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The Ancient Thread Gripe

I don't know why people reply to decades-old messages, but they do.

Is it possible for the site to display messages that are more than two or three years old with a different background or border as an indicator of the age of the topic?

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  1. Often the very old topics get brought back to the surface by one time posters who have "Googled" in (the equivalent of parachuting into the middle of you know not where) when doing a search and up pops an old CH thread on the subject they were looking into. They then register just to leave a comment. At that moment in time other, current hounds not realizing that the thread is old then comment.

    Really, what harm does this cause? Even if you inadvertently comment you are still adding current information to the old thread. Sometimes I get a kick out of the "Howard Carter" effect of delving into the relics of the past. Someone will then post that "They (the OP) undoubtedly got their answer by this time when this thread was first put up 5 years ago" and then the whole thing sinks out of sight once more. No harm. No foul.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      Other reasons for replying to old threads

      1. The related topics at the bottom of each topic are not dated. Chow should not display topics there over a certain age.

      2. Ditto on the Disucssion section at the bottom of the page. If someone responds to an old post, don't show it there

      3. For Hot Posts, add original post date so you know the topic is old. But then again Chow seems to hate hot posts so who knows how much longer that will last

      Working on some of the above would be much more helpful than the draconian locking old threads which Chow seems to be contemplating.

    2. I know it's been suggested before, but I believe the best way to avoid this sort of thing without locking threads after some arbitrary period would be to impose a 24h or 48h delay between registration and being allowed to post. It would deter the fly-by posters, most of whom only come around to gripe, spam or add some "me too" post to an old thread, anyway.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SnackHappy

        This is one of my biggest problems with Chowhound. As for what harm does it cause, it can be an incredible waste of time to plow through a thread only to realize that half of the places referenced are no longer in business. I think it's good to keep the old threads around so people can access them in a search but they should be closed to comments after, say, a year. Two years, tops.

        1. re: angelhair

          "As for what harm does it cause, it can be an incredible waste of time to plow through a thread only to realize that half of the places referenced are no longer in business."

          That, (the "half of the places referenced are no longer in business") comment can actually do some good as I can then check to see if any place links in the CH database reflect the "closed" status so other CH's know that they are defunct.

          And truly, "fool me once shame on you - fool me twice shame on me" needs to enter into this equation. If you keep on reading through long threads that suddenly appear without checking to see if the "sell by" date has long since expired that says more about you than it does any problem that the resurfacing of the old thread might represent... ;-D>

      2. Rather than suggest a change in behavior of a fellow poster, sometimes a newcomer, why not just pratice what you preach and avoid the thread. Read the dates, read the new comment and if it's not to YOUR liking move on. The only poster behavior each of us needs to focus on is our own.

        1 Reply
        1. Hi 512window,

          This is something we're definitely investigating--solutions to the old thread problem. There are many different opinions about how we might deal with it, ranging from visual cues to full lock-down. It certainly seems like something that needs to be addressed. We'll keep you all posted.

          Thanks, Meredith of CHOW

          5 Replies
          1. re: mudaba

            Meredith, I hope in addressing this issue the entire Home Cooking board is left out of the solution. HC threads are valuable; not expiration problems. While I can appreciate the need to look into Boards with age-issues, I hope whatever solutions are implemented aren't a clean sweep community wide.

            1. re: HillJ

              Thank you, hill, I was about to comment similarly. I like it when old threads percolate up. Often they address topics I would never have thought to search for but find very informative.

            2. re: mudaba

              Thanks for letting us know. I'm not asking that you lock them away or protect me from having to read them - just add some visual cue.

              And HillJ and Servorg, read what I asked for. I'm not suggesting any change of behavior by anyone, just that the programmers do something to highlight what's ancient (by internet standards).

              1. re: 512window

                I read that and in the meantime, since the ? has been asked for several years, I hope you'll read what I wrote and just enjoy the benefit of what hundreds of CH's have shared before we got here.

                1. re: 512window

                  Yeah, I gotta agree I wouldn't like a lock after a few years. Seriously, how would that get managed? Do the mods have time for evaluation? Immidate lockdown by age? What about all the useful topics that would get cut off.

                  A visual cue WOULD be nice, as mentioned. Chow seems to love flashing stuff. Have the "share" tab glow neon, leap out (expand) and read "don't share" ... ok ... I'm just joking about that. But some sort of indicator would be helpful. Locking would not.

              2. To some extent, we can help ourselves. The practice of rebooting certain popular threads on a monthly or quarterly basis has come to be SOP on, among others, the Chain and Home Cooking boards. There is nothing to prevent the OP from including the date of the particular post IN ITS TITLE. I have done that if the topic is one where I feel that the material is time-sensitive and will not be relevant for FutureHounds. For example: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/791033 It's not so popular a topic that it needs renewing every few months, but it will not be useful a couple of years from now, by which time it will surely have been succeeded by a newer collection of laments.

                1. I for one hope you don't start routinely locking chowhound threads.
                  If there is a substantial group of users who feel that too many old threads are being bumped, using some kind of visual alert (special colored border or something), as has been suggested, would be the best way to go.

                  If you do begin setting a timer on chowhound discussions, one of the major undesirable effects is that there will be a consequent rise in the number of new threads popping up asking the same questions over and over. I think one of the main limitations of chowhound already is that you often have to hunt for and read through many different threads to get information.
                  Time-locking threads will exacerbate this problem.

                  Without the time-limit, users can peruse existing threads to see whether the question they have has already been answered, and can then decide to join into one or more of those conversations rather than starting a whole new thread. If a time-lock is added, the only option will be to start a new thread if you feel you have something else to ask or something else to say on a topic.

                  1. Something else that I would like to see, though, would be a way to remove threads from your individual "My Recent Posts" list.

                    I'd love to be able to unsubscribe myself from certain threads that keep getting bumped but that I no longer have any interest in. (Perhaps a way already exists and I just don't know about it?)

                    My OCD forces me to open each bumped thread in the list to get rid of the yellow highlight announcing that there has been a new post since I last opened the thread.