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Occasionally, browsing through old meta posts on SFF, I come across questions about parts of the SE system that no longer exist or no longer function in the way described in those questions. E.g. questions about "flag weight" or "10k flag review tools", such as the following examples:

Over on main meta, they have a specific close reason for such questions:

The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question.

Should we do anything about our meta's questions about SE functionality that no longer exists?

Note there's a few different types of questions to be considered, and if we do want to start closing questions we should consider carefully which ones to close:

  • or questions about what to do with this or that now-non-existent functionality or how it works. These don't serve any purpose any more, except maybe to confuse people.
  • or questions about something that's since been solved or eliminated. These seem no more useless than any other or requests: technically no longer relevant after having been resolved one way or another, but the tags/comments/answers should make that clear.
  • Questions about the SE-hosted blog? Questions about old versions of the site design? Should all of these be treated the same?

Should we instate a close reason for SFF meta similar to the one mentioned above for main meta? If so, what kind of questions should it be used for? If some "now obsolete" questions shouldn't be closed, should they be given tags instead? Or am I worrying about something that's never been a problem and we should just leave well enough alone?

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    You're probably worrying a bit too much but what you've stated seems about right: a custom close reason to close ones now obsolete due to changes, update/add answers if need be i.e. question still makes sense but answer is outdated, add status tags where appropriate, etc. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 4 at 14:50
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    I don't think we really need to overthink this. In fact I can't remember ever seeing someone being confused over a long gone feature they read about on meta. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 4 at 14:50
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    @TheLethalCarrot - That was precisely my thinking. This is a problem that no-one is having in need of a solution (or none) – Valorum Sep 4 at 17:44
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    @Valorum "just ignore the issue and leave those posts alone" would be a perfectly valid answer, and one I'd accept if it gets community consensus. It's just something that bugs me occasionally, and I finally got around to posting something about it. – Rand al'Thor Sep 4 at 18:09
  • Would a historical lock be appropriate and serve the intended function? I think it serves the function but banner language that goes with it probably wouldn't make sense IIRC? – Skooba Sep 14 at 20:37
  • @Skooba No point in a historical lock for most of those questions. It's for cases when a question is definitely off-topic and not to be encouraged, but for some reason that particular question has some massive significance for the site which means it shouldn't be deleted outright. Most of these meta posts we're looking at are just boring run-of-the-mill stuff, only about tools that no longer exist. – Rand al'Thor Sep 14 at 23:57
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Where a problem no longer exists because of a change in the way that the SE platform works (rendering the original post obsolete), I'm quite happy for a moderator to just mark them as closed with a custom reason like;

The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question.

For added clarity, you might consider hyperlinking to the Meta:SE post that renders the problem obsolete.


I can't imagine that this affects anything of any note and in the unlikely event that someone objects, they can obviously raise that as a concern by asking a new question.

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  • Stack Overflow has a prescribed "not reproducible" reason for closure, even on Meta. Perhaps it's worth getting that reason added to all Meta sites? I guess it depends on how frequently this sort of thing happens. – TylerH Sep 14 at 13:15
  • @TylerH - I'm sure our mods can come up with an example of two, but I can't remember any – Valorum Sep 14 at 14:56

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