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There's a slightly worrying trend since we started clean-up efforts: we are closing unanswered questions for being too old. I need to emphasise that this is not what clean-up is about.

The idea of removing older questions is okay but only under certain conditions:

  • The asker has been asked a follow-up question and never replied (or never edited their post to add requested information) and it doesn't have a viable +1 answer

  • The post is so old that the version of Ubuntu it describes is no longer supported, making it off-topic and it doesn't have a viable +1 answer This excludes questions about upgrading away from an unsupported version of Ubuntu.

  • It's outside the rules otherwise and age has nothing to do with it.

... and that's it.

A lot of the focus on clean-up has been around the magical Answer Rate and closing unanswered questions does increase this rate... But it doesn't actually help people. You're spending time on something that isn't fixing somebody's problem.

When you find one of these questions, try to improve it, answer it, stick a bounty on it or just vote for it.
Let's try to get more stuff answered instead of spending time burying the evidence that there are questions we're not able to answer.

  • 2
    "The idea of removing older questions" Wait, wait, wait - this is confusing. Your first sentence mentions "closing questions" and now you're talking about removing them. Can you please clarify exactly what you mean? – Nathan Osman Apr 10 '13 at 21:14
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    @Nathan: closing is the first step toward removal. – Shog9 Apr 10 '13 at 21:26
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    @NathanOsman Removing from the answerable pool of questions... But yes, it is the first step toward deletion. Once we tar something as too-localised or off-topic we're essentially saying it's a worthless (in the truest sense) question and has no place here. – Oli Apr 10 '13 at 23:13
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    Also there is the zero hour... (what i'm calling when posts get auto removed by the system) – Mateo Apr 10 '13 at 23:15
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    I'm curious about "The asker has been asked a follow-up question and never replied (or never edited their post to add requested information) and it doesn't have a viable +1 answer". Never is an awfully long time. In this context how long is that? Thank you. – Elder Geek May 21 '14 at 14:45

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