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Jul 24, 2010 01:53 PM

locking old threads?

I wonder why the CH team doesn't lock old threads? I've come across a few threads where someone posted 2-3 years ago asking for restaurant recommendations for a special occasion or for advice on some food etiquette. There will be the usual flurry of responses at the time and then nothing for several years until someone (perhaps new users excited to discover CH?) somehow finds the thread and posts a new comment - which then puts the thread back at the top of the board. This usually gets more people commenting on it, not realizing how out of date the thread is.

Why not lock up a thread after a specific period of time, esp if the topic is time sensitive? Or provide a way for the original topic creator to lock it, esp if they've received the advice and/or recommendation they wanted? IMO, it would help keep the boards tidy and up to date.

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  1. I think except for the regional boards, timing means little. If a technique or a recipe was good five years ago, it still is. I just did a search where all the threads pertaining to the sujbect were about that age. Good info is good info. And as far as restaurants go, if one thread spans a long period of time, then the info keeps getting updated. As far as OPs locking threads, the point of CH isn't, I believe, for only one person to benefit. Just my thoughts.

    1. What is time sensitive with food? Tastes in eating don't change very quickly at all, and a recipe posted in the last decade, or even longer than that, can be very relevant to someone today. New posters especially should have access to the info, if they need, regardless of the thread's age.

      1. I think old threads frequently have value, if not to the OP. I would be strongly against locking a thread simply because of age.

        1. This is something that comes up periodically, but it's just not really practical to lock some threads and not others, and locking all older threads isn't something we want to do.

          While a 3 month old thread on, say, Babbo in NYC may have since been supplanted by 4 more recent threads also about Babbo, a 2 year old thread about the one fine dining restaurant in Middle-of-Nowhere Kentucky might be the best, most recent information about that restaurant available. And Home Cooking and Cookware and Gardening threads never go out of date -- the information in them is timeless. So there's no one size fits all solution for closing threads after a certain date -- for some it might make sense and for others it wouldn't, and we have hundreds of thousands of threads, so it's not practical for us to make those decisions on a thread by thread basis.

          As well, a thread that has a deadline on it for the original poster isn't only of use to the original poster. Chowhound is a resource, and an additional suggestion about where to go for an anniversary dinner, or where to grab a bite after the game is still useful to the next person who goes to the game or has an anniversary. If we were only looking to help the original poster, we could provide a function to delete the thread entirely once their occasion had passed -- but that would take that information away from others who are reading along or who search for that information later.

          1. Please read my OP - I'm not saying to remove the old threads, I am asking why they don't lock them to further comment after a certain period time. I agree that threads on recipes or techniques will always be useful, but when I say time sensitive, I'm talking about those threads where someone says "help, need advice on where to host baby shower for 15 people by next saturday" types of threads. Posting new comments 2-3 years after the fact won't help the OP and some of the old comments could be out of date. If someone wants newer information of that ilk, I would think they would start a new thread, rather than having to do a search and then read through a lot of old comments on info/restaurants that may not even exist anymore.

            3 Replies
            1. re: SeoulQueen

              But again, the goal of Chowhound isn't to help that OP who was planning a baby shower 2 years ago. It's to help anyone planning a baby shower, anytime. So if someone finds the thread and wants to ask a question about a previous recommendation on the thread, I think it makes much more sense to do it there (where there is a bunch of information already gathered) than to start from scratch. And sure, there will be outdated info, which then can be updated if the board's posters are kind enough to do it (which they usually are, in my experience.)

              There seem to be two camps of posters on this site, the "do a search! This has already been discussed!" posters and the "this thread is X years old!" posters. I think you can't make everyone happy, but personally I like to latch on to an older thread when I'm researching information that's already been well-covered on the board. Alternately, I start a new thread summing up my research and asking the questions I have that haven't been answered,or soliciting input on the recommendations I gleaned from older posts, but it's a lot more work to do it that way, and I don't always have the time.

              1. re: SeoulQueen

                There's no way for us to lock only some threads and not others automatically, and manually locking hundreds of thousands of threads is not practical.

                1. re: Jacquilynne

                  ah.. it's one of those techy/software won't let us type of issues. ok thanks!