Every once in a while a couple of our more popular questions pop up in a review queue because someone has added a new answer. Should the original question be asked today, it would be quickly closed as too broad or opinion based (ie really subjective questions, or lists). There are also cases where the information contained might have become severely dated, and updating/improving answers seems like a lost cause - a blank slate would be faster.

I'm wondering if we should close or lock certain questions so they don't continue to attract answers or be taken as examples for current questions. Some are Community Wiki, and I'm sure many if not all of them hold value in their content, but it seems to me they've sufficiently developed and don't fit current question asking guidelines enough to warrant some kind of closure but preservation (which of course is what locking is for).

Some examples:

I thought this had been asked before, but I couldn't find it in searching. I mostly focused on questions, so it might have been in an answer somewhere or comments.

2 Answers 2


I suspect that this may be a (near-)duplicate of Should Shopping List Questions be Off Topic (and Closed) on GIS Stack Exchange? and @DevdataTengshe mentioned historical locks as a possibility at the end of his answer to that.

I suggest that we should consider applying Historical Locks to each of the questions that you list, for the reasons that you cite, on a case-by-case basis.

There is currently a similar discussion occurring on Meta SE:

  • 1
    Definitely related though I went a bit broader in scope; might be what I was thinking of. I could remove shopping lists from this one. In fact I'm really conflicted on the what free software question. On the one hand I think it is useful and it's one of the few that should stay open so new things can be added. On the other, there's a lot of answers there already to wade through, some duplication, and I'm betting some software that is no longer around or has been merged into something else. CW is fine and all, but does anyone periodically visit these questions and clean/update them?
    – Chris W
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 5:16
  • 1
    I think any question with more than about five answers rarely has any but the first five looked at, often no more than the first few. I see little evidence of anyone maintaining such Q&As so they just become more out of date and less useful than when someone first thought they were valuable enough to ask and answer.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 5:28
  • 2
    Closing useful old posts which are off-topic now, will not trigger deletion of such posts. Locking and closing should have the same effect, i.e., avoiding new answers, bumping, etc. A difference is that locking won't let users continue earning reputation, and closing will (if the post is not CW). Commented May 22, 2015 at 14:03
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    @AndreSilva Thanks for pointing out that distinction; I was unaware of it and it's definitely a consideration for those non-CW posts.
    – Chris W
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 1:12
  • 1
    Just took a nibble by voting to close two of my examples. We'll see what happens. I'll give another week or so for more opinions here and then accept your answer. I suppose it would be up to a mod who shows up before voting ends or happens to notice whether or not to lock instead of closing.
    – Chris W
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 1:43
  • This issue doesn't seem to be attracting much attention or concern, and as expected has proven to be controversial. It's clear that closing isn't a feasible option - one of the two I tested with remains closed and the other was reopened. Both of those and the one you closed attracted some number of reopen votes (and I suspect it was simply a matter of who saw it in the queue as to whether it was successful). As pointed out at the meta you link, it only takes 5 people to reopen. Thus, I believe the only valid solution currently is a lock, which can only be decided/implemented by mods.
    – Chris W
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 17:46
  • I've applied Historical Locks to the first two questions in your list. I suggest that if there are any strong feelings as to why this might not be the appropriate action to take on one or other then it should become the subject of a separate Meta Q&A related to that Main Q&A (i.e. on a case by case basis).
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 22:06
  • Seeing the 61st answer just arrive on gis.stackexchange.com/questions/12105/… has triggered me to place an Historical Lock on that too.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 23:00

They are all good questions. Proof is in the up-votes.

Your opinion that they are "primarily opinion based" is just an opinion, and is as useful or worthless as those "opinions" of others that you wish to snuff out because you don't like a question.

  • 2
    I'm not trying to snuff out anyone's opinions, nor did I at any point say I didn't like a question. I'm simply looking at the site guidance on what is or isn't an appropriate question for GIS.SE. Are they great questions in general? Absolutely. Are they good conversations/discussion to have somewhere? Again, absolutely. Do they fit within GIS.SE guidelines? No, and I could pull numerous citations from the help to support that. That any answer to "what makes a map beautiful?" would be an opinion is a simple fact, because beautiful is a completely subjective term.
    – Chris W
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 0:51

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