Best Before dates on threads

Wanting, to start pointing out or flagging /necro posts.

I used to be particularly guilty of this, a few years back. When you have something to actually add, it probably can stand alone in a new thread, anyway. On some platforms threads more than 6 months old are considered a /necro . Today we live in a world where timeous data is much more valuable, late inputs are just, late.

Basically a “Necro” is derived from the word necromancy. Meaning to bring back from the dead and re-animate. Hence the distaste we have for bringing back old things, since the past is the past, and we need to always be looking forwards. Someone asked a question, got an answer and moved on. And even the need to build a body of opinion or knowledge over time, is often best served by reframing and starting a new thread and ignoring a stale past.

Anything more added months after the Original Poster (OP) posting, is of no value to the thread creator who has already moved on, acted on the answers or even left entirely. Different communities define the amount of time for a thread to die differently, and some communities auto-close threads after an interval. Right now, my necro timer is actually sitting at around 1-2 years, probably closer to 2. I’d like to have help making that shorter if possible, to promote freshness all around.


Nice one, @conrad.connected. Thanks for sharing!

The Club is due a good old audit, review and overhaul so I’ll be sure to consider the “life” of a thread.

As a side note, sometimes a thread will reanimate because a spammer spams a post. It throws it to the top of the latest even after I’ve deleted such spam. Something for me to investigate to see if there’s a way to not let that happen.

Or perhaps with a 6 month or 12 month auto close, this might alleviate such a problem. Perhaps.

Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts and feedback. It’s much appreciated.


Yeah Simon.
I’m keen for people to hold each other to account, myself included. But also not ever make people feel guilty of a thread necro. Because often there is nothing more sad than finding a topic via a search engine and being so desperate for help, adding a related or clarifying question, hoping a previous participant in that thread is still around. I’ve often created a new account on a board I discovered in a web search result, just to get more detail on something online that nobody else is talking about.

We have so many smart people here, but not everyone has time to read through an old long thread. I don’t think an auto-closer of stale threads is necessary. I really love what your team has done with this community, because anything goes really. But hope people will feel brave enough to ask a fresh question more often.


Love that. :100:

Well, I hope folks like you and I — by asking fresh questions — can continue to encourage folks to do that.


I had the idea of auto-closing with the possibility to request opening.
Then its possible to open such threads, but with a certain hindrance.
If people have a strong reason to do so they would be able to.


+1 for this. I would be more encouraged to post new topics, similar to old ones, rather then always revisiting old threads. And along with the auto-close, also making it as easy as possible to post new topics, with a wide range of labels/categories so that it feels comfortable posting any testing topic (within code of conduct!).


…second that on the topic chooser thing, it’s a bit of a friction point for choices.

As a long time user and someone who regularly breaks rules anyway, blame me for any miss-fillings when I did not take time to choose a good one. :innocent:


The discussion makes sense. I do however, like being able to continue necro posts under certain circumstances.

There are cases where someone encounters the issue of the OP and has a (alternate/different) solution to add to the thread/discussion. The OP probably doesn’t care at this point, but users of the same situation/problem could benefit from the new input. With a closed discussion, the new contributor can either decide, forget it I just keep this info to myself, or open a new post just to refer to old post and add a new solution to it.

Another case is OP never got an answer/resolution in the thread, it may be nice to ping the OP to see if in the months or years since if they ever got some resolution outside of the thread. With a closed discussion, you’d have to PM/DM the OP, and keep that discussion private. Or open a new post to follow up, which in a way feels a bit weird for me.

To me, maybe a compromise if the forum systems allowed it, is being able to re-open threads by exception, like something of a request admin/moderator to do so with the content you wish to add. Kind of like moderated comment submissions to blog posts (or forums, etc.) where they don’t just show up automatically upon submission, they have to be approved first. The re-opened discussion can then auto-close again after the defined expiration time configured for posts. But I’m unaware of any existing forum platform that offers this type of functionality as a regular user (maybe it’s different as an admin/moderator).


pinging people is probably also good, like just send a message, but not everyone like using the way direct messages are a forground thing.

I think, merely @ ing a person , like the OP in the thread, who you hope can help from the old post will notify them if you start a new thread. And that becomes explicit. whereas merely continuing a thread when the OP unsubscribed, might be relying on the implicit (although nicer and gentler) way of letting someone just leave the room if they unsubscribed from the old thread at any point.

This has made me thing, everyone is nuanced, and making accommodations for people is king to communications, so it’s very good to be hearing some ideas. I participate in a large online gaming forum system, and it’s kinda terrible at times because there is no auto-locking. And I am just unable to ignore it when someone comes to ask a question 4 years later. I used to just jump in and that ends up notifying everyone else in the old thread, and that can by dozens of people. Which costs people’s attention, and sometimes, well, they uninstalled that game 4 years ago, and really don’t want to know about it anymore. And that’s what really kicked this thought off for me, sicne I now at least have the patience to give an answer to the necromancer that encourages them to not to it, but in a nice way. And I hope that each person we gently admonish will learn to make their own thread.