I have been finding old questions with close votes in the review section. Apparently someone is looking through old questions and voting to close because they are not within site guidelines. Perhaps they were, but they are not any more.

I have mixed feelings about this. I am new to the site and still feel like I do not have a full grasp on when to close and when to not close.

If we decide we want to do this we need to do it as a group. VTC's expire after a few days and you can only issue them once. The point is that if we are going to clean out the old stuff then there needs to be exposure to close the bad ones. I would like it if maybe we kept a current list on this meta post. If someone VTC's on an old question post it here or update the number. I think we should do this for any VTC's on questions that are 3 months or older. I don't have the rep for it, but once they are deleted that would be nice if this was updated as well.

Here's a starter list:

Does believing in Jesus Christ save me, or do I have to do something more? - 2 votes currently

What is God waiting for before He ends the world? - 2 votes currently

Are some people created to go to Hell? - 1 vote currently

Where did Noah find polar bears and penguins in Palestine? - 0 votes currently

Three Views on Salvation, Faith, and Works - CLOSED on 2013-03-31

If God is omnipresent, is he also in hell? - Marked as DUPLICATE on 2013-03-25

  • 2
    To be clear, my -1 on this post was to indicate disagreement with the method proposed here which seems to be the main thrust of the post. I actually agree with the issue raised in the title alone. Yes they should be closed. This just isn't how I'd go about it.
    – Caleb
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:18
  • @Caleb Yep. It's the meta. That's what downs mean here.
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:20
  • 1
    Glad you know that, not everybody remembers how meta votes are so different than main, and in this case there are two possible things to be voted on, so in the interest of constructive feedback I wanted to specify which one I was going for with my vote.
    – Caleb
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:21

3 Answers 3


I think cleaning up old questions is a good idea, but it should be done slowly and on a natural basis as people that are equipped to deal with them run across them. Often they can be fixed, but the edit process for each (particularly when there are already answers) takes time and care. Doing them as a batch will end up sealing their fate with a lot less TLC*.

The review queues already serve the purpose of getting enough votes together on individual questions. I don't see a need to maintain a list. Once one person finds and takes action in the form of a VTC on any question, the question is thrown into the queue and shown to more people who have the rep necessary to take action. They can choose to add their votes or vote against the action which will eventually cause the item to be removed from the queue.

One thing the close vote review queue does is show people questions that are specifically actionable by them. If you have already taken action on an item, it isn't going to show it to you. Once you take action, items will be removed from the queue for you. They may still show up in other people's queues until they are either closed or enough people have opted not to close that it considers it a no go. This is exactly the kind of work flow that will help cleanup these old posts without anybody having to keep an independent list in sync.

* Tender Loving Care for the jargon challenged.

  • Ok. I Still like the list idea though. Easy to see a record of what has been done and where we used to be. Thank's for the jargon footer ;) lol (laughing out loud).
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:11
  • @fredsbend Nobody is going to stop you from maintaining a list yourself, but my experience is they don't serve the purpose you are expecting of getting people to take action on the same things at the same time. The queue does. Chat also would if you wanted to make a concerted effort over a short period of time. If the purpose is to show where we used to be, wouldn't a few examples suffice? An ongoing hall of shame for questions we later learned were duds doesn't seem to serve a constructive purpose going forwards. (And yes the jargon was just for you :-)
    – Caleb
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:17
  • I see your point. The review feature is new to me and there doesn't seem to be a way to just see a list of recent reviews. I have to click on the user and see his activity. Maybe around five that highlight particular issues that we have now fully defined is good. I think I will try to keep a few in here, as time passes, then try to pick out the best ones that highlight poor questions that we will not except. Maybe after a while it could serve as a useful link in the faq.
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:26
  • @fredsbend The close vote queue has a history here. But you don't need that. If a vote shows up on some old question, it will be added to your queue and shown there until you take action or enough other people take action to resolve it.
    – Caleb
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:37
  • That only shows my close vote history. I mean to see all the questions that are currently closed. Is that possible?
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:41
  • @fredsbend Use search. Look for closed:1, sort by newest and go to the end of the list to find the oldest closed questions. Keep in mind those are also slowly getting deleted. We don't keep stuff around permanently unless it is hope or closed as duplicate. Stuff that doesn't stand a chance of coming back to life eventually gets removed.
    – Caleb
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:44
  • Ok. Well there it is. Is there a list of different search codes that can be used?
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:53
  • @fredsbend Check out the Advanced Search Tips in the sidebar of the search page or ask or search on MSO for some fancy pants stuff if you need something more specific.
    – Caleb
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 8:55

A manually-maintained list would soon be abandoned because it would take too much effort, and would be unfair to the listed questions because there is no "leave open" option.

I seem to have cast the initial close vote on 4/6 of the questions on that list. I do think the questions should be closed, but because it's the first vote, I'm intending it to be a suggestion. I'm not particularly concerned if it doesn't go through.

  • The review feature shows those old questions to people who either also cast a vtc, or leave it open.
  • If that fails, the mod tools have a list of questions with close votes, in addition to the close vote history tool already mentioned.

If that fails, we all try again next time someone else runs into the question and thinks it should be closed. This seems good and fair.


I usually VTC pretty quickly these days, but for the older questions, I've always left them alone because even though they're off-topic or not constructive by current site definitions, they weren't against site guidelines at the time.

Perhaps I'm looking at it wrong, but I've personally left them alone,thinking they should be grandfathred in. Otherwise we'd be forced to close most of the questions older than 9 months old.

That hasn't been unilateral,however. A month or two ago, I flagged one of my own top voted questions, asking a moderator to delete it because it was so awful I was embarrassed to let it stand.

I've voted to close some of the worst, but there is some value to having them around, for historical value - to show how the site has evolved. Even some of the really bad ones serve as good examples to point to when explaining why the site guidelines exist.

The only danger I see in leaving them open is when newcomers find them and mistake the purpose of this site. But it hasn't seemed like that big an issue to me. So far it's been easy to say "this question was from before we had things figured out."

Personally, I think we should leave them alone, unless they are attracting a lot of attention from new users and are confusing them about the current guidelines, and then close them on a case-by-case basis.

  • 1
    I don't think grandfathering should apply, because we're not punishing the person (it would apply, for example, if we decided to suspend someone on the basis of old questions). Closing affects the posting of new answers, and the present guidelines should apply to those new answers. We should not permit little "bubbles" where people can continue to post opinions etc.
    – Alypius
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 17:24
  • I'm Somewhere between you and @Alypius . I don't think we should make exception for all of them, but I think some are ok, and I would prefer to edit them if possible (considering the old answers and everything).
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 17:52

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