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Locking old threads

  1. Nov 10, 2009 #1

    mgb_phys

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    I noticed I just replied to a new post on a thread where the thread is originally years old. Somebody has presumably come to it from Google.

    Is there an argument for locking threads that haven't been posted on for a year?
    A user can always be directed to how to create a new thread.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2009 #2

    Evo

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    We discussed it and some are for it and some are against. I did a massive lock in GD, Philosophy & P&WA of old threads due to new guidelines. Most of the old threads in these forums that are open meet guidelines. I may do another lock in P&WA since a lot of old stuff is no longer relevant.
     
  4. Nov 10, 2009 #3

    Moonbear

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    We seem to have a rash of odd necroposts lately. The worst two situations are when someone resurrects an ancient thread by some long ago banned member to respond to their direct question, as if they are still around to read the answer, and when some spammer resurrects a thread then someone else responds without noticing the date or that the last post is spam, then the spam gets deleted, and the unsuspecting member whose post is left behind appears to be the necroposter.

    I think a year might be too short of a time to lock old threads. Some threads do become relevant again very infrequently. Though, much older threads probably could be locked, especially if they pre-date the stricter forum guidelines. I think that was a lot of the reasoning behind the massive thread locking Evo is talking about. Some forums need it more than others.
     
  5. Nov 11, 2009 #4

    DrGreg

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    I wonder if it's (a) technically possible (b) desirable for the site software to automatically offer advice to anyone trying to post to a thread that's been inactive for X days (for some agreed value of X, e.g. 180): to ask, "do you really want to do that?"

    I guess the vast majority of necroposters do it by accident.
     
  6. Nov 11, 2009 #5

    arildno

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    As to the homework forums, I think the threads ought to be locked fairly quickly.
    The same questions will appear over and over again in these forums, and that is in itself Ok.
    However:
    Many inexperienced users necropost inadvertently, not understanding that they should have made a new thread, rather than tacking their question onto an old thread.

    Locking homework posts after a year or so will not cut short intermittent, interesting discussions, but will remove some annoying practices.
     
  7. Nov 11, 2009 #6

    Moonbear

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    I think that's the case too, that it's often by accident. I like your suggestion, but also don't know if it's feasible.

    Yes, that seems like an important forum for locking old threads fairly quickly. Leave them open so others can benefit, but if someone has a related question on their own homework, they should start a new thread starting from the beginning with having to show their work, etc.
     
  8. Nov 11, 2009 #7

    mgb_phys

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    More general threads it's sometimes reasonable to resurrect. If some invention/mission/event was mentioned that has now been launched/crashed into the moon/happened then reopening the the thread makes sense.

    It's mainly the HW threads I was thinking of. Many of the hw posters come here from google, they find a thread that has some of the same words in and post a new question on the end.
    It doesn't show up as a new question, is confusing if you try and follow the previous posts and often ends up making one of the previous answerers look bad when people confuse one of their answers with the new question.
     
  9. Nov 11, 2009 #8

    Borek

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    I remember being asked something like "This thread is 180 days old, are you sure you want to post?" on some forum (not on PF and I don't remember what was the engine).
     
  10. Nov 11, 2009 #9

    Moonbear

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    I think a combination of both might be a good idea. Automatic locks on threads past a certain age in HW (maybe 6 months...it could be fairly short there, because the nature of the forum is for questions to become moot after a short time). And, for the other forums, a warning like what Borek mentioned, just to point out the age of the thread and ask if the person really still wants to reply.

    I have NO idea if this is technically possible.
     
  11. Nov 11, 2009 #10

    arildno

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    I think a necro-warning is a good idea in general.

    A flashy skull&bones warning, perhaps? :smile:
     
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