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Need to get rid of all posts over 5 years old

In the world of food, a comment from, say, 2002, is useless. Sooo many of the entries here are extremely dated. I think there should be an arbitrary cut of of perhaps 5 years, and all older posts automatically are discarded.

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  1. Disagree. Fifty year old instructions for making a pot roast are still relevant.

    4 Replies
      1. re: kengk

        Yes, but if you read my latest request for info on emails, you can see that these threads need to be put in "archives" or something after awhile. Its overwhelming .

        1. re: kengk

          I was not actually thinking of recipes because I never use this site for them. They should be in their own special place anyway -- separate from restaurant reviews -- so it would still work for the restaurant reviews.

          1. re: kengk


            it doesn't even have to be a true recipe -- advice about why a cake fell, or how to make xxx, or how to make real pickles...all are wonderful things that don't necessarily have a shelf life.

          2. I agree... I am new to this link and love it, but getting a dozen emails or more daily on one question, even after you have used the information is annoying. I need to find out how to stop the emails from coming after all the info I need is finished. Its nice to be advised you have an email to your question, but not l00 of them.

            5 Replies
            1. re: happygoluckyinoregon

              Until they give you a way of unsubscribing to specific threads, just turn off email notifications, and periodically check your profile page. You can see at a glance whether there is anything new in threads that you have participated in. It is easy to ignore the ones that no longer interest you.

              Other than 4 threads where you ask about turning off emails, you have only asked one cooking question, and that was in a thread started by someone else. In a sense you jumped into an ongoing discussion, one that isn't going to stop just because you got your answer. Email notification may work for some people. It doesn't for me, and I don't think it helps you either.

              1. re: paulj

                I still go back to and use info and ideas from the posts of the much beloved Sam Fujisaka. It would be such a shame to lose those and many (not all!) others.

                1. re: janeh

                  The first thing I thought when I saw this thread is how sad it would be to lose Sam's posts.

                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    YES. I enjoyed a couple of years of Sam, I think. I know I was still new to the board when people had established relationships with him. And when I run into a Sam thread, my heart smiles. What a nice guy.

                    I'm okay with some kind of archive, but a purge? No.

                  2. re: janeh

                    Many of us feel the same way you do...

              2. Another "short shelf life" group of posts would be almost all of the help me select A? posts of the "electric ilk" in cookware.Coffee maker,microwave and dishwasher etc information is out of date in less than two years.

                1. I for one agree when it comes to the review portion of the site. It's fine for recipes or any of the non review boards. It's a personal pet peeve of mine when I see a post with a title "Need recommendations for casual birthday dinner this Sat" you open the link read comments think of a suggestion only to realize the thread is 3-5-12-24-36 months old! It's back to the top of the list because someone not paying attention posts on it.

                  Or what's even better is the same thread is a year old and someone posts " I know this is a little late but next time try...........". If you feel so strong about a place start a new thread don't just post on a stale topic. Just my $ .02

                  4 Replies
                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      We just need to pay attention to the original posting date .

                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        I disagree. I like getting more info after the fact. I simply use my profile to see replies to my posts instead of the email notifications.

                      2. Deleting years of cooking wisdom and food anthropology is not necessary. The advanced search function on CH allows you to narrow your search to the date frame you want.

                        1. Oftentimes I post on an old link, because it's revived and whatever I write now or did write many years before will exist for whoever comes along, tomorrow or ten years from now. I have been posting for at least ten years, and would be very annoyed to find all my old posts disappear, rather than being there for whatever newbies may show up in the future. They will see it with fresh eyes. and yes maybe even revive the thread. But even if they don't, I am grateful that my thoughts, relevent or not, live on. Otherwise why waste my time?

                          Then again, I check here daily, without any email reminders. That would annoy me too.

                          1. Some places haven't changed much in the 15 years the site has been going so old posts are still valid, and newer posts may simply say "still as good as ever."

                            Old posts are sometimes of historical interest, e.g. when I'm trying to remember where I had a particular dish.

                            By default the search only returns topics updated in the past year.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Apparently most old revivals are the result of google searches. And by people who are new to the forum.

                            2. The whole point of Chowhound is to build a trove of food tips. Automatically discarding older posts goes against that reason for being.

                              31 Replies
                              1. re: stgrove

                                Not all posts contribute to the "trove". Would you visit a restaurant based on a 10 year old post on Chowhond?

                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                  So who's going to make that decision?

                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                      What's relevant today and what's not. To me, it's all interesting, no matter how old (probably because I've been around a little too long) I would hate to see things disappearing based on someone else's qualifications. Maybe an actual majority vote would be meaningful.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        I think that an age could be established for non-topical boards...4, 5, 6, 7 years, after which threads are purged. A 10 year restaurant rec is neither relevant, nor useful.

                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                          Here is a thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/57860 from the LA board about pizza that stretches from January of 2004 into late October of 2012. I find the development of this thread over time to be both useful and interesting.

                                          Taking down or locking even very old posts may miss someone coming along, even 10 years later and adding something both useful and interesting to a thread/post.

                                          And what is the real harm of having the archives? Even if you get caught up posting to an old thread, the more recent information is useful.

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            I'm fine keeping a post that has been added to...I'm just talking about posts have have been dormant for multiple years, with no updates. They serve no purpose.

                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                              Posts that recommend what to order can be useful many years later for places that don't change much.

                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                I'm sorry but everything here serves a purpose, maybe not your own but still.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  You'll have to explain the purpose of this post, as an example...I'm not getting it, and I doubt I'm the only one:


                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      Using the CH search feature. Your point?

                                                    2. re: carolinadawg

                                                      I'd call that example bad housekeeping. It's not the age, there are no comments. A question posted with no response and nowhere to go (discussion wise) should be removed.

                                                      OTOH, the Home Cooking board as one example will forever be filled with value & ageless information. So, unless the decision to delete posts of a certain age is done board (category) by board and not a clean sweep alot of good info that is not only timeless but representative of input from CH's who care a great deal about sharing tips, such deletion is like throwing a library of knowledge down the drain.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          "I'd call that example bad housekeeping. It's not the age, there are no comments. A question posted with no response and nowhere to go (discussion wise) should be removed."

                                                          One reason not to purge those old orphan posts is because they actually cause folks to find this site via the "Google" in method in which they were looking up information on that one post restaurant for whatever reason, and they stumbled upon CH and ended up staying and becoming regular contributors. It happens. And what is the harm of keeping the archives intact?

                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                            Is that the only Belvedere Hotel post on CH? And, no one answered the CH's OP. My comment was aimed at that specific post.

                                                            I did go on to say that hacking away at the archive would be like flushing a library down the drain. I am not in favor of a hack job...but house keeping for the sake of cleaning out the cobwebs-yes.

                                                            We're populating a new Cheese board right now with older posts in order to generate some traction and hopefully encourage new posts. How far back should we move cheese topics over to the new board?

                                                            I'm sure newcomers and returners to CH find their way here in numerous ways. The CH search engine still leaves alot to be desired and the archive we want to protect is buried in that search engine.

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              I believe with cheese age is a good thing so I would say the older the better!!! :-p

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  Love that aged touche from France...

                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                    ok, I'm using that quote later today!

                                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                                    Ha! You know Hill J I'm more than just a pretty face typing on these boards.

                                                            2. re: HillJ

                                                              "A question posted with no response and nowhere to go (discussion wise) should be removed."

                                                              It wouldn't hurt, but it would be a lot of work, and Chowhound doesn't have any spare money to hire someone to do that.

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                They didn't "hire" or "pay" me to contribute to moving threads but I was happy to assist none the less.

                                                                I'm not making assumptions either way RL. I haven't a clue what the budget around here is but gosh I hope the advertising is paying off.

                                                            3. re: carolinadawg

                                                              carolinadawg - your search example is based on a spelling error. If the person who posted that thread had spelled the hotel name correctly, they may have had replies. There are threads for the “Belvedere Hotel” on the D.C// Baltimore board, but "Belvidere Hotel" only results in the example you provide plus 2 others, and then only after toggling the date choices to “all years”.
                                                              This is a good example of when it makes sense to report/ flag a post so the Mods can correct it so that it is a searchable subject.

                                                              1. re: EM23

                                                                The other posts you are referencing are in baltimore, not DC, which is the city the post I referenced is about.

                                                                And its irrelevant, not to mention unknowable, whether the post might have attracted other comments.

                                                                Finally, it's actually a good example of why old posts with no responses should be deleted.

                                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                  I can think of better uses of the mods and engineering staff. Old posts like that don't take up valuable space, and contemporary posters can easily ignore them when someone dredges them up.

                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                    Plenty of volunteers (myself included) contribute to moving threads. If it was decided, deletion of certain outdated, archived OP's wouldn't be that much of a stretch.

                                                        2. re: Servorg

                                                          We've got a thread like that here in NJ too: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/186329

                                                          I see no reason to get rid of old posts. What's next, getting rid of old posters?

                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                            Hah, maybe that sentiment was behind the gray on gray business. Take that, old poster!

                                                        3. re: carolinadawg

                                                          As mature adults, it is up to us to look at the post dates and make the decision of whether or not it is relevant to our needs that day, just like every other decision we make in the course of a day.

                                              2. I could see deleting old content if there was a GOOD reason. It costs us $xxx to keep it.

                                                I don't think deleting it because users can't look at the date on a post, or draw their on conclusions based on the date, is a good reason.

                                                1. I regularly find old topics useful. For example, just yesterday I looked at topics from 2004 and 2006 to get the contact info for the two Greek grocers in my area for a friend who wanted to buy some mastic.

                                                  So deleting posts automatically just because they haven't been updated for a while would delete useful information.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                    And I bet typing "greek grocery", "city name" and maybe "mastic" into Google would have yielded the same information.

                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                      Only one of the two. That's why I searched Chowhound.

                                                      A better example might be when I look at old posts to remind myself what dishes I like and don't like at certain places. That info's not anywhere else.

                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                        In regard to your second comment...do you mean you look up your own previous posts?

                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                          Sometimes I look up my own old posts, sometimes other people's that I recall having found valuable in the past.

                                                  2. Hi, landsli:

                                                    With respect, your premise is astoundingly backward.

                                                    There is a unique repository of knowledge on CH that is *cumulative*. You might as well posit that no cookbook written, no technique or ingredient in use, or any implement in the food arts made, before 2007, is useful.

                                                    Careme, Escoffier, Beard, Child, Griswold, Gaillard, Sam F, and countless others... Think about it... Would you enfeeble the future by destroying the past?


                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                      Everyone, including the OP, has stated that this should not apply to topical boards like Home Cooking.

                                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                                        It should not apply to any board. If I am buying a vintage appliance or buying something used on ebay, or if I am trying to find the value of something from my parents house, an old post might help. Maybe I inherit something and it breaks, there may be information of use from an old post. Just because it is not useful to you, does not mean it won't be useful to someone else.

                                                        I am sure there are some posts that might not conceivably be helpful to anyone, but why risk deleting thousands that are the same age or older but useful because people don't want to push the back button and have to do a new search.

                                                        Old restaurant reviews can certainly be reused. A review of a restaurant does not have to be used for actually going to that restaurant. Maybe its to bring back memories of a restaurant you went to when you were younger that has long ago closed.

                                                        Search has both a newest first option as well as a search by date, I don't see what the problem is.

                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                          This thread is becoming a self fulfilling prophecy I think.

                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                            Hi, carolinadawg:

                                                            No, actually the OP *didn't* state that. What s/he said (after the fact, not in the OP) was that recipes should be kept.

                                                            Imagine what Wine would be like without the perspective of time.


                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                              So the original poster didn't say that, but the original poster did say that. Thanks, got it!

                                                        2. We have given some thought to locking older threads to new replies to keep them from bubbling back to the top, but there's not much likelihood of outright removing older posts from the archives. Even locking is not a simple change.

                                                          As others have noted, what constitutes out-of-date can vary a lot.

                                                          A year old thread on where to get Pho in LA might be out-of-date -- some places will have closed, new ones opened, and there's a good chance there's been a new thread about Pho in the interim. But a year old discussion about dining in Peoria might be the most recently updated info on dining in Peoria on the site, and may still be pretty accurate.

                                                          Plus, things in Home Cooking and other topical categories may be perpetually of interest. Or, not -- discussions of new appliances may go quickly out-of-date as models change every year, while discussions of craft knife-makers do not.

                                                          So, there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution to locking old threads.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                            Just to add to what Jacquilynne is saying: We are investigating ways to prioritize up-to-date discussions on the site. We want to help users navigate to newer discussions and make them more visible. This will be an ongoing investigation for us, and involves search work, sorting options, and new ways to think about splitting threads. We appreciate feedback about ways to get the discussions on the site more up-to-date.

                                                            Just wanted the people who are taking part of this discussion to know that it's on our radar.

                                                            Thanks, Meredith

                                                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                              "A year old thread on where to get Pho in LA might be out-of-date -- some places will have closed, new ones opened, and there's a good chance there's been a new thread about Pho in the interim."

                                                              I understand, but please keep in mind, as noted above, a ten year old thread about the "Best Pizza in New Jersey" is still relevant. I mean, it's about Pizza in Jersey. Lotsa stuff may change, but the debate about the best pizza in a place like New Jersey (or Manhattan or New Haven or . . . ) is timeless and worthwhile. Hell, a fifty year old thread on that subject would probably still have relevance.

                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                Also, we see another downside to no longer having the CH database around, as we could list places as "closed" so that out of date posts would be less likely to turn up again (or at least we would be less likely to add to them if we knew a place was closed).

                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                  Closed, under new management, changes to menu/pricing, events, fire, etc. The NJ chows are terrific gatekeepers of such updated state info.

                                                                  Starting a new thread for such announcements can get lost in a few days and have less context standing alone.

                                                                2. re: MGZ

                                                                  If we do decide to lock older threads, it'd likely be based on when they were last updated, rather than when they were started, so that those perpetually updated threads can continue to be perpetually updated.

                                                                  1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                    I did not address the idea of locking threads, but I dont like the idea.at all. On sites such as Tripadvisor, which do lock threads it is not possible to provide immediate feedback on old (I think over there its more than 6mo.) threads the user finds. While I understand that sites want users to start new threads rather than perpetuating old ones, starting a new thread is not always the effect of finding a locked thread. Any barrier to adding new more up-to-date content to the site is a bad idea, and in my view locking threads is a barrier to adding new content.
                                                                    On TA, where I am not a regular participant I don't take the time to start a new thread to add my content, I just move on. I thnk that is going to be the reaction of most less devoted chowhounds, too and Id hate to see it happen here. For example, on old threads its nice to be able to revisit and say that a place I reported on 3 years ago, has gone downhill, uphill or closed or that there is now a better place across the street. Its simply stupid to start a new thread for this without the context and it will not happen. The database would have been nice for this but thats history.

                                                                    finally any attempt to define types of threads to lock is going to be a wrong decision for some threads and boards. There is all kind of valuable content on these boards (one example, food info on regional boards) and generic decisions are going to be wrong decisions for some of these..

                                                              2. As a chowhound poster since 1998 I would be terribly disappointed if all the old posts disappeared. Ive made extensive posts over this history (Including family recipes, trip reports etc) and participated in and read many long and interesting threads which I look for from time to time which may be useful to others - and in some threads which may continue fruitfully for years.

                                                                Avoiding what may be a minor annoyance to the OP (seeing an old thread pop up and at the worst maybe writing a reply before realizing,,this has happened by me) if offset by keeping history and guidance, some of which is still useful. Institutional memory has its value, not everything is of the moment.

                                                                While advice about high end places, say, in major metropolitan areas, with chefs moving around, etc may change frequently, a lot of boards are slow and infrequently visited, and the restaurant scenes are more static over the years. To give an example, it may be that some towns in Italy (other than the big ones) or say Central Pennsylvania or the Gaspe Peninsula, will have only one or two chowhound reports over a 5 or more year date range. it makes more sense for folks to be able to find this info, accept that it may be outdated and potentially update it than to lock or delete it. Finding something here is almost always going to be better than finding nothing.

                                                                Given that the search generally only gives results in the last year unless you ask for a longer date frame, its no skin off anyone for this longer chowhound history to be searcheable, or for certain threads to be revived and updated basically forever.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: jen kalb

                                                                  I couldn't possibly agree more strongly with this post. Thanks for stating my feelings so eloquently, jen.

                                                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                                                    Well said. I am constantly adding to what little information exists for Central PA. I would have missed an amazing anniversary meal if I hadn't revived an old thread and found that I place I had been meaning to try was closing at the end of the month.

                                                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                                                      +1 Jen.

                                                                      I have no problem revisiting restaurant posts of various age to continue the conversation.

                                                                      Most restaurants have arcs of life - pre opening buzz, opening reports, many with blazing hot starts, then settle into a reliable groove, begin to loose their luster, maybe get a renewal with a new chef or personnel and once again become relevant.

                                                                      Being able to read this history and perspective in one thread is of interest to me and is better than single post threads - "I had a great dinner at xxx or I had the worst dinner".

                                                                      Additionally, I find many hounds have various thoughts on what period of time is old and therefore it's not something that should be arbitrarily defined.

                                                                      As an example, I posted a request in mid March for a recommendation for an upcoming April dinner. There were many helpful replies over the following days and weeks. My dinner was the evening of 4/25 and that morning a fellow hound replied to the thread and voiced their dismay when they realized they were replying to a thread started 3/19.

                                                                      In actuality, their reply was welcomed, added to the discussion and mentioned a restaurant that we or others may consider for the future. Isn't that why we value CH and our fellow hounds so much?