I see a bunch of questions like How do I set a theme in Oneiric? that are closed as "too localized.... unlikely to every help any future visitor". Well, the answer to it would have helped me (I think), because I can't find the Appearance dialog either.

There's an issue with an Alpha/Beta Release of Ubuntu, what should I do? says I should instead

  • file a bug -> well, I don't know if this is a bug, and if it is it's probably a dupe, and I'd rather have that discussion first. Filing bugs about transient issues is no more helpful than opening questions about them.
  • forums -> kind of ironic for askubuntu to point there, since they have an even bigger problem with old posts
  • irc -> yeah, I can, but I'm disappointed. irc leads to people asking the same question again and again.
  • 2
    We still haven't locked down how we're going to handle these kinds of questions. The problem we have is: How do we keep the content up-to-date. It brings in a lot of man power to find posts marked for ubuntu+1 and on release day go through each and see "is this still valid?" I welcome any alternative solutions to the one we have now of simply "Close too localized - link to Alpha Release question" Aug 4, 2011 at 12:03
  • While I think this is a valid point, do we really need to go through every post and see if it's "still valid". Why not leave ubuntu+1 to be condemned after there is a new release. Whats the difference between closing them early and closing them late? I am not that experienced in stack exchange, so maybe my though process doesn't even make sense... so it's just my 2 cents with a grain of salt.
    – user606723
    Aug 4, 2011 at 16:55
  • @user606723 Because we don't have an Ubuntu+1 and because that's what the forums did - the Google Index is now polluted with old threads that only cause more problems than solutions. Aug 4, 2011 at 16:56
  • 1
    Ok, so why can't they be allowed to stay temporarily and then uniformly blown away later?
    – user606723
    Aug 4, 2011 at 16:58
  • @user606723 Propose it as a solution to this question, see what the community thinks - as I've mentioned prior we really haven't locked down any real means to deal with this. Aug 4, 2011 at 17:22

2 Answers 2


We've discussed this in the past and as someone who has been trying to go back and weed out all the old 11.04 questions that were asked before release I am convinced that supporting ubuntu+1 questions is a Sisyphean task.

As I mention in the post I linked, ideally as the release comes closer questions should become more and more "long lived" as nothing is changing as much. However we're neither at Beta or UI freeze, so questions tend to be useful for only that short amount of time.

user606723 says that maybe we can blow them away post-release, but that doesn't work either as by the time it's released we have a mix of useful questions already, as well as a bunch of "too localized" stuff. What needs to happen is we need to look at the tags and then decide for each one. This is a lot of work, and we always miss them (I find and flag old 11.04 alpha questions nearly every week, still!)

As far as "if it is it's probably a dupe, and I'd rather have that discussion first." goes, the format of this site doesn't really lend itself well to having discussions, but either way when it's released people will ask if it's a bug anyway, so we're likely doomed there.

I am in favor of having these sorts of questions handled in the subforum on ubuntuforums.org because they do end up closing the subforum at the end of the cycle and whatever is broken at that time will be looked at by people who might be able to help better than we can.

I know it's not ideal but I tend to err on the side of "keep it strict and tight" because the lesser of evils to me seems to be to have people asking when it's released or close to final, as opposed to trying to deal with things that are changing too quickly.

I would love if we had many more people editing questions to remain relevant but it seems to me that we can do a better job documenting the stable releases than grinding away at this problem.

  • But does it actually matter if there are stale questions in the system? Lots of askubuntu questions seem to me to be unanswerable (incomplete, refer to an open bug, hardware, whatever) (data needed), but I'm not sure leaving them around matters.
    – poolie
    Aug 5, 2011 at 6:07
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    @poolie Well it affects our answer rate, but if the community think they're useful and people are making an effort to keep them up to date then I guess. Aug 5, 2011 at 13:41
  • Oh right, that's a StackExchange measure of success, isn't it?
    – poolie
    Aug 8, 2011 at 3:24

I think that due to the number of people who confuse us for bug reporting sites for Oneiric, and given that about 95% of all current Oneric questions are about bugs, it's easier to close as too localized, because by the time stable Oneric is rolled out, those bugs will have been fixed. Ask Ubuntu is not for bug fixes, its for general support for Ubuntu and its software. ubuntuforums.org is similar, but they try and point you to bug fixes, while closing bug-report-like threads.

The goal should be similar here: if a bug is found and reported, it will most lilkely be fixed when stable comes along, and we should not be trying to fix Alpha/Beta versions of Ubuntu Operating Systems, thus the current way of handling things is sufficient.

  • if a bug is found and reported, it will most lilkely be fixed when stable comes along, --> is this actually true?
    – poolie
    Aug 8, 2011 at 3:29
  • note the "most likely". from what i've seen between 9.04 and now, most bugs that get reported get fixed during the alpha1->alpha2->beta->stable process.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Aug 10, 2011 at 16:50

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