Logic of closing old threads?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by THE_RB, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. THE_RB

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    Lately there has been some instances of moderators closing old threads, when someone has come along and posted into the thread.

    Is this really the best idea?

    If the policy is that old threads are to die off and a person should start a new thread, the result is that there would be a huge number of threads on the same topic, asking the same questions and people forced to answer those same questions to provide help.

    Surely there is some benefit to having longer and more encompassing threads? When people search for a topic they can find some large comprehensive threads instead of hundreds of little ones, each with only a part of the information.

    And of course if old threads are meant to die off then what about the contribution of people who may have provided excellent and original advice, once only, in an old thread? Their contribution becomes diminished or lost, as the hundreds of new small threads on the same topic replace it even though their new advice may not be as good or as original as some older advice.

    I can understand if someone posts somethign off topic in an old thread that it should be discouraged, but why close a thread when the new post is ON topic and the thread could be allowed to grow and improve further?

    It seems (to me) that this policy will bring about a lot of small identical threads of lesser value, compared to what could be larger more comprehensive threads containing great original help from more people over more time.

    And what if a thread is the only one of it's kind, covering something well? If that is closed down just because someone makes a new post in it who gains from that? :(
  2. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    This runs directly against the hijack policy at AAC. An OP owns his threads, but not anyone elses. It is always OK to refer to another thread via a link, but not to take someone elses thread.
  3. Metalmann

    Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    "It seems (to me) that this policy will bring about a lot of small identical threads of lesser value, compared to what could be larger more comprehensive threads containing great original help from more people over more time."

    I agree.
    I've only been here a year, and I don't see why they are closed, and you have to jump through hoops to continue a topic......?:confused:
  4. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    By their very nature threads are ephemeral. Searching for your answer is rarely successful when reading other people's questions. Now I find the search function useful as I can search for my own posts to find my own answers when the fresh new question needs a similar answer I have already prepared.

    Short fresh threads completely owned by the OP are the best means of teaching.
    SgtWookie and Sparky49 like this.
  5. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005

    While I agree the search function can find related material, I don't believe that is used too frequently by those who pose the questions.

    I will agree those that "continue" an old thread maybe seeking additional material, the "new" poster's comments may or may not be germane to the topic they choose. Is there merit in reviving and old thread? Did the "new" poster add because they didn't see "their" answer in the thread? Did associative learning die?

    I'm siding with the Moderators on this one. Why would someone act as a librarian, starting a blog categorizing the threads in the homework help section? Well, the search function works better. Do we need a dewey decimal type system here? No.
    DerStrom8 and Sparky49 like this.
  6. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    Rather than close an old thread I would be more inclined to move the new post to a new thread.
  7. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    If you have a new question then post a new thread. I see nothing wrong with someone referencing an existing thread to show the user has done their homework.

    What is really obnoxious is when a user offers help on a question that is months even years old. I can't figure out what must be going through the brain of someone that does that.
    DerStrom8 likes this.
  8. bertus


    Apr 5, 2008

    This is the thread in question:
    interfacing pic16f877a to spi eeprom problem
    I closed the thread for necroposting.
    The OP has not been active since dec 2012.
    Also the one who made the post is probably promoting the mentioned site.
    All of his posts are with links to the same site.
    I even was tempted to ban that user, but I did not.
    I am still watching him.

  9. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    I, too, must side with the moderators on this one.

    Before a member starts a thread, he or she should do some research first to see if his or her question has already been answered. I expect this is already happening since old related threads are being dug up. However, as mentioned before, a member does not own anyone else's threads, only their own. Hijacking is strictly frowned upon here for several reasons. It is far better, in my opinion, for a member to start his or her own thread, and if reference must be made to another thread, do so with a link.

    When the moderators close an old thread due to necromancy, I think it's especially helpful when they move the post to its own thread and provide a link saying "split from so-and-so thread". However, no harm is done for just moving the post or closing the old thread.

    Just my $0.02.

  10. THE_RB

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    I'm glad you asked that, because that's the crux of the issue. Maybe they are trying to help, and offer help in a permanent way that can be of use to others for many years?

    Look at the thread mentioned by Bertus. The new poster offered a solution to the problem. OK, in this instance it might have been something like spam.

    But what if it's not? What if someone is browsing the forum and sees a thread on a topic they are interested in, where people struggled to help the OP. And the new person has a really great solution that nobody offered. So the person posts the great new solution into the end of the old thread so it can help others. That's the kind of thing I might do.

    Now when someone searches for that topic and finds that thread, they can see the original help that was just ok, and some new great help added to it.

    So if that is not allowed, what is the procedure? How is the person with the knowledge going to contribute? Are they supposed to start a new thread saying "Hey I found this old thread where people did not know how to do THIS, so here in this new thread I will tell you all how to do it"?

    And of course they won't do that... That's socially awkward. So the great help they might have offered to everyone is never posted.

    If the attitude is that the contents of a thread are ONLY for the OP, then why even keep any threads? Just delete all threads a couple months after the OP has stopped posting in it. Or maybe if the idea is that threads that helped the OP might ALSO help others in the future then why close a thread because some more goodness has been added to it?
  11. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    The contents of a thread are only for the OP. But others may still find them useful, If they need clarification on the subject or just want a new twist then they should post another thread.

    Too many people posting to the same thread just adds to confusion. When I am searching an issue, the last post I hope to see is Thank you this solved my problem.
    I don't want to see posts after that confusing the issue.

    What would really be nice is if you can mark a thread as solved.
  12. Metalmann

    Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    You guys may be correct........
  13. Georacer


    Nov 25, 2009
    Yes, that would indeed be nice. Most fora have such utilities available to the OP.

    I started typing that maybe we could do that manually here.

    However, I remembered the discussion we had a little time ago about how, in this educational site, the OP doesn't know whether his problem is solved or not, especially in the Homework Help section.
  14. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    This is an example of why it can be wise to close old threads if reopen by hijackers. This thread was started for about four years ago, hijacked by a user in post #7 recently. The OP is long gone but the thread has now a second life. For me personally this is no big deal. But if a thread is given a new life now and then, it can be hard to understand the OP(s) knowlegde of the problem. And that make it harder to give any help. As long as thread is just closed not deleted. The information is still there and open for all
  15. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    What frequently happens is that someone will necro-hijack a thread, and then someone will come along and reply, albeit belatedly, to an earlier post in the thread - so you'll suddenly have multiple conversations going on in the same thread; which can very quickly spiral out of control.

    It's best to leave the original thread tied up in it's neat, tidy package - and start a completely new topic, while providing links to the existing thread; particularly as to where in the existing thread the new questions are about. This saves a lot of time, prevents confusion, and the originator of the new thread now owns that new thread.
    DerStrom8 likes this.