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#1 2012-09-08 16:24:17

rodyaj
Member
Registered: 2009-10-13
Posts: 54

Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

I write this complaint because there have been several times now where I've used Google or the forum search to end up on a topic that looks like it might be the solution to my problem. I spend a good few minutes reading through the thread, and oftentimes I'm on the verge of finding the solution, only for it to reach the end where an admin has locked the thread for "necro bumping". Then I have to do another search and frustratingly not even find a solution at all. I understand that if someone has a problem they should use the search feature or create a new topic for it rather than resurrect years old threads; I also understand that out-of-date information can often mislead users. I do not, however, see the problem with posting solutions to threads that never got a complete answer in the first place: see here for an example. In this example Thedemon007 gives a perfect solution to my problem, but is then told off by an admin for necrobumping, and the thread is subsequently locked. And, no, searching for this problem does not turn up another thread with the specific solution to my problem.

I do not think it is too hard to see the difference between someone too lazy to use the search feature, and someone who is actually just trying to provide some useful information on the off chance that someone else finds the post through forum search or Google search. So please at least do some basic checks before locking a thread. Why make snap judgements? Why follow rules like a robot? Oftentimes all that is needed is a brief check on the context of the thread. Don't get me wrong, I know admins give up their spare time, and I know they need to make decisions quickly in order to get through the massive number of posts they moderate. Even so, there are still some basic common sense rules that are not hard to apply, such as only locking necro threads where the user actually asks another question, as opposed to providing an answer to a pre-existing question.

Last edited by rodyaj (2012-09-08 16:35:21)

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#2 2012-09-08 18:27:37

hadrons123
Member
From: chennai
Registered: 2011-10-07
Posts: 1,249

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

Not a lot of people see the date and time on the preceding post. Things change after some time, "time" obsoletes a lot of software !
You are welcome to start a new thread, linking the old thread.
But I understand that searching is bit difficult, with 2 or more threads with same problem.  That's a valid point.
People has to be encouraged to give their solutions and workarounds on the wiki, which could be more useful.

Last edited by hadrons123 (2012-09-08 18:40:12)


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#3 2012-09-08 20:00:24

jasonwryan
Forum & Wiki Admin
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 18,574
Website

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

The rules around necrobumping are clearly spelt out in the Forum Etiquette: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Fo … Bumping.22

Please note the final bullet point, where it says that it can be appropriate.

Overall, though, given the rolling nature of Arch, it would be preferrable to add newer information to the Wiki.

In the case you point to, you could always have just asked the mod to reopen the thread if you are sure that the information is still applicable to an up-to-date Arch system. As for doing basic checks, that is not always possible. It is far more practicable to enable the community to manage their information.

Finally, while you may be irritated by this example, please respect the staff.


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#4 2012-09-08 21:01:15

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,744

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

Allow me to embellish what jasonwryan has said.  The problem with necrobumps is that the Linux landscape changes so fast.  Often, a problem and/or the steps used to isolate may be deprecated by changes by a different kernel, library, or architectural change.  Things in a thread that may have been relevant eight months ago are likely to be irrelevant or even outright wrong now.  This is specifically why we close old threads.  If someone is chasing a problem in the present, building on an unstable foundation may not bring about a happy outcome.

If a member is working a problem related to an old post, and would much prefer that they start a new thread, and, if they are convinced the old thread is directly relevant, then link back to it.


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#5 2012-09-08 23:32:30

rodyaj
Member
Registered: 2009-10-13
Posts: 54

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

I understand, and certainly there are occasions when old threads need closing e.g., when a user comes along and tries to ask a new question in an old topic that isn't neccessarily relevant to his current problem. On the other hand, if a user just tries to answer an old question for the record, then I don't see the harm in letting the user have their voice -- especially if no one else ever managed to answer the question. They should not be put down for trying to help. Believe it or not, I solve most of my problems not by creating a new topic, but by going back months, even years in the searches to find someone who had my problem. And you'd be surprised how many times it is a necrobumper that had popped in to give the solution. I believe Arch users are smart enough to use their own discretion in deciding if the provided information is still safe to use/relevant; they do not always need their hand holding.

Last edited by rodyaj (2012-09-09 02:25:45)

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#6 2012-09-09 00:07:38

Jristz
Member
From: America/Santiago
Registered: 2011-06-11
Posts: 916

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

what is old for a necrobump-closed???
old is relative REALLY relative, for example this is relativelly old tread or rellatuvely new

any "Guideline" for concidering a tread enough old for considering necrothread???


Well, I suppose that this is somekind of signature, no?

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#7 2012-09-09 00:27:29

jasonwryan
Forum & Wiki Admin
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 18,574
Website

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

There is no guideline: but given the rolling release nature of Arch, it won't be that long. Certainly anything over twelve months is a candidate unless, of course, it is unrelated to specific technologies...


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#8 2012-09-09 00:32:31

rodyaj
Member
Registered: 2009-10-13
Posts: 54

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

Jristz wrote:

what is old for a necrobump-closed???
old is relative REALLY relative, for example this is relativelly old tread or rellatuvely new

any "Guideline" for concidering a tread enough old for considering necrothread???

Yes this is another point: old is relative. I found this when trying to search for correct parameters for a port scanner called Yaph the other day. Eventually I found one decent forum thread with a tutorial. One guy would give advice from 2004, another from 2006. I would consider the forum post I saw in 2006 'new' in this instance, as it was about as up-to-date as I could find. And you know what? I'm sure glad those threads survived in Google cache and didn't get locked by an admin, because now they're some of the only surviving documentation around about it. This information might be considered outdated because it is from 2006, but it still helped me.

Although it is nicer to find one centralised and moderated source like a wiki page, this is not always possible. Sometimes you just have to dig deep for some old threads and hope that the information is relevant to your particular problem.

Last edited by rodyaj (2012-09-09 00:41:39)

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#9 2012-09-09 07:32:15

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,427

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

rodyaj wrote:

I'm sure glad those threads survived in Google cache and didn't get locked by an admin, because now they're some of the only surviving documentation around about it. This information might be considered outdated because it is from 2006, but it still helped me.

The threads closed because of a necrobump aren't going anywhere, the only difference from an open thread is that you can't post there. You still can access all the info.

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#10 2012-09-09 07:39:40

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,178

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

The only reason to necrobump is having found a thread without the final information as a top hit during a search, and providing the solution or a link to the solution. This search engine problem is common to every single message board I have been to. This is why I always include the string "[solved]" in my initial searches. It's too bad fluxbb does not have a solved button, though.

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#11 2012-09-09 12:43:02

karol
Archivist
Registered: 2009-05-06
Posts: 25,427

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

Awebb wrote:

This is why I always include the string "[solved]" in my initial searches.

Not sure if a button would help, but as is, many threads aren't getting marked as solved. If they were, a nice to have feature of fluxbb would to search e.g. only solved threads, a bit like the bug tracker.
You can currently view 'Unanswered' topics etc. but this is good only for browsing, not searching.

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#12 2012-09-09 14:33:38

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 12,744

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

rodyaj wrote:

...On the other hand, if a user just tries to answer an old question for the record, then I don't see the harm in letting the user have their voice -- especially if no one else ever managed to answer the question. They should not be put down for trying to help. Believe it or not, I solve most of my problems not by creating a new topic, but by going back months, even years in the searches to find someone who had my problem. And you'd be surprised how many times it is a necrobumper that had popped in to give the solution.

I agree wholeheartedly.  I know that I have posted moderator comments on old threads that have been updated specifically supporting members who have done.  Often either in response to a report, or to proactively head off a report smile   

I believe Arch users are smart enough to use their own discretion in deciding if the provided information is still safe to use/relevant; they do not always need their hand holding.

I am trying to come up with a pithy comment, but I'll concede that you are correct -- in most cases.  I guess the best analogy I can come up with is hiking in the back country with a trail map.  Someplace you make a wrong  turn, but the map still makes sense; you can correlate branches and landmarks on the wrong trail to trail on the map you think you are following -- right until you encounter a cliff, or a river that just is not on the map.

Last edited by ewaller (2012-09-09 14:35:36)


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Like you, I have no idea what you are doing, but I am pretty sure it is wrong...Jasonwryan
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#13 2012-09-09 15:31:23

ANOKNUSA
Member
Registered: 2010-10-22
Posts: 2,141

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

The reason necro-bumping, along with other sorts of posts regarding information proliferation, aren't the best idea is because they're often entirely superfluous.  It's a shame that many folks don't understand that the Internet doesn't exist in the aether, but requires real resources and real labor for upkeep.  In many parts of the world bandwidth and storage space are very finite resources, and to replicate data needlessly is to waste those resources (yet another reason for Archers to do in-depth searches before posting).  If the knowledge already exists in one, ten, or fifty other places, then repeating that information yet again is a waste of time, energy, money, fuel,  hardware longevity, bandwidth, etc. all in the hopes that someone somewhere might find your own post more useful than all the others out there.  As jasonwryan said, if that information isn't already out there, the wiki is far easier to edit, format and navigate than a crap-ton of loosely related forum threads that may be years old.

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#14 2012-09-09 21:23:34

fsckd
Forum Moderator
Registered: 2009-06-15
Posts: 3,538

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

I also prefer solutions be posted to the wiki instead of reviving old threads. That way the community can maintain them. Solutions can also become outdated. Do we allow yet another necro-bump to update a solution? I'd rather not.


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#15 2012-09-09 22:39:58

bernarcher
Forum Fellow
From: Germany
Registered: 2009-02-17
Posts: 2,271

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

Well, I am the mod who closed the example thread. An addition to what was stated already, just for the sake of completeness, let me clarify some of the reasoning behind this very action:

  • there was no traffic for about three years on this thread, indicating it was most probably not so relevant any more

  • the discussion went along about pre-1.7 (1.5/1.6) versions of rdesktop

  • the forum etiquette referred to clearly states
    "If you have a version-agnostic or corresponding solution, necrobumping can be appropriate."
    which obviously was not the case.

I have no experience about rdesktop so this had to be handled on a more formal basis.

But as stated, the information put into the thread is still accessible. The thread is put into a read-only state, that's all. If anybody wants to start a new discussion on this, there could (even should) always new thread be opened which links back there.


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#16 2012-09-11 14:25:29

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 4,178

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

As I had the same endless discussions with many users on other boards as mod myself, I now want to give you an example of what I consider to be a "good" necrobump:
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1159832

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#17 2012-09-11 15:22:27

Inxsible
Forum Fellow
From: Chicago
Registered: 2008-06-09
Posts: 9,071

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

and lookie here, a mod/admin saw it and didn't close it. I am getting lazy big_smile


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#18 2012-09-12 06:10:25

amadar
Banned
Registered: 2011-04-15
Posts: 147

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

I've experienced cases where I posted "a version-agnostic or corresponding solution, [and so] necrobumping [was] appropriate" (as mentioned in the Wiki link Jason Wryan posted above) yet Jason Wryan still closed the thread after my posting of the solution
Whatever, though.

Jason Wryan, I have an idea: why not save time by writing a useful script that will automatically close a thread after a certain amount of time has passed with no activity in that thread instead of spending your time responding to necro posts then closing them? This would solve the necropost problems as well as make people appreciate you more as an administrator.

Last edited by amadar (2012-09-12 06:39:20)

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#19 2012-09-12 06:39:07

jasonwryan
Forum & Wiki Admin
From: .nz
Registered: 2009-05-09
Posts: 18,574
Website

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

As opposed to wasting your time by posting here about an issue that you could have easily resolved, as I noted in my post above, by requesting the thread be re-opened?

Presuming, of course, that--unlike this post of yours--the other one did actually contain some worthwhile content.


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#20 2012-09-12 06:45:51

amadar
Banned
Registered: 2011-04-15
Posts: 147

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

You are right about that point, but nonetheless I felt frustrated due to the nature of being wrong.

I believe an auto-thread-closing script would be very nice and would save people from feeling frowned upon... People like I could still ask a moderator to re-open an auto-closed thread if necessary. It would all be less hassle.

Such a script would also save moderators from spending time having to "at least do some basic checks before locking a thread." It would also save moderators from "mak[ing] snap judgements [and] following rules like a robot." I tend to agree with rodyaj on those points.

Last edited by amadar (2012-09-12 07:07:41)

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#21 2012-09-12 08:17:19

ngoonee
Forum Fellow
From: Between Thailand and Singapore
Registered: 2009-03-17
Posts: 6,817

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

amadar wrote:

I believe an auto-thread-closing script would be very nice and would save people from feeling frowned upon... People like I could still ask a moderator to re-open an auto-closed thread if necessary. It would all be less hassle.

Current situation:-
1. You find an old thread.
2. You post in it.

Your proposed situation:-
1. You find an old thread.
2. You try to post and fail.
3. You request a moderator to re-open the thread (which takes a few minutes. Or hours, because mods aren't here all the time)
4. You post in it.

That's much less hassle all right smile

I think you misunderstand the closing of threads. When the mods close a thread or delete a post, we aren't condemning the poster (if we are, we state that clearly). Our job is to keep this place clean, and if according to the rules a thread should go, it goes.

If someone wants to feel frowned upon, the issue isn't with the system.


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#22 2012-09-12 08:33:08

litemotiv
Forum Fellow
Registered: 2008-08-01
Posts: 5,026

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

ngoonee wrote:

Current situation:-
1. You find an old thread.
2. You post in it.

Small correction:

1. He finds an old thread.
2. He posts in it.
3. Other users read the thread because it's on top of the new threads list
4. Other users write a report
5. Moderator reads report, investigates
6. Moderator posts in it, manually pastes link to Forum Etiquette, closes thread
7. More people read the thread because it's again on top of the new threads list


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#23 2012-09-12 11:44:27

amadar
Banned
Registered: 2011-04-15
Posts: 147

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

ngoonee wrote:

Your proposed situation:-
1. You find an old thread.
2. You try to post and fail.
3. You request a moderator to re-open the thread (which takes a few minutes. Or hours, because mods aren't here all the time)
4. You post in it.

I think it's more like:
1. You find an old thread.
2. You can't post in it so you can't try.
3. Chances are more likely you won't request a re-open.

Users will think twice about laboriously asking for a re-open, likely won't, and will likely start a new thread if necessary. On a rare occasion might a re-open be necessary. Plus, automatically closed threads will prevent those users who accidentally post without looking at the date because will surely see it's closed. big_smile

I think with litemotiv's and my corrections that then forums would be slightly cleaner and moderation slightly easier.

Last edited by amadar (2012-09-12 11:47:38)

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#24 2012-09-12 15:47:30

fsckd
Forum Moderator
Registered: 2009-06-15
Posts: 3,538

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

The idea of automatic closure is nice and you're not the first to think of it. Automatic closure of old threads would be more work for the moderators and more distruptive to the community. There are a lot of threads that should not be closed as necro-bumps.

It's not hard for users to read the forum etiquette and understand when and when not to bump old threads. By my experience, most users have no problem wth understanding it. Those that do necro-bump tend not to do it again.


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#25 2012-09-12 16:16:24

Inxsible
Forum Fellow
From: Chicago
Registered: 2008-06-09
Posts: 9,071

Re: Please explain why necrobump threads are automatically closed

as fsckd mentioned, auto closing threads would be tedious in sub-forums where we allow necro bumping. There are threads in Try This which are dormant for a couple of years and then someone suddenly posts in it. We would have to keep opening those every now and then.

If FluxBBS allowed auto-closing flags in each sub-forum then it would help -- but you would have to take that up with them. We use vanilla fluxbbs. But will they do this? Other clients/users of FluxBBS might not want this or might have completely different requirements.


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