come to Meta and use it as an example. Derp! Jul 18, 2011 at 3:52
  • Why put words on it when you can simply highlight the date? Whenever I open a question I always look for the date but it's quite hard to read. Aug 27, 2018 at 9:49

If we could determine relevance to current technology, then I'd agree with you. But some old questions are still just as good today as they were when they were written, while other questions written a month ago are not woefully behind.

I don't think that flagging, answering, and other maintenance tasks should be discouaged on older questions - we are not a shrine that gives better, or even different, rights based on seniority.

Information is only as good as its applicability to a given situation.

If a question isn't appropriate for the site, it should be closed and/or deleted. There are a class of questions that, for historical reasons, are going to be here even though they don't really belong, but "regular" old questions should be closed if they no longer belong.

If the problem is that people are flagging or answering questions that should no longer be touched, then the questions should be locked.

I'm not convinced that making the age of a question pop out to every viewer that visits is a valuable feature, and in fact it may discourage people from performing needed maintenance on older questions.

  • Did you mean to say not? while other questions written a month ago are not woefully behind Jul 15, 2011 at 8:49
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    "then the questions should be locked." I've been told by JA that locked questions are indications of problems. Locking isn't an acceptable solution, I'm afraid.
    – user1228
    Jul 15, 2011 at 14:02
  • "then the questions should be locked." As a mod, locking any question older than X days is not something I want to spend time on, and unlocking it when someone wants to contribute something new is also a waste of time. Jul 18, 2011 at 12:29
  • I don't think you need to do anything extreme as to lock or flag. But why not simply give a better indication of the date and let the user judge for themselves? I always check dates on questions and answers. It's very hard to immediately discern when the question was posted. Aug 27, 2018 at 9:51

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