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People don't seem to like discussing an old meta thread. Moreover, since members are always changing, I think it's meaningful to hear new members' opinions. Please notice that the members who participated in the old discussion may not be active members any more. So it's useless to expect their responses when you post opinions to them if that is the case.

EDIT(Aug. 20, 2013) I suggest that a near duplicate meta question be allowed under the following conditions.

  1. The previous thread is at least 1 year old.

  2. There is a link to the previous thread.

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    $\begingroup$ I've nuked the comments on the post. Please, try to stay on topic in comments and do not let comment threads dissolve into bickering and flame wars. $\endgroup$ – Alex Becker Aug 16 '13 at 4:19
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    $\begingroup$ Also relevant is that an individual users opinions are likely to change, and so they should not be expected to defend a stance they help in a post from two years ago. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Aug 16 '13 at 9:07
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexBecker There was someone's comment that says he agrees with me explaining the reason. I forgot his name. I guess you deleted it, too. $\endgroup$ – Makoto Kato Aug 16 '13 at 9:09
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    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be very much on-topic. I voted to reopen. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Aug 16 '13 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila et al. Could you explain why do you think this is off-topic? Otherwise I cannot improve the question to be on-topic. $\endgroup$ – Makoto Kato Aug 16 '13 at 22:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Jonas, Makoto: I actually voted to close using a custom reason. However the automatic comment was removed and I don't know why that reason doesn't show up. I voted to close because I don't think this is a sincere question, I think that the OP only posted it in order to justify his recent threads in which he brought up old topics, without any reference to any previous discussions on them. I don't like soapboxing. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 16 '13 at 23:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf: Thank you for explaining. I still am in favor of reopening. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Aug 16 '13 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ (I was wondering about why the question "does not appear to be about on-topic" and found this meta.SO question.) $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Aug 16 '13 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila What exactly did you choose for the reason for a close? $\endgroup$ – Makoto Kato Aug 16 '13 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Makoto: Off topic for a custom reason, in which I wrote that I don't find this question sincere, and all what I wrote in my previous comment. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 16 '13 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila [I think that the OP only posted it in order to justify his recent threads in which he brought up old topics, without any reference to any previous discussions on them. I don't like soapboxing.] You seem to be trying hard to object every meta thread I opened. If you find a problem relating meta, what's wrong with opening a meta thread about it? $\endgroup$ – Makoto Kato Aug 17 '13 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Makoto: These comments are pointless for the following reason. People do not receive alerts with the @ thing unless (I think) one of the following holds: (1) it is their post, (2) they commented on the same post above, or (3) they previously edited the post. Thus it appears only Asaf would receive the comment, and you have already commented to Asaf on his answer after you edited your question. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Aug 19 '13 at 23:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Makoto: Please do not try; there is no good way. They may visit if they want and decide what they want to do on their own. In any case, you do not need votes from the people who voted to close. Anyone with more than 3000 points may vote to reopen, or not. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Aug 20 '13 at 0:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Makoto: I can understand that viewpoint, but I like how it is. I think it helps reduce unproductive noise. I think this has been brought up on meta.stackoverflow.com, but I don't know a link now. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Aug 20 '13 at 0:24
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729PhD Are you assuming that (some of) the 19 people who upvoted Asaf's answer are the same people who downvoted the question? I see no problem with 19 people thinking the answer is good, whilst 13 other people think the question is not. $\endgroup$ – Old John Jun 2 '14 at 10:56
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There's no problem with bringing up old discussions back to the main page. The question is how.

There is a problem with someone just posting a two-three lines of text which completely ignores the fact that a topic was grounded to fine powder over several previous threads.

If a user wants to bring up, in a fresh thread, an old discussion they should make a very good case as to why this discussion should be brought up again, they should include links to previous discussions, explain why this should be brought up again. Give a synopsis of the results from previous discussions - main voices and vote tallies.

The above is a good recommendation for small topics. For large topics (e.g. homework related issues), this is not a recommendation. This is a necessity.


In either case, it should not look like this:

So I have seen people say this [topic] is bad/problematic. I don't think so.

(This is a hyperbole, I've gone to the far extreme with brevity, but the point is that it should look like a very long and very thorough case as to why this topic is worth being brought up again.)

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    $\begingroup$ It is extremely dismissive, and somewhat offensive, to state that one person's preference Is A Necessity for everyone else. Apart from this, the standard of what is a duplicate would logically be more permissive (of posting) on the meta compared to the main site. The idea that "voices and vote tallies" must be quoted for a thread to avoid closure is a new barrier that has never been used nor proposed on this meta. Dismissive phrases like "done to death", "ground to powder", "can of worms" and similar, usually are equivalent to saying I support the status quo, and you there, be quiet. $\endgroup$ – zyx Aug 16 '13 at 5:45
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the whole point of a (discussion) tagged Meta question for the users to voice their opinions? $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Aug 16 '13 at 7:36
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    $\begingroup$ @WillieWong, yes (which would be one reason to be permissive about duplicates and many other things, while we are on that subject, which is the topic of the Q and the A). Since we both know this, and know that we know this (repeat as necessary), I don't quite see what you mean by the question. If answers were exempt from analysis in the comments then of course that would simplify some aspects of the site, but I doubt you are proposing that. I suppose I can lengthen the one-comment opinion to further dissect the answer, but one was enough, or so I thought. $\endgroup$ – zyx Aug 16 '13 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: it is quite clear to me that Asaf is speaking for himself and those who agree with him, and not everyone. In the context of a discussion I do not deem it necessary that a user qualifies everything with "In my opinion." Therefore I really don't see why you wrote the first sentence of your first comment. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Aug 16 '13 at 7:47
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    $\begingroup$ It is not always strictly necessary, but neither is the generally opinionated nature of meta conversations an all-purpose exculpatory formula. In addition to the attacks on the OP and the relatively extreme position argued, you could count in this answer the number and fraction of "statements in the imperative", the overemphasis (multiple italics), dismissive pre-emption ('fine powder') and statements of opinion as fact. 'The question is this'. 'they should [do this] ... they should [do that]'. Or the aggressive ongoing comment battles with the OP. I think it was sized up correctly. @Willie $\endgroup$ – zyx Aug 16 '13 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: two words, "context matters". So I cannot answer your question as stated (especially not with the comments being deleted, so other users not able to see the context). I will stop here because this is really getting off topic. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Aug 16 '13 at 8:55
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: While we are talking about ad hominem attacks, do you need a reminder that you attack me pretty much every chance you have? When you first posted your comment? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 16 '13 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: the only personal (much less "ad hominem attacks") remark I have posted is the statement that your students in those calculus tutorials are lucky to have you as the instructor. You misuse the terms "ad hominem" and "attack" for entirely on-topic and restrained use of the meta site. My entire point in this regard was to ask you to exercise more restraint, and to stop derailing threads with off-topic material. Which is a perfectly reasonable use of the meta comment function. Perhaps you could deal with the request instead of treating it as an attack. $\endgroup$ – zyx Aug 16 '13 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: Let me quote, from a now deleted comment of yours, "It is actually quite difficult to have a discussion once you show up in the comments.". If what I wrote about MK is ad hominem, then certainly a long and offensive comment like yours is at least as bad. You were the one going off topic on this comment thread, not me. And don't blame Willie for it, you started it. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 16 '13 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ I said nothing about whether your writings on MK are ad hominem. They are attacks (which makes that part of your answer off-topic), and they are personal once you go beyond public behavior on the web site to make factual assertions about MK's thought processes ("completely ignoring", your italics). None of that has ever been the case for my comments to you: they stick to what is public and open for legitimate criticism. While you are demonstrating again the ability to derail threads, if you ever honor the request to stop doing that, it will a great improvement for meta.MSE. $\endgroup$ – zyx Aug 17 '13 at 1:00
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: Incidentally, I considered your comment a personal attack against me. You didn't make your argument as for why or what. You made your argument that I being Asaf Karagila am being impossible. I thought that "ad hominem" meant that the argument was "to the person". Apparently... now I'm not even a person. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 17 '13 at 1:13
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: In the meantime, instead of sitting here and insulting me over and over. You wanted so much to talk about hints and PSQs? There is a new thread about that, whose author clearly showed effort. So far, I see just my answer there, not yours. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 17 '13 at 1:17
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    $\begingroup$ Ad hominem is the use of attacks on a person (involved in a debate, say) as a way of discrediting their arguments. An example is your deleted comment that said -- I paraphrase, since the original text is not available --- "Ignore him. He is trying to provoke me into response A so that he can claim B. He is posting because he just wants to raise past issue C again on the meta." This is as explicit an ad hominem as it gets: stating that the other party has motives that make their statements unreliable or unworthy of consideration. $\endgroup$ – zyx Aug 17 '13 at 1:22
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: I'm sorry. I assumed that you're not just headbutting with me for the sake of amusement. I mean, didn't you TiVO the last Futurama? It was good. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 17 '13 at 1:26
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    $\begingroup$ I'm headbutting, if that is the right word, because MK raises a sufficiently interesting on-topic question to answer it or leave it open for answers, and you are doing total war to shut it down. Post a repudiating answer and cast the first vote to close? And comment battles (now deleted) under the question? Given that your English is much better he can't really be expected to answer every comment, unless you would like to conduct the discussion in Japanese. Also, MK aside, I object to the ultra-conservative stance in the question when it comes to past controversies. $\endgroup$ – zyx Aug 17 '13 at 1:34

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