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Old Threads With New Posts

I'm getting a major kick out of some verrrrry old threads that are reappearing due to someone not (?) noticing that the back & forth happened years ago and responding to someone that hasnt been around for a long time. On the Outer Boroughs board right now is a thread ("NYC Food Myths") that occured in '02 (Jim started it) and 2 new posters have added short responses to a discussion that was very interesting. Fun reading.

I guess my questions are: a)how do you think that the current new CH's found these threads to begin with (a google on a topic?) and b)should there be a way to more prominently alert posters that the thread is way too old to think that you'll be entering a discussion with those you're responding to?

On the other hand, as I said, I get a kick out of revisiting some fun threads this way. Nice to read some long gone posters again.

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  1. I think people mostly find the old threads using the site's search, which by default searches all results back to day one, and sorts by "score" rather than date.

    If the default search were changed to return only results from the past year, there'd be less bumping of ancient, outdated topics.

    1. Why are the old posts reappearing again after many years?
      I noticed today under New England a post dated in 2002! It seems to me that you scared off a lot of writers since introducing the new format. I happen to like it, but many people are not writing any more. Do they find it difficult? Troublesome? Boring? not sure...How can we get more people to write again?

      1. Something really should be done to lock threads after a certain amount of inactivity so this sort of thing doesn't happen.

        On the other hand, it would be nice to have a sensible way to "bundle" an old thread into a new post more robustly than simply linking it. For instance, a user does a search, finds a good but old thread, and while blocked from replying directly to it, creates a new topic based on it. Above the new post there might be a bubble explaining that the topic is inspired by an old one that begins in such a way and can be read further by clicking a button that expands it onscreen, lightbox-stylee, for all the AJAX people in the house.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hatless

          But it depends to some extent on what kind of thread it is. I mean if it's concerning recipes, that continues to be relevant, and additions to the thread would also be relevant. But I hear what you're saying.

          1. re: prunefeet

            Even on a recipe thread, after a certain point it should be a new thread -- but I think it would be super-valuable to "bundle" the old thread with the new one so that someone reading the old thread would be invited to pop open the old one that inspired it, and vice-versa.

            It would keep the old info in circulation while still maintaining a clear demarcation between old discussions and current ones. This is a message board, not a wiki or a recipe database.

            1. re: hatless

              I personally love old topics judiciously bumped

              I think it depends on the board and the topic
              HomeCooking is much more ripe for seasonal bumping of threads
              The bundling would be great, but we don't have that now
              unless individuals link back in new postings

          1. I really don't find it a hardship to check the date of the first post in a thread. There is plenty of good information on the site, things that are still valid, and it was our collective loss that this wasn't readily accessible under the old software. Now it is and I'm happy aobut it.

            When an old thread surfaces if people have any concerns that the information might not be accurate then it's an easy thing to run the search engine.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bob Martinez

              The new search is in most ways great, but its default settings encourage newbies to respond to years-old threads rather than current ones.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                We've just had another rash of old topics bumped up on the Boston board. If the default was set so that newer topics come first, that would probably solve 99.999% of the problem.

            2. Agree. The default setting should order threads by most recent.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Wilfrid

                My suggestion is that the basic search return only topics from the past year, and that the result include a message explaing that and that you can use advanced search to find older topics.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Obviously people feel strongly about it, but I think it's fine the way it is.

              2. Yet another example from the Los Angeles Board:


                I really think older threads should be archived and only be accessed in new posts via a link (that way, if they have pertinent information to a new thread, they can still be called attention to, without rejuvinating an out-dated thread).

                I see no usefulness in allowing a post that is over two years old to be brought to the top of the board again.

                12 Replies
                1. re: DanaB

                  Or maybe older posts should have a different color or font so you can tell readily that they're old. New responses would be the normal font/color so you can distinguish the two.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      I thought the date was a pretty good indicator of an old topic.

                      1. re: Peter Cuce

                        Except it doesn't work--check out the DC board and someone has responded to some threads from 2003. It seems to happen often. And then, people don't notice the threads are old and respond as if they're new.

                        1. re: chowser

                          "Except it doesn't work--check out the DC board and someone has responded to some threads from 2003."

                          Sure it works. The date of the original post appears when you open the thread. If someone responds to an old post then it bumps it to the top of the list but you can *always* tell it's an old thread by reading the date of the first post in the thread.


                          When you open the thread you'll see the date of the original post. You can then decide whether to read further. Another clue - because the old board didn't require registration the name of the original poster on old threads will appear in gray. The posters name in new posts shows in red with an underline.

                          This really is pretty easy stuff.

                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                            Easy...lol...nothing easy about a BB :)

                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                              Not rocket science but with all the posts, I don't always check the date. No biggie when you get right down to it but I have read posts where I think, "What are they talking about..." and realized it's because the post is so old. Other message boards work this way but the timeliness of the information makes a difference here, at least on the area boards.

                              1. re: Bob Martinez


                                Not exactly. I have tried searches on two other message boards, using different software. Both listed search results with MOST RECENT posts first, unlike here.

                                Reading dates apparantly is NOT pretty easy stuff to newbies doing searches. Still, all this talk about different colors, and locking old threads, etc., is unnecessary. They just need to change the default setting for search results. Advanced users would still be able to change the results listing, just as we can now.

                                1. re: Alcachofa

                                  "Reading dates apparantly is NOT pretty easy stuff to newbies doing searches. Still, all this talk about different colors, and locking old threads, etc., is unnecessary. They just need to change the default setting for search results. Advanced users would still be able to change the results listing, just as we can now."

                                  I completely agree!

                                  But if the folks in charge can't or won't do that for some reason, then here's another idea: If someone is replying to a very old post, a little note could pop up saying, "You are responding to an old and potentially outdated post from date: xx/xx/xxxx. Continue anyway? (Y/N)". Or something along those lines. The dates just aren't prominent enough IMO.

                                  That might be a good idea anyway, even if they DO change the default.

                                  Some old threads, like "NYC Food Myths," are fun to see again and worth resurrecting, but a lot of others contain really outdated info about restaurants that have closed or, worse, gone downhill.

                                2. re: Bob Martinez

                                  Actually, every other message board does NOT work this way. Most other message boards that I am on archive old topics as read only.

                                  1. re: DanaB

                                    The Invision boards do it. There are thousands of them out there. Somehow users manage to navigate them with ease and aren't confused by old threads.

                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                      Maybe it is not a matter of confusion or the inability to read a date...maybe its just a matter of CH member preference.

                                      We all have fav topics, some are so popular they appear as revamped threads while others are found thru CH search...and brought back to revisit the thread/topic in a more timely way.

                                      However, from what I see, it's not hard to ignore an old post...move on to other topics...at least until the day comes that CH's Team changes it.

                      2. ok, from a CH n00bies point of view... what is a greater sin? If I am interested in margret breast availible in los angeles, and do a search, there are just a few ancient threads. But, see... Thats why I came here to CH. To find out stuff. And I really want those breasts.

                        So I can either bump an old thread with all the locations and outdated info associated with it or I can start a whole new thread on the exact same topic. Its cleaner to start a new one, but by bumping the old one someone could just simply refer to a previous post and say "Oh, these folks are sometimes carrying magret now.. call their new phone number to see", or somehow make use of the archived info so that the thread doesn't need to be restarted every few months. I'm not sure what to do.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: krushdnasty

                          krush, what you are describing is a deliberating "bumping up" of old posts for a specific reason. I totally support that.

                          What annoys some people is the random, unnecessary, unwitting bumping up for no reason. You have a reason. Most of the time, based on what I've seen, there is not. Again, to sound like a broken record, this is why I think if the default search results were changed to show most recent posts first, that would eliminate the "mistakenly bumped" posts, but you could still find the old post you want and bring it back if you want.

                          1. re: Alcachofa

                            Exactly. There was a board where someone, a few years ago, asked about Asian grocery stores in an area. There were very few at that time. But, someone bumped it up, disagreed w/ the other posters, and talked about all the stores there are--I'm assuming, not realizing the thread was years old.

                            1. re: Alcachofa

                              Here's a good recent example: a deep-dish pizza place named Little Star opened in San Francisco two years ago. There are 11 topics with "Little Star" in the title, the most recent started two months ago, and another 50 that mention it. It's a board favorite, generally regarded as the best of its type.

                              This week, somebody posted a report on Little Star to a year-and-a-half old two-post topic about another pizza place. It appeared at the top of the list in response to a search for "pizza" because its title was simply "Pizza."

                              1. re: Alcachofa

                                ooooh, Gotcha! That helps alot! Thanks for the explanation. Funny the way you described it... I did notice that the default was by "score" and not "date" and have taken to looking through the score ones first and then double checking with the "date" filter to see if there was anything newer of relevance before I posted.

                                I agree though that the best way to prevent this problem without changing much on the site would be to just make the default search results listed by date. Prolly most folks don't go much further.