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Confusion of bringing ancient threads back to life vs starting anew....

A la: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
Is there some way to discourage people from finding some ancient thread on a restaurant (i.e. 5 years old) and then adding something new and completely up-to-date to it? This has happened recently on the DC board a couple times (I did it myself a couple weeks ago... responding to someone's question about a restaurant and then realizing later that the OP was a couple years old). Maybe don't have a reply button on posts that are a year old? Or 6 months old? I mean what's the point of replying to something that old vs starting a new topic? Is it just me? :)

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  1. One proposed solution is to make the non-advanced search return results only from the past year.

    On the SF board people are regularly responding to four-year old topics when there are current topics on exactly the same subject.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      That's an excellent suggestion (that non-advanced search only goes back a year), I'd second that.

      There's amusement value in seeing someone provide recommendations for another's weekend getaway...that happened three years ago, but overall it's just annoying.

    2. Why is this a problem? Some topics are timeless. Some topics keep coming up time and again. Even if the original poster isn't around, or in need of the answer, someone else might be interested in the answer.

      Admittedly, it may be more appropriate to add to an old thread in an area like 'home cooking' than when dealing with 'latest and trendiest restaurants'.


      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        The most annoying thing is when somebody bumps a years-old topic along the lines of e.g. "best Vietnamese" in which people recommend places that have closed, moved, gone downhill, improved, or changed their hours, and that's missing current favorites that opened more recently.

        If it's the only topic on the subject, no problem, but usually there are several or even dozens of more recent topics with current information. I've seen newbies bump four-year-old topics when there was a similar one with the latest post added that very day.

      2. It's a problem like today on the LA board when someone revived a four-year old thread just to tell us that one of the restaurants mentioned in the thread is out of business. Gee, thanks for telling us!

        1 Reply
        1. re: nakni

          I've mentioned before, it's conceivable of creating a threads sort option that is not strictly based on the date of the most recent reply, but instead some sort of weighted averaging of the message dates, so that threads appear based on overall freshness.

        2. This is very, very irritating. While some threads are timeless, it seems to me that most of the time the threads being resurrected are time-sensitive. Most of them involve someone from years and years ago asking "Going to so-and-so this weekend, where should I eat?" and people replying with recommendations as if the post was current. Now that this person has bumped the thread up a load of other people start posting their recs too.


          Threads should have the date of the original post marked clearly in the search results so people will know they are about to reply to something posted while Saddam Hussein was still in power. Yes, people should know this from the date in the post body, but obviously that hasn't been working. Or do away with bumping, as most message boards do. People can use the search function to find info on old topics.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Bad Sneakers

            Assuming the restaurant is still open, what would be the problem with fresh recommendations appearing on on a thread that was starting a couple of years ago?

            One of the problems with the old CH software was that there were dozens, sometimes hundreds of threads started on the same restaurants. Often there was excellent information buried in these old threads but most people never saw it because they focused on the newest posts. Now old threads are bumped to the top whenever someone adds to them. Those of us who used Hot Posts always saw those new posts but now everyone can.

            It really isn't that hard to read the date at the top of every post. Then you can decide whether you think the information is relevant or not.

            1. re: Bob Martinez

              If there are 15 topics over five years where a post might go, and a newbie chooses one that hasn't been updated in four years, the freshest information's getting mixed in with very stale information.

              It's not a huge problem but tweaking the default search results could surely help promote the updating of the freshest topics.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                In theory that could be a problem. In practice restaurants are more consistent than not. On the Manahattan board if I read one more "What should I order at Babbo?" thread I will go feral and start hunting with wolves. The ones from 5 years ago are interchangeable the ones from last week.

                The search engine already offers a sort choice between "score" and "date." If the site engineers wanted to change the default to sort by date *within* score it wouldn't be a bad idea but there are other things I'd like to see first.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  When topics are on single restaurants that are still open and good, bumping's not a problem.

                  In San Francisco places frequently go downhill under new owners or new chefs, or after they've expanded to multiple branches. Any bumped four-year-old topic that touches on several restaurants will usually be way off base about one of them.

            2. re: Bad Sneakers

              If you prefer not to see threads bumped to the top when new replies occur, please set your preference to 'Date Started', an option available at the top of every board.

              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                I don't know how I managed to miss that (I feel like a fool, it's right there clear as day), but thank you for pointing this out to me. It's completely changed my experience on the New Chowhound. Thank you!

            3. I've posted this before -- I think that older threads should be archived or locked so they are "read only." There is an extensive treasure trove of interesting and informative writing on chowhound which should be preserved, but I really believe that -- especially with regard to restaurant postings -- the older threads should NOT be revived, because whatever limited benefit the information in the post still contains is far outweighed by the irritation and clutter that revival of old threads generates.

              If a thread is archived or marked "read only," it can still be linked to a present thread if the poster feels there is information contained in it is relevant, so the information won't be lost or forgotten. It just won't resurface masked as a "new thread" at the top of the board.

              1. Talk about confusing! Take a look at this old, recently resurrected post on the DC board (and pay close attention the the date):


                First you have someone complaining that some 15-month old links (from before the board migration) don't work anymore:

                Then you have someone chiming in to correct an old post about the location of a restaurant (hint: the location was right at the time it was posted):

                When these threads aren't a comedy of errors, they're usually full of stale information. This is terrible for new users coming to the site and finding four- and five-year old recommendations for restaurants that have gone way downhill.

                1. I applaud the CH Team for the massive, daily task this site clearly is to maintain. I applaud the thousands of posters who continue to report and comment on how to maximize the benefit of visiting and revisiting CHOW. My, respectively asked, newbie question is this:

                  Can posted topics six months or older being archived by date/year. Can that archive be a topic option. Can chow.com be another forum for encouraging CH readers to check the archives?

                  Thank you.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: HillJ

                    I'd love to see commenting shut off for posts of a certain age.

                    Maybe you could come up with something clever for these old posts, like being able to start a new thread on the same topic, with the old post the user was inspired by prominently (and automatically) linked from it with a short excerpt.

                    1. re: hatless

                      Or just an archive widget..that Chow users could place in their My CHOW page for personalizing...