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Necromancy?

 
Ranch Foreman
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although off-topic: how about enforcing some rules about old topics? I've seen many topics "necromanzed" over the past weeks
 
Marshal
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If I move you to the Ranch Office, you won't be off‑topic any more. What you wrote suggested the new title for this t‍hread.

Good question.
Opinions vary about that. We used to have an FAQ called “DontWakeTheZombies”. I see it is still there, but it is very different from when I first logged in here, in 2005. We had lots of people complaining that they found old threads useful, and complaining if they were told off for waking zombies. They said their posts were useful, building on old discussions. Some of us mods, myself included, agreed with them, so the FAQ was changed to permit waking the dead. We get people every now and again finding something useful, or adding something new, on th‍reads several years old. Yes, we do get unfortunate cases where people post on old threads without saying anything useful, or even only advertise their products; We know how to delete the spam We get even more unfortunate cases, like the case you commented on yesterday. The new poster there was hoping that the old th‍read would help, but I am afraid we shall have to disappoint him.
I know hope somebody will disagree with me, but I think we are better off allowing waking the dead “necromancy” than leaving the zombies in their tombs.
 
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You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.—Inigo Montoya

Maybe "resurrection" is a better word than "necromancy," which is gross.
 
Bob Winter
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Maybe it's not the correct form grammatically, but according to wikipedia I used this term as I intended to:
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/necromancy
-> noun -> (3): synonym of necroposting (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/necropost)
-> derived terms: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/thread_necromancy

Nevermind, it doesn't matter how it's called. Also: I know I have no rights to question a once made decision. If it was decided that users can still add posts to long gone threads without any moderation, or at least information to may cosider starting a new topic and refer to the old one, so be it. I just raised the question as I had seen it several times over the past few weeks that there're a lot of new posts to topics which last post is serveral months to years old. And often they don't give any new input but rather are like "I have the same question" or "Do you still have this problem? / Was it solved?". And, to speak freely, this sure does kind of annoy me somehow.
On the other side I surely can understand that it may be hard for some mod to tell at which point "old" becomes "too old" to may have something in place like a bot which auto-closes topics when their last post reaches some time limit - maybe 3 months - or any other longer or shorter timespan for that matter?
Sure, often active topics get new posts within at least a week or two, some may take some longer time like if someone is on vacation or had some backup failed so no direct access. Others may seek out for opinions and are intended to be "open" for a longer-than-usual amount of time. But, at least in my very opinion, there's a point at which an old topic shouldn't get any new posts - it's "dead" and shouldn't be ressurected.
It's just my way of looking at it, as many "necroposts" are pointless. And those that aren't would do better in a new topic referencing the old one.
Maybe a softer way to approach this topic could be to somehow add a "warning" or "information" to the editor to inform the poster that the reply is to a topic which last post is "x amount of time" in the past and that one may consider to start a new topic instead.
Don't get me wrong - I also do hate those threads which just get edited and replaced by a "solved" or such and noone knows what was the original question. This should be avoided as well so someone using the search function and maybe find a related topic has at least a chance to take it as input. But some mod here once wrote: "Every question should be a topic on its own. Please avoid 'thread hijacking'".
 
Junilu Lacar
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Well, I guess the Inigo Montoya quote applied to me then...  
 
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Well, I suppose that "necromancy" would be resurrecting a dead post to re-ask the same or a related question. If you hijack an old post because you're not paying attention to the topic or you're looking to spam, that would be zombification, which is to day, the mis-use of the corpse.

Anything ending with "mancy" is basically attempting to obtain knowledge. And aside from science, there are a lot of ways that people have attempted to obtain knowledge over history, from bibliomancy to orinthomancy to ichthiomancy, ololygmancy, odontomancy and on and on and on...

The reason necromancy is considered the blackest of the black arts isn't because you're asking questions of decomposing corpses. In fact, the corpse may be long-gone before necromancy is initiated. Rather, it's the hubris of dragging a spirit from its resting-place back into life just to ask it questions about matters that are no longer of direct importance. That is a privilege reserved to gods.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Bob Winter wrote:. . . I have no rights to question a once made decision.

Maybe not “rights”, but there is nothing wrong with your expressing an opinion. We might reconsider the policy about old posts.

. . . without any moderation

Just about all post are moderated. Few actually need any action.

. . . this sure does kind of annoy me somehow.

Sorry if our policies are annoying you.

. . . tell at which point "old" becomes "too old" . . . add a "warning" or "information" . . . consider to start a new topic instead.

We don't have any expiry date; we don't believe that discussions ever become worthless however old they are. Good suggestion about the warning; let's see what everybody else thinks.

. . . those threads . . . replaced by a "solved" or such . . .

Yes, that is annoying isn't it. It wastes all the time somebody has taken answering the question.

"Every question should be a topic on its own. Please avoid 'thread hijacking'".

That wasn't me was it?

There is a nice distinction between encouraging new people to the forum, some of whom may not be used to fora, to behave in a particular fashion, and appearing to bully them, or scare them off. I personally try to appear helpful and say I am improving things.
 
Tim Holloway
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We actually have had discussions in the past as to whether really old threads should petrify and ultimately lock, and for a while we did chastise people for unearthing the long-dead. But eventually we decided that just because everyone in the original thread had retired to farm chickens in Sri Lanka was no reason that an old thread was worthless. So generally we allow resurrections now.
 
Marshal
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Sometimes people have brought back dead posts from years ago and a useful continuation has happened. On the other hand, it seems more common that people reply to a long-dead post with something like "I have the exact same problem", which is less helpful. But on balance I think it's better to allow bringing back the dead rather than spending our time berating people for doing it.
 
Bob Winter
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I'd like to thank any staff member took the time to participate in this topic. Your replies really did in fact opened my eyes about how to look at this topic from another point of view. I do better understand now that the fact that at least the possibility that an old thread may continue with new thoughts is worth the few ... how should I call it now ... "postings in old threads" (I guess that's the most polite way to name it).
@Campell: About the "annoyance about the policies": Now I have to admit it may was a bit harsh to call it such - I now see it rather: "Well, those are policies I may not go along that well ...". You don't have to apologize for it. It's just the way I see it - nothin anyone of the staff is responsible for.

As I now am more enlightened about why this policy is currently as it is may the mentioned "information" in the editor like "Hey, you're replying to an old thread. The last post was "X" ago." could be a possible way to go. I also do now better understand that for you it sure is a walk on a knifes edge about how to present yourself and this forum to users, mostly new ones but also ones already longer here.

And although this may not be good comaprison, but I can relate to it this way: As I'm rather young (just turned 29) I still do play video games rather often. There is a rather serious military simulation called ArmA3 - and although it's claimed to be used by some actual real life military for actual training of specific situations its community created some modifications to just use it as a platform for a rather peaceful role-playing game, nowadays known as Altis Life. As any real society the virtual ones also need rules, and it's common before you join such a server (with potential up to 100+ real players) to read its ruleset, "laws" and policies. And the same is true there: Many servers kind of reject themselfs from me by putting things in it like "prohibited" or "forbidden". I rather prefer if someone calls it "not allowed to" or "not tolerated" or "has not to be done" - as for me this is a more polite way - and shows that someone actually took some time to look over it instead of just copy and paste it from somewhere else as its often done.

TLDR: I guess you as the staff and administrators of this forum do know best as you have years and years of experience leading the site. And no matter what may or may not will be changed or if at all - I sure have to and will go along with it - no matter if I like it or not and if I may think different about the desicions made.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Thank you for mentioning it, which has stimulated some interesting discussion.
 
Trailboss
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Just to be clear:  waking old threads is encouraged.

 
Tim Holloway
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paul wheaton wrote:Just to be clear:  waking old threads is encouraged.


It is, however, funny when people ask questions of the original querant. While he/she might not literally be raising chickens in Sri Lanka, most will no longer be working on the same project (or even for the same employer) after 10 years or so.
 
paul wheaton
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True.

But I like to think that these forums are for perennial discussion of software engineering.  With the best threads being about what makes for a good linked list, or an excellent hashing algorithm.   Maybe the value of refactoring, or the definition of a pattern.  A 40 page long thread about how awful ORM is would be an excellent perennial discussion!  

 
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Junilu Lacar wrote:
Maybe "resurrection" is a better word than "necromancy," which is gross.



What's so gross about that? When I was a little I always wanted to be a necromancer. Or a train driver.
 
Rancher
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I think he might have been thinking of another word beginning with "necro".  
 
Bob Winter
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Although only "related", is there a reason this topic shows up as recent although its last post was over three years ago: https://coderanch.com/t/667481/mobile/error-mysql-connector-java-bin
When looking at the recent topics page it says last post today, but when I go into it it shows a over three years old post as last?
 
Saloon Keeper
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Someone posted in that topic, but the post was moderated away. That'll cause the topic to be "recent".
 
Bob Winter
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Ah ok, so it does fit in this topic perfectly as well ... do you as a staff have the ability to look in it to tell if it was a "useful" / "helpful" post or just another of those "I have the same issue" ? Would be interesting just to know as I almost made the same mistake: As I was on my way home I jsut read throug the topic without noticing the date. I was about to type a reply as the tram came and I thought: "nah, do it back home". When I opened it on my computer I spoted it: "3 years ago" and thought: "pew, luckly you didn'T made the same mistake you'Re complain about". Guess this shows how easyly it is to miss the date of the last post.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Bob Winter wrote:. . . do you as a staff have the ability . . .

We are omnipotent and omniscient. That translates into ordinary English as, “Able to get everything wrong, and everybody except themselves knows what the error is.”

When I opened it on my computer I spoted it: "3 years ago" . . .

It is quite likely that many people don't realise they are opening old posts. That is particularly unfortunate if they found the th‍read on Google and don't know the original poster (=OP) is no longer active and won't give them the advice they desperately want.
 
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