I've voted to close How to convey a message that will convince an unknown person to not urinate next to my garage door? only minutes ago.

It was being mentioned on meta in: How should we edit questions that are an XY problem?

I agreed with the author of that question that this question isn't really a good fit for IPS, especially considering what I've learned lately about our scope. But it feels kind of weird to be close-voting questions that have existed for months.

I can imagine that as we further define our scope, more questions from the early days of the site are placed under scrutiny on meta. Should we close these questions, even after all the time they have existed here?

I can also imagine casting a close vote on a question and leaving a comment, without the question being discussed on meta first. Is this an okay thing to do, if it helps us define our scope? I'm thinking it could prevent "But question A was allowed last month while question B was recently closed, and they are very similar".

Should we go through our 'old' questions and re-define which are on-topic and which are not? Should we close-vote right away, or discuss them on meta first?


The day after posting this question, I've seen several questions in my review queue where a close-vote was cast retro-actively:

Sadly, the original close-vote caster never left a comment explaining

  • To the OP of the question why a close vote was cast after all this time
  • To other reviewers why the question should be closed.

If you want to do this fine, but leave comments or even better: a link to a discussion on meta!

  • 2
    The Q you link to has many (IMHO) UV++ off-topic answers (now deleted). But the Q is quite clear, the content isn't bad, and asks about a way to communicate, so, enough IPS to stay here maybe. And the accepted answer seems to have pleased the OP. But +1 for the global topic though.
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


If a question is close worthy by the standards of the site now, then it should be closed. The opposite is also true (should it occur) - if a closed question becomes on topic due to a policy change, it should be reopened. Question age is of little importance to this.

Questions that are a bad fit for this site now and are not closed tend to be used as justification for why a new question that is a bad fit for the site should be left open. If someone asks a question and then points to a currently-open question that isn't in scope for any reason - breadth, subjectivity, being off topic, etc. - the old question and the new one should both be closed.

This happens on sites all of the time. Meta Stack Exchange used to be the Meta for Stack Overflow and the rest of the network before it was divided up and I do occasionally see SO-specific questions go through the review queues with votes to close as "off topic, relates only to a specific site" - and those posts are often 4-5 years old and were on topic when originally asked (or 7 years old).

Part of our jobs as high-reputation users is to act as curators of our content. Sometimes that means looking for old content that is no longer appropriate for the site and finding ways to either edit, close, or even delete it so that we present our best to users visiting us.

  • Edit - If you think that some minor rephrasing can make the question appropriate without invalidating all of the answers, edit it or encourage the OP to edit it.
  • Close - If the question doesn't seem to be a good fit at all and no amount of editing is likely to fix that or editing will invalidate all or most of the answers, vote to close it.
  • Delete - If the question is a very bad example of what's not acceptable on this site, consider deleting it. This is more likely to be a consideration when we are repeatedly getting similar questions and it's becoming a concern.

As a moderator, we do have an additional tool. If a question was very much a stellar part of our site history and we want to preserve it, the diamond mods can use a "Historical Lock" to preserve the question and its answers but this should be very infrequently utilized and, at less than four months old, nothing here, even the first question asked, has enough historical significance to deserve this at this point.

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