8

You may be aware that IPS policy regarding answers - and more specifically, what does make them valid - has changed last year. We now expect answers to provide either literature citations - i.e. proof from figures of authorities in the relevant area, or personal experience - how has the answerer been (or witnessed) a similar situation themselves.

The community has been very active and looking for new answers to meet these requirements. When it comes to old answers (i.e. those that were posted before the new policy), those are progressively being reviewed and flagged/commented under accordingly. Most of the time it gets edited or deleted if said backup isn't added. However, there are some "old" posts for which no answer provides this information (an example here). The logical action would be to flag and comment them all, but what if none of the answerers can/want to edit their post and all of them get deleted eventually? The question is now unanswered.

There was an idea of adding a custom post notice about a year ago but SE, Inc has indicated that the network wasn't exactly ready for such a change yet.

I don't think keeping invalid answers on an old post for the sole purpose of having answers under it is a good idea. However, I can see how it may be weird for a question to get all its answers deleted months later.

I'm not sure what is the best course of action regarding this kind of situations. This is a very broad question (that would definitely be off-topic on main ;) ), so I'll try to sum it up: what's worst between taking the chance of all invalid answers to a question getting deleted and keeping answers that may be of good advice but which don't bring any proof of their efficiency?

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    Please, (new) visitors and (old/new/power) users, please, include a comment explaining your POV for every DV, here and on thé answers. This is meta, we really need feedback and discuss. Please :) – OldPadawan Nov 5 at 19:15
4

For now, we should flag and comment but leave the answers. Serious problem answers can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Calling them "bad" answers seems like a mistake to me.

Standards change, but it seems unrealistic to me that we can have all of:

  • Standards which we can change/refine/improve over time
  • A long-standing record of questions and answers
  • A reasonable burden on answerers
  • Answers which always perfectly conform to whatever standards are in force at a given time

It's a tricky problem, but requiring that answers be changed because standards have changed introduces an infinite burden on all answerers-- we'd need to be prepared to make (potentially) serious changes to answers, in unpredictable ways, forever, or risk having the contribution we intended to make be wiped out. Site standards will always be subject to change, and a long-standing record of questions and answers is literally the whole idea behind SE. If one of those bullets has to bend, I see little chance for that bullet point to be the "reasonable burden on answerers" one.

Worse still, in many cases it would be inappropriate and counterproductive to try to force in references after the fact. The whole point of evidentiary support is that people have reason to believe that something might work, and are therefore offering that suggestion. Posting suggestions and then afterwards hunting for and cherry-picking information that happens to support the answer already written is the opposite of that and degrades the concept of evidentiary support in the first place. And there will be some incentive among at least some users to just make up personal experiences rather than deal with the issue fairly, leaving the less-desirable answers behind without any improvement.

We already have a fairly weak rate of questions being asked, and problems with answers meeting the standards we already have posted. Anything which might further inhibit participation on this stack should be considered very carefully.

Separately, our "standards of proof" are not very strong. I'll agree that they're often better than nothing at all, but we have some significant and ongoing issues with what counts as "proof enough", nontrivial issues with reviewing and maintaining things posted as evidence in answers, and a massive lack of ability to evaluate self-reported "similar" incidents along with enough relevant detail to demonstrate the relevance of personal experiences in answers.

I definitely support the "back it up" policy, but I do think that the community at large may be overvaluing the form of that support well beyond its content or value.

In summary:

Our evidentiary standards, while valuable, aren't really airtight. Many answers technically meet the standard but are not really any better supported than if the support were not included. The drive to "purify" old question threads introduces a variety of issues, exacerbates other issues, and seems (to me) to be unlikely to actually address the stated problem in a meaningful way.

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    I'd like to outline that I never called them bad answers, only invalid (i.e. regarding to the current standards). I'm actually asking because I do believe some of those answers may be of great advice, as mentioned in the question. We (mods) wanted the community's insight on that matter. – avazula Nov 5 at 16:15
  • @avazula I was referring to other posts in this thread, not your initial question. I didn't think it appropriate or necessary to call anyone out in my answer, but would like to support and promote a more objective, professional tone when discussing site matters (where possible), and so inserted a mild line to that effect. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 5 at 16:17
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    we should flag and comment but leave the answers. < Any idea what you want to flag as, and what result those flags should have then? There's no use flagging them Not An Answer if you want to leave them around, because you'd only end up with a bunch of declined/disputed flags. Mod flag? Then what would you expect moderators to do? We could put up the post notices Em mentioned, delete the answer, comment? For comments, what would you put in them, just a request to edit the answer, or a warning for future visitors? – Tinkeringbell Nov 9 at 9:41
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    @Tinkeringbell I think I shouldn't have used the word "flag", since I meant "mark out" rather than "raise warning of an issue for a mod". I'm picturing more of a warning for future visitors, both that the answer doesn't meet standards implemented later and also that new, similar answers will not be accepted. I'm indifferent to that message being in a comment, or edited into answers as a header, any approach that leaves the warning up seems appropriate to me. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 9 at 15:23
  • @Upper_Case Do you think one of the post notices Em posted in her answer, plus a comment pointing out the changed standards will do? – Tinkeringbell Nov 11 at 18:40
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    @Tinkeringbell I do think that EmC's examples are good, particularly the "insufficient explanation" one (which covers all cases well enough). – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 11 at 18:43
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One option that hasn't been mentioned in the other answers is using post notices. Full disclosure: I'm not convinced this is the right way to go, but since some early responses here seem to be against deleting content, it might be a good compromise. So, I'm posting it for discussion.

As you noted we don't currently have a custom post notice, but there's still two potentially useful notices available:

Citation Needed

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

and

Insufficient explanation

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

So instead of deleting old answers which don't meet our current guidelines, users could instead comment and flag, and mods can add the appropriate post notice. Making sure the comment under the answer links to the appropriate entry in our answer FAQ or citation guidelines would supplement the standard text.

Pros:
If you feel bad about deleting answers then this would keep them publicly visible, with an official-looking and very visible way to let visitors know that they aren't considered "good" by our current standards.

Cons:
These notices aren't really intended to be permanent: as the text in both says, the material may be deleted. Never actually following through with that may confuse people more - "why hasn't this been deleted yet?", or worse "why was my answer deleted, if theirs only got a post notice?".

If we do this, we need to agree on rules for deciding whether a post is "old enough" and "good enough" to put a post notice on it vs. simply deleting via the current guidelines.

I propose the following criteria:

  • Old enough: if the answer was posted before May 22 '18, when we began enforcing the policy

  • Good enough: If it has a positive score, aka, cannot be deleted by the community. I suggest this so that the mods can simply abstain from casting their (unilateral) delete votes, and leave the voting entirely up to the community. (And as always people are free to vote however they like; if that happens to mean a downvote on an old, not-backed-up answer, that's their business.)

If you have different suggestions, please comment!

Other things to consider

  • We're a beta site.. it's expected that our standards will evolve over time. While the backup policy seems fairly stable now (after 860 days!), it's not surprising that answers posted (in the linked example) only 2 months after the site was created aren't quite aligned with our current standards. If the people who answered back then didn't stick around or don't want to update, that's unfortunate, but again, kind of expected.. So please don't take it as a personal judgement to prune content, it's a normal part of how we (and really any Stack Exchange site) curate quality Q&A - think about how the page will look to a visitor from $your_favorite_search_engine a year from now. (See also this top-voted answer from Jan '18.)
  • If you think the concepts in an answer are worth keeping around, and the author isn't responsive, consider editing in supporting external sources yourself (like you might add quotes from documentation on a technical site). (And of course, you can always write your own answer that is backed up.)
  • From the MSE FAQ, if an answer is 60+ days old and has a score of at least 3, the answerer will keep their reputation.
  • In any case, I don't endorse seeking out old answers to flag them, just flagging as you happen to encounter them.
  • I really like this suggestion. And the disclaimer about the answer having been written before the standards changed could also be edited into answers as a header, eliding the temporary comment problem. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 5 at 18:43
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    I think you hit the nail on the head in your cons. If we were to use post notices for this, I would be concerned that a we'll see a lot of "why was my post deleted if this one just got a notice on it" when we delete new answers that aren't backed up (particularly if they are on older posts). We already get a lot of complaints that the rules aren't applied evenly (because we don't see every old post) and I worry that codifying different handlings of content based on age could exacerbate that issue. – Rainbacon Nov 5 at 18:59
  • @Rainbacon exactly - and people won't know that's the reason unless we somehow work it into the comments, or they come and ask on meta (at which point they're probably already unhappy) - I'm worried it will feel unfair to the people posting new answers, either way :/ – Em C Nov 5 at 19:15
  • @Upper_Case hmm, a header seems kind of "hacky" to me :) but, I'd be open to it though if people think the notice + comment won't be clear enough. Do you (and anyone else reading the comments) have suggestions for how old / how good answers should be? For age, I would probably go with before we started enforcing backup. And maybe <=0 score (that way regular users can be the ones voting to delete, if they feel it's warranted)? – Em C Nov 6 at 16:20
  • I'm not a fan of the idea of a header. In general, I don't think there should be any information in an answer that doesn't pertain to answering the question or supporting the answer given – Rainbacon Nov 6 at 16:24
  • @EmC I'm not sure that mass deletions or notices in non-permanent comments are much less hacky, tbh, but that's not a strong opinion for me. I think that the date the new policies were enacted is a sensible standard. My bigger issue is that what the reality of the "backup" policy is doesn't necessarily make answers much better (in the ways that we want them to be), and so using a really stringent standard gains us little and overstates the quality of "backup" in ways that are similarly damaging as unsupported (and otherwise undesirable) answers. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 6 at 16:26
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    @Upper_Case well, we've already been deleting old answers that weren't backed up.. the only reason this came up now is because someone ran across this question with no backed-up answers.. otherwise I imagine the answers would've been deleted as usual. Also despite appearances comments don't actually spontaneously disappear :P We'd leave them as long the post notice is there. The part about backup policy not being useful / wanting to relax the standards(?) is a bigger issue and probably deserves its own post, though. – Em C Nov 6 at 16:37
  • @EmC It's not a solution, hacky or otherwise, if it doesn't at least marginally work! But my point isn't to suggest that current deletion practices need to change; it's that this situation doesn't seem to warrant a special policy beyond the normal one. As to the backup issue, I've tried to raise it various times and there seems to be little interest. That's the broader community's call, but the current policy (and our enforcement of it) has drawbacks which remain even so, and those should be mentioned where relevant (even if the community chooses to still maintain those same standards). – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 6 at 16:42
  • I didn't vote here. I don't find this solution to be bad, but I don't find it to be good either. In any case, I do believe that having a post notice would be better than just leaving the answer as is (and not deleting it) or than just leaving a comment (even if leaving a comment is good and should be done too, IMO) – Ælis Nov 12 at 18:04
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I don't think we should delete answers that were considered of good quality at the time just because they don't follow today's guidelines.

Besides that, people that answered took the time and effort to write the answer. We should value that in the first place. Asking for backup in the comments is the right way to do it if we wanna keep it on today's standards.

Imagine a situation that I wrote some high-quality answers and then left the SE network for a couple of months. When I come back, reputation is lower, some answers are deleted just because I didn't follow a guideline that was implemented during the time I was off the website. That's a bit dishonoring to people who invested time into the site.

OldPadawan touches on a good point on PHP 4, if nobody is using it now, why do we keep these questions/answers? (they're worth historically).

Besides, atleast the accepted answer on your example, worked for the OP and it's kinda backed up this way. It's not optimal but without the citation guidelines, the question would still be valid today.

"Old questions sometimes do get new answers"

They do but are these new answers going to be useful to OP (or addressed at all?). I don't think we should sacrifice answers that worked for OP in return for "fresh answers" with personal experience. We need to also consider that old questions may not get new answers so we left a question on the wild.

To summarize, I don't think we should hunt for "not-so-good" answers and delete them all to satisfy a guideline not applicable to the time they were answered. We should however leave comments asking for personal experience and if no clarification is given, answers with 0 or below score should be flagged as NAA and deleted.

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    If OP had said "this answer worked for me", then we could have added that in the answer which would make it backed up. But OPs sometimes accept answers without even trying them, so being an accepted answer isn't good enough IMO. So, really, we have no idea if the answer actually worked for the OP (or anyone) or not. – Ælis Nov 5 at 19:03
  • @Ælis unfortunately that happens, in my POV, I'm only going to accept an answer if it worked properly not just because I like it or the answers give some good points, that's what upvotes are for. We should make it clear for new users. – CaldeiraG Nov 6 at 8:49
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    I don't think the "PHP 4" example is useful - answers for an old version of software still have "backup" in the sense they can be proved to work for that old version. Here we're talking about answers that never had "proof" of working. And like @Ælis mentions unless OP explicitly says "I accepted this because it worked" we don't know why they accepted it, so that doesn't really count.. sometimes people just accept the highest-scoring one, or the one they intend to try, but don't actually come back to say what happened.. – Em C Nov 6 at 16:45
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    Another point: "Asking for backup in the comments is the right way to do it if we wanna keep it on today's standards." -- sure, and with today's standards those answers also get downvoted / flagged / deleted if the OP never comes back to edit those. So wouldn't it be more consistent to do that on all answers regardless of age or score..? – Em C Nov 6 at 16:51
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    "[answerers] took the time and effort to write the answer. We should value that". I agree, but we are already doing so by not removing the rep from them (because the answer has more than six months). I also agree that we should comment under their post but not doing anything if they don't edit seem weird at best (and setting a bad example and could lead people to not be happy about incoherence in our moderating process) – Ælis Nov 12 at 18:09
2

Warning: This is not a complete answer.

I don't think we lose anything by commenting in order to ask people to improve their answers (ie: provide back up to it). So, as a first step, I do believe that flagging as "NAA" and commenting under the answers is what we should do.

If one of the answerers improves their post, then we can proceed as we usually do (ie: deleting the none back up answers).

If no answerers react then, this is here that we should decide what to do (eg: delete every answers, do nothing or do something else).

1

From the discussions in the comments, I think, one thing we can do for sure and probably everyone will agree on, is that when we find these old questions with bad answers, we could post them in a special thread on META so other users could realize that said questions need some new good answers. A thread like the sandbox thread.

This shouldn't be done in a compulsory kind of way, but like when such a question is found by anyone they can post it there. It would't be mandatory and if the community thinks the question doesn't really need new answers it can be removed from that thread.

This will help bringing notoriety to those questions, and also probably just more experienced users will notice them, making it more likely that if they add a answer it will follow the current standards. Since, I don't think, many new users spend time at all in Meta.

It does have the con that only users that stop by META will see it, but we don't have many other tools, unless with we get the question featured, although I don't think that to be a great idea since it would be like highlighing bad content as good. And if a user that sees it in META updates it or adds an answer it will get pumped up in the Active queue, which would give every other user a chance to participate too.

If we add to that a comment in the answers we want updated saying something like:

This answer doesn't follow the latest policies on how to answer questions in this site. Please refer to this link to know what constitutes an answer that follows said policies and update it. Thanks for your contribution!

Then we would have a middle ground solution, one that helps updating the answers/questions, and that doesn't forcibly delete content, posibly losing important contributions or making people really upset (by loss of reputation or feel like contribution is not appreciatted).

PS: I just discovered you can post 2 answers! How cool is that?!!!

  • I, for one, would be more than willing to update old questions with bad answers, adding an answer based in my knowledge/experience. I just don't usually bother adding more answers to questions with a lot of answers because it seems unlikely they won't overlap. – Mykazuki Nov 12 at 23:59
-1

Policies change overtime and if we make it a rule to delete anything that does not conform to current policies we will have really little history left in the site. There is no saying if today "correct answers" will continue being valid in the future, should those answers be deleted then when the time comes?

It is true that bad, negative, incorrect information in this site has the potential to mess someone up. However, it is important to remember that is also the case for good answers with backing and other details. No one should take any advice given in this site at face value. Actually no one should ever take any advice blindly as a general rule.

Having said that, I believe that really negative/damaging content doesn't survive this site for long because of the arduous work the community/moderators puts into it. Any extremely precarious answer/question has probably been deleted long ago. However if there were some around still, then I think we should delete any really offending content, like we usually do.

The rest of the content that is not following new policies, but it is not otherwise problematic, should remain.

We should close old questions that are not following new policies, and request in comments to update answers that are missing information.

After some time if users don't update the answer I think the best most healthy thing would be to add a comment saying something like:

This answer doesn't follow the latest policies on how to answer questions in this site. Refer to this link to know what constitutes an answer that follows said policies.

Or something similar.

I would also update the answer itself with the same message on the top. I know we are against editing other people content, but this would be only a way to make future readers know the answer is old and possibly missing important information and in no way changing the intention of the original answer.

I know someone mentioned the fact that an accepted answer doesn't actually mean it worked for the person asking the question. I agree with that, I think in many cases it means they are going to do what was suggested on that answer, or that they liked that one best. I think that in most cases people are not actually using the advice and later if the advice worked accepting the answer. I think the style of "Q&A" pushes people toward accepting the answer they feel likely to implement regardless of the success they have with it.

Also even if they follow an answer's advice and they fail, it doesn't necesarily mean the advice itself was bad, maybe they implemented it wrong, or even so they did everything perfectly since humans are curious creatures it just didn't happen to work for that OP.

Everything written in this site should be taken with a grain of salt and I think we should encourage participants to realize that is important to take advice given here critically.

I see the value in people providing backing in the form of literature or actual experience, because this helps people understand better how the proposed solution worked for the answerer or how the literature analyzes that situation, but taking anything said here like it is the "ultimate solution" for a situation presented can be just as dangerous as someone advicing something without any backing.

If you do something that has no backing and it fails, you can say "well it was just a blind shot". If you do something that had a lot of backing and analysis and it fails, without the proper critical framework of mind, it can lead you to take it worse than if it didn't have any backing because you may feel it failed because you are a failure or something like that, when it just failed because no human being is equal to any other human being and there are no ultimate solutions.

PS about specific example provided in the question:

The specific example you linked is the accepted answer so I think it would be rather problematic to delete it.

It is missing information but I think it is possible that the answerer forgot to mention that is something he/she did or saw someone else doing. I can say I have seen similar things been done and they worked. If the only problem is that it is missing backing and the poster doesn't update it, I offer myself to help with it. I would be willing to add a sister answer that then we could link in the comments, or something like that proving the backing. Or I could add it in the comments, I am not sure for that particular case what would be the best if the poster doesn't update it.

Also, I wonder if we could take a similar approach with other old answers? Posting sister similar answers but with backing information if we find old answers that are missing information and we have been in a similar situation. Because I think updating the actual answer could be problematic in such cases.

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    I like most of your answer, but am rather opposed to the suggestion of editing the answer itself to include a notice that it doesn't meet our guidelines. Such an edit would detract from the post itself, and if I saw one in the suggested edit queue, I would decline it as vandalism. I think your suggestion of commenting is a much better solution. – Rainbacon Nov 11 at 19:17
  • @Rainbacon I can see how it could be troublesome, but If just moderators did it when they thought it was appropriate I think it would be all right, no? I say this mostly because sometimes people don't read comments. It is a shame that it is not easier to mark content in a way that makes it easier to realize it is sort of deprecated in a sense. – Mykazuki Nov 11 at 20:15
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    No, I don't think it would be all right if just moderators did it for 2 reasons. The first is what I have already mentioned: it is noise that will take away from the information in the answer. The second reason is that saying we'll only have the moderators do it means that we'd be making extra work for them. Moderation should be a community activity with the moderators stepping in sparingly to solve exceptional cases, so we should look to avoid restricting any sort of action to just people with diamonds. – Rainbacon Nov 11 at 20:23
  • @Rainbacon well regarding the mods doing it, I meant just if they wanted, if they happened to be around there and considered it appropiate, not like something mandatory. And as to taking away from the answer, it is still better than deleting it, because the answer/question is old and doesn't follow the current standards. It would be nicer though if we could just mark them as "deprecated/outated" in the sense of following the rules of the site. But such feature doesn't exists, at least to my knowledge. – Mykazuki Nov 11 at 20:36
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    Moderation seeming inconsistent is a major source of complaints.. "just wanted to" is not really defensible if someone comes on meta and asks why this post has it and that post does not :/ What would make it appropriate or inappropriate? – Em C Nov 12 at 17:49
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    For your suggestion to write similar answers but with backup - that seems like what we want to encourage :) If there are backed-up answers then it might be more acceptable to the community to delete the not-backed-up ones down the line. – Em C Nov 12 at 17:51
  • I downvoted because I disagree with the idea of leaving around posts that don't follow our back up policy (because it's setting a bad example). However, I absolutely agree with the idea of having new, backed up, answers instead. – Ælis Nov 12 at 18:02
-2

I really dislike the idea of keeping not backed up (and potentially bad) answers around. Especially since bad IPS answers could have really bad consequences (like ruining your relationship with someone).

Even if it's unlikely to happen, old questions sometimes do get new answers.

In the case where no one when to improve their old answers to meet our quality criteria, we would definitively want (a) new answer(s) to be posted. And, IMO, a new answer is more likely to be posted if the question doesn't have any pre-existing answers (that are not deleted) because they will be visible in the unanswer tab.

So, if we delete every (invalid) existing answer from a question, we would improve its chances to get a valid answer (which is what we want). (note: we could also do that by posting a bounty on the question if we really want the question to get a valid answer).


TL:DR

Let's delete them all!

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    The problems I see with deleting all this stuff: 1. people who invested time to answer will lose it (and the rep, when any...) 2. compare with SO -> would you delete all of PHP 4 questions because we went up to PHP 7 (all PHP 4 are now totally useless for a professional daily basis use, they're only worth "historically"). – OldPadawan Nov 5 at 15:10
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    @OldPadawan I think the difference here is that the PHP 4 questions and answers are still high quality. Just because the technology is dated, doesn't change the fact that the answers are high quality. The point of this question is that un-backed-up answers are not high quality. – Rainbacon Nov 5 at 15:12
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    @OldPad Note that since the post is sufficiently old, there shouldn't be any rep loss. Don't get me wrong, that won't stop the uproar, but it won't be that bad. – scohe001 Nov 5 at 15:16
  • @Rainbacon : agree, but for one argument = are high quality Q&A still useful when outdated (and therefore, not really useful anymore?)? Do we have to keep only up-to-date Q&A or all of them? That's my main concern here ;) – OldPadawan Nov 5 at 15:30
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    @OldPadawan to use your SO example. Just because a technology is outdated doesn't mean that nobody is still using it. For example, as I understand it, there's still a lot of Fortran code running in production that someone has to support, even though new applications are not likely to be written in Fortran. Coming back to IPS though, I don't know that the issues we deal with here will ever be outdated, so I don't know that the SO comparison is even extremely useful – Rainbacon Nov 5 at 15:33
  • @Rainbacon Issues will absolutely become dated. Social standards define what are good interpersonal skills, and those clearly change over time. I once found an old book (~1960's) at a used bookstore about how women should navigate social situations, and the book was titled Just Ask a Man (which reflected the advice on the few pages I looked at). An answer citing that book would be "acceptable" per site standards, but the idea that that advice is appropriate or useful today is... hard to defend, at best. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 5 at 16:10
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    I downvoted this one, and per @OldPadawan 's comment on the question will mention why. This answer includes a fairly reasonable plan, but I disagree with the idea that retconning references into old answers is wise, am uncertain of how many new, updated-policy-conforming we will get as a result, dislike the characterization of old answers being called bad or invalid based on an ex post facto standard, and feel that the tone and spirit of the "delete them all!" sentiment here is disrespectful to the efforts of those who built this stack up in the first place. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 6 at 16:21
  • @Upper_Case I know you mean well, but please don't tell me that my post feels rude without suggesting how I could improve. Otherwise, it's just discouraging (like a lot) – Ælis Nov 7 at 12:28
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    @Ælis I thought I'd laid it out, but I'll be more specific: I think that the description of the old answers as all "bad" is not supported very well and is unkind, especially since that description likely comes from standards that didn't exist when they were written and don't necessarily improve answers very much (though they certainly can). I also think this answer is very casual about and dismissive of the efforts those users put in in the earlier days of the site, without which there might not still be an IPS stack in the first place. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 7 at 14:09
  • @Upper_Case I edited, I hope it's better. – Ælis Nov 7 at 14:31
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    FWIW, I upvoted this answer for two reasons: 1. I don't think age should matter when reviewing posts, and 2. it's consistent with what we've been doing since we started enforcing the backup policy. As far as early contributions.. that's what happens when site policy has a significant change.. if the users aren't around anymore / don't want to update, we can take the Marie Kondo route and thank the answers for their service, then clean them up :) And for the age we're talking about here the users would retain the rep if the score was 3+. (We're supposed to focus on content, not users anyway.) – Em C Nov 12 at 17:47
  • @Rainbacon actually SO is filled with many many questions and answers that do not follow today standards, they close them and put a message "this question is kept for historical reasons". Or a message similar. It would be nice if we could do the same with the answers. – Mykazuki Nov 12 at 23:22
  • @Ælis I see something odd, do you have 2 separate answers to this question? I didn't know you could do that XD – Mykazuki Nov 12 at 23:23
  • The problem is that wanting to delete content that was valid at one point because IPS answers can have extremely bad consequences is a fallacy. Anything in reality can have really bad consequences. You have no idea the rabbit holes I have been down to thanks to SO answers. And you could "but that is not so important as IPS, since they don't advice you in life changing matters" well, what they say affects work, studies, free-time, even the love for development.(cont...) – Mykazuki Nov 12 at 23:31
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    @mykazuki the historical lock on SO is used for questions, specifically questions that are now considered off topic, but are very well known (lots of views and votes). Any edits to bring such a post in line with the current day standards would invalidate all of the answers. This meta is specifically concerned with answers which, if edited to meet the citation guidelines, would still be a good answer to the question asked, so I don't see any reason to use a historical lock. – Rainbacon Nov 13 at 13:00

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