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I've noticed this a few times recently. As an example, this question: Can anyone tell me what this sans serif font is? has been flagged as off-topic (and has as of writing this 1 close vote).

The question clearly is off-topic now and doesn't follow the font identification requirements. But at the time of writing it seems there were no requirements and it doesn't look like the community believed it to be out of scope at that time. Almost 3 years later and things have changed, but does the question need to be closed?

I can see the argument that a new user may stumble on the question and assume that asking a similar question is ok, when it isn't. I'm worried that the opposite may also be true though. Old questions with a lot of views and answers bring in new users and have value, even if they are no longer in scope.

There is a related question on meta.se, but that is specifically about StackOverflow and there doesn't seem to be much consensus:

Just to be clear, I'm not specifically talking about font-id questions, but anything that is no longer "on-topic" that previously was. If it is a badly written question that slipped through at the time of writing then it should probably be closed.

I have no strong opinions about this either way but I don't think we should default to closing old questions when they may have some worth, a better idea would be to try and edit the question to bring it in to scope, but then you have to battle with invalidating current answers and retrospectively complying to font-id or "what-have-you-tried?" questions doesn't really make sense.

So... should I (or more appropriately, we) close these old questions?

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  • The example question is probably a bad example as it isn't a great question regardless but assume there are question with more worth or take this as a hypothetical.
    – Cai
    Jun 22 '16 at 1:18
  • Yes, I believe we should for the same reason the top post in the meta you linked says Jun 22 '16 at 7:06
  • Remember, closing a question is not the same as deleting it.  Closed questions are still visible/searchable; you can even edit them and (I believe) post new comments.  The only thing you can't do is post new answers.  So closed questions can still pull in new users and provide information.  At the same time, since they're closed, they serve as examples of what kind of question is no longer welcome. (Yes, closed questions are somewhat more likely to be deleted eventually.  But, as I understand it, questions that have positive scores, and that have upvoted answers, are unlikely to be removed.)
    – Scott
    Jun 22 '16 at 23:46
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In general, yes. If you see something that is no longer on-topic you can vote to close it. Likewise, if you see something closed as off-topic that you think isn't you can vote to reopen it.

Now, if you mean should we actively seek out these old questions. Ain't nobody got time for that!

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