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Given the time-dependent nature of many of the questions on this site, would it be possible to restrict some old questions so that they don't float back to the top of the "Recently Active" list? I'm thinking specifically about these questions I saw recently:

Both of which are from the 2016 election, but were answered, edited, or commented on recently, assumedly because Sanders and Clinton have been back in the news with the upcoming 2020 elections.

Most of the SE sites I participate in don't have this problem, because old questions and answers are still generally useful. But many political questions have a definite expiration date, and it's confusing to see them churned up out of context.

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    For context: The edit on the first question was precisely to clarify that it is a historic question about the 2016 election, and not about the 2020 election. The edits on the second question not so much. They were just format corrections and tagging which were IMO unnecessary on a question which is both obsolete and closed. – Philipp Mar 16 at 16:24
  • @Philipp: lol — that's funny. But it still faked me out. – Ted Wrigley Mar 16 at 16:25
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Such a feature doesn't exist, and I don't think it should.

When we have a question about a recent event, and that event fell out of the news cycle, then we should do one of two things with this question:

  1. Edit it to make it clear that it is a question about a specific historic situation. There is nothing wrong with having historic questions on the site. Someone already did that with the question "Can the US election be postponed if the FBI reopens the investigation?" by changing it into "Can the 2016 US presidential election be postponed if the FBI reopens the investigation on Hillary Clinton's email server?".

    (I actually would prefer if people would already title their questions like that from the start, because questions on Stack Exchange are supposed to be eternal. But one problem at a time...)

  2. Edit it to make the question applicable to the general situation. That way it is still relevant if a similar situation occurs in the future. In this case, this could have been done by turning it into a question like "Can a US presidential election be postponed if one of the candidates is a subject of an ongoing FBI investigation?". Who knows, maybe it gets relevant again in 2024 when Melania Trump and Michelle Obama run against each other.

I don't see why we should put a time limit on such edits. Old questions getting back onto the frontpage due to maintenance edits can be annoying, but there is a good reason for doing that: It gets us all to take a look at such edits and review them.

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No, there's no such feature presently, i.e. mods can't just "flip a switch to turn on" something like that. And if you think or hope that the company is gonna implement such a feature just for P.SE, I direct you to my meta-rant on a related topic.

Mods could lock down such questions, which would prevent all new edits of any kind, I think, but that would probably have to be done per-question (unless they use a script running on their local machines to automate such actions) and I have the feeling it's gonna be considered an [way] overkill intervention for this problem. As far as I can tell, locking a question would prevent new answers (and edits to the question), but won't prevent edits to answers, which I think would still float the question back to the top of queue. So all existing answers would have to be locked too to get the effect you desire using the current toolset. (You can search the big/technical meta for further discussions on locking.)

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