I saw some very old questions in my close votes review queue (one from 7 years ago, one from 10 years ago, and another from 12 years ago) like this or this or this, and I was not sure what to do. Should I vote to close these questions? MSE rules and standards must have changed a lot since 12 years ago so I am not sure what to do. Since many of these questions was considered Ok back when they were asked then should today's Standards be applied to them?

I agree with @Anakhand that duplicates should be closed but what about other reasons of closure ? This question for example was recently closed because it needs to be more focused.

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    $\begingroup$ There aren't rules on this, but currently the community opinion seems to be that sufficiently old questions don't need to be held to the standards of today. There is an argument to be made that if it was 'good enough' back when it was posted then there's no need to close it today; equally there's an argument that a poor quality question does not improve with age and should be closed regardless. It's up to you to decide where on that spectrum of decision you place yourself :) $\endgroup$
    – postmortes
    Jan 31 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ Closing a question is the first step on the road to deleting it. If the old question has answers that, in your opinion, add value to the site, you might take this into account when deciding whether to vote to close. $\endgroup$ Jan 31 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ For your 2), note that The system will automatically delete negatively-scored, non-migrated, unlocked, and unanswered questions (both open and closed, including as duplicates) that are older than 30 days (see here). $\endgroup$ Feb 1 at 6:53
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    $\begingroup$ I would judge case-by-case, but my tendency is not to bother with very old questions. We still have cases where old questions could/should be closed as duplicates of other old questions. There is then no need to delete them, but they still should be linked to each other in a prominent way, and duplicates are a way of achieving that. The catch is that old-timers may/will disagree on the choice of the surviving incarnation. Frankly, circular closure would be optimal on some occasions :-) $\endgroup$ Feb 2 at 4:43
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1 Answer 1


I have a particular opinion when it comes to closing a question as a duplicate specifically, which is a bit different than the other close reasons (e.g. a duplicate should not be put on the path of deletion).

Marking a question as duplicate is a matter of improving navigation for everyone on the site. A duplicate is not necessarily a bad thing, because the same question can be asked in many different ways and often it is difficult to find a question with a specific wording if you used different search terms. If after a search you land on a question which is marked as a duplicate, it will be much easier to go to the other question that contains helpful answers as well as links to every other duplicate, which might contain even more helpful answers. Closing as duplicate is also not "punishment" to the OP in any way (a priori). So, the age of the question and the fact that the OP is no longer active are completely irrelevant.

I agree with the comment that "sufficiently old questions don't need to be held to the standards of today", but I disagree that this implies that old questions shouldn't be marked as duplicates if they are. Again, this is because I see closing as duplicate not as judging whether a question is "high quality" or "bad quality", but rather it is purely a matter of improving navigation on the site, i.e. improving the site for everyone. (Other close reasons might be a different story though.)


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