A recent question has become a duplicate of What should I be teaching my two year old? which is now quite old and was probably OK at the point of being posted. The question as it stands now however appears to be off-topic for Parenting and would normally be closed as either too broad or primarily opinion based.

My question here is what do we do on Parenting to such questions when we come across them? Should I cast a close vote on such a question?

On Stack Overflow, where I spend most of my time, such questions are closed. In some cases they are downvoted, especially if the question has been brought to META for clarification. What I don't want is for the question to receive downvotes due to the META effect. That isn't my goal here. I just want clarification on what we do here with old, off-topic questions.

  • This one appears to be by all normal SE rules entirely opinion based / too broad. It probably was okay back then, but if it was asked now it would be closed instantly. I have no problems with locking it now so no new answers are posted on it. – Rory Alsop May 1 '17 at 19:50
  • @Beofett I would be one to VTC. It's too broad since the question asks three questions. It's POB because what you think you should teach a child may differ to what I would teach them. It's my opinion verses your opinion. I asked the question since parenting is in BETA and a little "softer" if you will on questions compared to Stack Overflow and I wanted clarification on how to handle such questions. – Bugs May 1 '17 at 19:51
  • @Rory The question at heart is "what is a normal 'curriculum' for a 2 year old". I didn't feel it was too broad or opinion based back then, and disagree now. However, it now seems that my opinion is completely irrelevant, so long as one user and one moderator disagrees with me, with no meta discussion? – user420 May 1 '17 at 19:52
  • @Bugs Then the usual course of action would be to attempt to fix the question, possibly by putting it on hold, soliciting feedback from the author, and editing. Despite the fact that it is old, and the chances of the author responding are somewhat remote, bypassing every part of the process and locking it was completely inappropriate. – user420 May 1 '17 at 19:53
  • @Beofett start a discussion on meta if you wish. Getting community feedback would be very useful and I'm happy for that. – Bugs May 1 '17 at 19:56
  • @Bugs Asking for clarification was entirely appropriate. I'd deleted my first comment because criticizing you for asking was inappropriate. However, it is worth noting that from this site's very beginning, it was declared "experimental", as much more subjective questions were allowed. It's fine if that experiment is deemed a failure (and the duration of this site's beta is good support for that). But such a decision shouldn't be at the hands of a single moderator, without normal discussion. – user420 May 1 '17 at 19:56
  • Actually, @Beofett - mods are specifically empowered with decisions. In general, as you will see from the number of times I query the user population, I await a majority decision in meta (eg when updating scope etc) but this one is a no-brainer. – Rory Alsop May 1 '17 at 19:59
  • @Bugs I think Rory just made clear that he feels no discussion is necessary. Unless I'm misreading his comment (and his actions), it seems quite clear that he has a different opinion of on-topic than what had been the norm here for literally years, and is absolutely unapologetic about unilaterally enforcing that opinion without meta discussion. As such, I feel no need to attempt such a discussion – user420 May 1 '17 at 19:59
  • Also, while this site is more of a challenge than sites with stricter topics, this is definitely not countable as a failure. Probably the opposite - the beta duration is almost irrelevant on this. What is relevant is the number of visits, members, and the value given to those who need answers – Rory Alsop May 1 '17 at 20:00
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    @RoryAlsop Actually, I happen to be quite familiar with what mods are empowered with. The intent was to be human exception handlers, and I've always advocated for community consensus on every SE I've been a participant on (perhaps you're forgetting I was mod here for years?). Yes, you are empowered to make this call. But being empowered to do so does not make it automatically the correct choice to make. That is also a "no-brainer". – user420 May 1 '17 at 20:01
  • @RoryAlsop Why do you think this site has been in beta longer than every other site in the history of SE (I don't think that's actually hyperbole)? You're missing one key element, which is a sufficient body of high-reputation users so the community can be self-policing. You cannot possibly argue that that is something that parenting.se has ever demonstrated. – user420 May 1 '17 at 20:03
  • No, I have not forgotten. And I think your moderation example was one of the best, to be honest. But I'm afraid I disagree with you on this. The CMs have also stated that if mods are confident with a decision to just take it. And beta is absolutely not a sign of failure in any sense so I'm not really sure what your angle is. Happy to chat in chat if you really want to. – Rory Alsop May 1 '17 at 20:24
  • Again, yes, you are empowered to make that decision, particularly if you're confident in it. But again, confidence is not the same as being right. Regarding my "angle", my point is that long-term user retention and participation has been the area this site has always struggled most with. And now another top rep user is leaving. – user420 May 1 '17 at 21:06

Either raise it in meta, as you have, or flag for a moderator so we can lock or delete, as appropriate.

In this instance, I have put a historical lock on the post.

  • Perfect, thanks Rory. – Bugs Apr 19 '17 at 16:12
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    For clarification, what meta discussions have occurred to render that question too broad or primarily opinion based? Has there been specific discussion on this? Had users voted to close it? The question was acceptable back then; saying it is off-topic now requires some demonstration of consensus. Without that, this is basically one person bypassing the normal process of community review. – user420 May 1 '17 at 19:23
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    Incidentally, by locking it, the community has had the usual options to dispute the decision removed. I cannot vote to reopen. I cannot even flag it. – user420 May 1 '17 at 19:25

The correct process is to vote to close these questions.

Doing so will place the question, no matter how old, in the review queue, where other users with sufficient reputation will be prompted to decide if they agree or not.

Alternately, you can start a meta discussion asking if the question is still a good fit.

In my opinion, a moderator locking the question based off a single user's meta question, without any further discussion, was inappropriate, and bypassed every normal step in the process.

  • What if it gets closed (and removed) as the outcome? Is this what you're saying, that historical locks are not valuable tools? Every site I participate in regularly has evolved, and has questions that were once acceptable no longer are. Some of them should be closed (then deleted), especially as they serve as poor templates for questions now acceptable. But they continue to garner views and answer questions, and have value for that reason. As users can't put old posts in historical locks, is this essentially what you disagree with? – anongoodnurse May 2 '17 at 13:46
  • @anongoodnurse I have no problem with the idea of it being closed, then being locked for historical value, if that is what the community decides. My issue is jumping immediately from "this is a highly voted, long-standing, accepted question" to "this is locked, and no discussion is needed because it's a 'no-brainer'". – user420 May 2 '17 at 14:34
  • I'm not sure of how to do this as a mod. I don't check every question that is closed. It's not so busy a site that this can't be done, but it sounds to be historically locked, like every question would need to be discussed in meta. At times, meta participation is too low to arrive at what seems like a consensus. – anongoodnurse May 2 '17 at 17:07
  • @anongoodnurse The question wasn't closed before Rory locked it. That whole part of the process was skipped, which is my point of contention. And yes, I think every question that gets historically locked should only be done so after some form of meta discussion, even if it is a blanket discussion that covers entire categories of historical questions. Historical locks are, historically, quite rare. – user420 May 2 '17 at 20:51
  • Meta participation being too low to arrive at a consensus, while true, is (pardon me for being blunt) a terrible reason to skip it. If participation is too low to bother with meta discussion, then there is no motivation for people to bother participating in, or even checking, meta, since most important things about the site rules are decided elsewhere. If you don't even attempt to bring discussion to meta, who will? – user420 May 2 '17 at 20:53
  • Historical locks may be rare on this site, but on other sites they are not. I am on a site that has high user participation, and the custom there is to flag; if the mod thinks a historical lock is appropriate, they will do so. We do attempt to bring discussions to meta, all the time. – anongoodnurse May 2 '17 at 22:33
  • I'm assuming you're referring to graduated sites with large volumes of questions. I'd be very surprised if those historically locked questions really represent a large proportion of content. I believe on SO, they're very rare considering how many questions exist. I have yet to see any site where historically locked questions are a significant proportion of the content, and if they are, it seems like that would indicate something strange. As for bringing stuff to meta "all the time", this is only true for smaller values of "all", since clearly this issue was not included. – user420 May 2 '17 at 23:32
  • Anyway, I expect my account will be deleted shortly, and I've thrown in my 2 cents, so further discussion is really pointless. – user420 May 2 '17 at 23:33

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