29

This discussion recently popped up on Active Questions because of a new answer.

Ever since then, there have been EOL flags in the Close Vote queue for questions that were not EOL when asked; there are some from 2015, 2012, 2011, etc. None of these flags should have been cast, but I believe that discussion being revived may have had something to do with it.

For instance, this review item, about upgrading from 11.10 to 12.04, was flagged as EOL. It was asked May 14, 2012, and was very much on topic then.

Here are some other examples:

There are more, but I think that is enough.

If a question about a (now) EOL release was asked when that release was still supported, please don't flag it as EOL. It's pointless, incorrect, and just clogs up the already congested Close Vote queue.


There seems to be some misunderstanding (did I mislink a review?). If you find an old question without a very good (or accepted) answer, by all means, VTC or flag that. We might as well close it, since answers aren't really going to help anyone.

I am merely saying don't VTC/flag a question as EOL if it was not EOL at the time.

26

I agree with head post and I'd go further. If in doubt, leave the old stuff alone.

I know there are strong views, particularly about our "unanswered questions" number but it's just a statistic and "fixing" it by closing and deleting a load of old stuff is only conditioning that number.

Removing old posts doesn't actually help people. Of course that's completely too broad a statement to always be true but in general, scouring posts from two or three years ago, looking for issues is only going to result in your throwing a bunch of time into nothingness.

Just remember the aim of the site isn't to have the best unanswered score on the network, it's to help people. If you find yourself consistently looking at ancient stuff —as can really be the case when you spend too long in review— take a step back and find a better place to put your effort in.

Answering and curating today's questions is the absolute best thing you can do on the site. The easiest place to stay on top of current questions is the New Questions page.

Review is important because it also highlights new issues, but I really wish there was a time filter on there so people aren't just removing posts, they're writing new answers too.

  • 1
    +1 "it's just a statistic and "fixing" it by closing and deleting a load of old stuff is only conditioning that number." – don.joey Sep 28 '16 at 8:57
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    Let's not get too carried away with a time filter. How would anyone earn the Revival or Necromancer badges? ;-) – Elder Geek Sep 28 '16 at 23:17
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    Why the obsession over "unanswered questions" anyway? Stuff may be old but from time to time they can get answered much later on: superuser.com/questions/129032/… Quality/substance over a mere metric. – prusswan Sep 30 '16 at 7:12
13

Yes, it is the wrong close reason. However, if an old question is unanswered, and specific to an EOL version, then I believe it should be closed because the problem cannot be reproduced.

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    What about leaving a comment and seeing OP responds in x number of days where x remains to be determined? – edwinksl Sep 26 '16 at 13:37
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    If OP is active, I agree leaving a comment before voting to close is often a good idea. – Zanna Sep 26 '16 at 13:40
  • @edwinksl: I don't understand what the point is of helping people with EOL versions who asked the question when it wasn't EOL. But now it is, so why should we still support them? Nobody should be on EOL any more, it seems ridiculous to me. – user364819 Sep 26 '16 at 16:41
  • @ParanoidPanda To be honest, I don't have a strong argument. I think they should be closed as no repro like Zanna said. Or maybe we need a new close reason, but this is probably asking for too much. – edwinksl Sep 26 '16 at 17:18
  • @edwinksl: I think it would be good if we could 'archive' questions. – user364819 Sep 26 '16 at 17:51
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    @ParanoidPanda You could put in a feature request but I doubt it will be worked on... – edwinksl Sep 26 '16 at 19:11
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    EOL != cannot be reproduced. If you want to close a question for "EOL", make a request to list that as a close reason. If you want to close for low quality, do it. Don't make a claim that you have no evidence for. – prusswan Sep 30 '16 at 7:12
  • @prusswan EOL is a close reason. But I stand by what I said; if the problem is specific to an old version, and we cannot reproduce it without installing that version, then we cannot reproduce it within the scope of Ask Ubuntu – Zanna Dec 28 '16 at 14:56
7

I think it is a good idea to go through old questions that have slipped through the cracks and flag them correctly, if they were EOL at the time. However, flagging them incorrectly as EOL only wastes your and the reviewers' time. If you are unsure whether a question can be considered as EOL at the time of its posting, consult https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Releases.

  • I've added some emphasis where I think it should have been. Hopefully, I haven't changed the meaning. – TheWanderer Sep 26 '16 at 0:44
  • I like the italics. – edwinksl Sep 26 '16 at 0:44
  • you do do you? – TheWanderer Sep 26 '16 at 0:44
  • It makes no sense to flag old questions. If it is you who VTC 3-4 year old questions, please stop it. – Pilot6 Sep 26 '16 at 19:36
  • @Pilot6 No I didn't put them into the close queue if that's what you are asking. But if I do come across them in the review queue, I will act accordingly. It appears you have strong opinions on this, so please do post an answer so we can discuss. – edwinksl Sep 26 '16 at 19:39
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    @Pilot6 it's not edwinksl it is me for one, and I don't see how it's treading on anyone's toes really. The skip button is very useful... – Zanna Sep 26 '16 at 20:08
  • @Zanna Someone flags or VTC a lot of old questions. It is really annoying. – Pilot6 Sep 26 '16 at 20:11
3

I have nothing against closing those questions that were only valid for a specific period of time and can't be reproduced as such. That being said,

I share the annoyance at finding old questions that were valid when asked in the close queue. It's particularly annoying when the question has an accepted answer.

These questions should be preserved and voting to Leave open is a better choice than skip in this case. IMHO Skip is what you do when you don't know enough to do anything else.

  • I agree with you particularly about the posts with accepted answers. I think it's a waste of votes to close them as anything but dupes (which might help folks find information more easily) But for unanswered questions, if we can't answer them now (because we can't reproduce the problem), then I think closing them has the positive effect of tidying up our house... – Zanna Sep 29 '16 at 7:03
  • @Zanna I would tend to agree, with the caveat that care must be taken to insure that the problem is indeed version specific. – Elder Geek Sep 29 '16 at 14:18
  • I agree entirely :) – Zanna Sep 29 '16 at 14:20
3

The problem is when Community bumps an old question about a release which is now EOL, due to its not having an accepted answer. It's probably not going to get one now, so it will be bumped over and over and over. There must be a way to prevent that; closing it as EOL is the closest thing I can see.

  • Very good point! This problem makes for a new meta question on its own, this way we could make it a feature request. Do you mind adding it as one? – dessert Nov 25 '17 at 8:39
  • @dessert Should I tag it feature-request or discussion? I'm not exactly sure what would be the best way to deal with this, only that there should be one. – fkraiem Nov 25 '17 at 8:45
  • I'd go with feature-request and discussion, this way it clearly invites to talk about changing Comunity's behaviour for that matter. Of course link to this question so that people can read what's already been said! – dessert Nov 25 '17 at 8:49
  • The only way to disable that functionality is to yank it away entirely. Or for the original poster to accept an answer. I don't think they're going to alter Community-system-user behavior just for this. – Thomas Ward Nov 27 '17 at 15:53
2

If the question is open, unanswered, and talks about a version that is now End of Life then my general view is that it isn't helpful. Within this site's context, it doesn't help anyone in the present to know there was an unanswered question in the past that got moldy and decayed. There certainly are development and usability research reasons for wanting to know about such questions but that's not what AskUbuntu is here for.

  • That's why we have the "went away on its own/non-repro" close reason. – TheWanderer Oct 9 '16 at 22:01
  • @TheWanderer Where is this non-repro close reason? I don't see it... – fkraiem Nov 25 '17 at 8:29

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