I was revisiting my reputation history tonight and came across an answer I submitted to a question about Aardvark, a social Q&A service that Google closed down during its "More Wood Behind Fewer Arrows" cleaning spree.

Since Aardvark is doubtless only one of many now-defunct services covered by questions on Web Apps, I'm curious if there is (or needs to be) some way of marking those questions as pertaining to a service that no longer exists.

For instance, should votes be allowed on questions referring to defunct services? Should those votes, if allowed, count toward reputation? Is there a case for rewriting the question and its answers to be in the past tense? Other considerations?

  • 4
    If the services are permanently down, it may be worth closing the questions as "too localized" since they will certainly not help anyone in the future.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 3:15
  • 2
    I agree with @AnnaLear -- closing as "too localized" and perhaps leave a comment explaining that the service has gone under. Also consider editing the tag wiki and tag excerpt.
    – Aarthi
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 3:22
  • 3
    No matter how the questions and answers are dealt with, the reputation generated by them should not be revoked from people who contributed to the site by providing questions and answers that were valuable at the time! --Edit-- Adding this as part of a new answer. I think it is important not to alienate users this way.
    – A.M.
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 3:13

3 Answers 3


I agree with Anna, Aarthi & Eight on this. As the service is no longer available the questions should be closed "too localized".

There were two questions tagged which I have now closed.

For any questions that you come across where the service no longer exists then these questions should be closed also.

If you do not have sufficient privileges to cast close votes then please flag for Moderator attention.


Much like how we handled the questions about Google Wave. It's no longer up and running, now in read-only mode if at that, and all those questions are closed or being closed as too localised.

After a while, they'll be deleted and the votes from those washed away from the participating users' reputations.


The questions and answers should probably be made invisible or otherwise made low-visibility in search results etc. by some mechanism.

However this is done, though, it should not result in related reputation being revoked.

People who contributed to the site through questions and answers that were valuable at the time should not be penalized for an action completely disconnected from their efforts (the related web service being discontinued).

Retroactively deleting reputation, the way it looks like things are currently being done, could alienate users in general, and it may even make users more reluctant to post on web services that are newer or somehow in question.

Holding to the promise not to devalue any of user's past work might require a new kind of mechanism, where questions are put into a kind of "archived" status with no future deletion (at least of the rep generated by them).


Thanks to AlEverett for pointing out that reputation is not revoked in some cases. These cases are either

  • score of >= 3 and visible for >= 60 days, or
  • score of >= 3 or visible for >= 60 days

(The relevant MetaStackOverflow post on answer deletion says "and", but the relevent StackOverflow blog entry introducing the exception is unclear.)

If it is "or", then good questions and answers on topics that were once useful should mostly be covered by the "visible for >= 60 days criterion. Not all will be, though.

If it is "and", then the problem remains a big one. There are plenty of useful questions and answers that happen not to get up to a score of 3. If that were a valid criterion, then instead of being applied just for out-of-date topics, it would also be applied to questions that are simply old...but it is not. I don't see any reason not preserve reputation related to all questions and answers deemed worthy of being on the site while the topic was current. If some people think there should be a different standard, though, and want to base it on votes, it should be a lower barrier, such as having a vote score of >=1, or just having no downvotes.

  • 1
    In stead of protecting a question from "thank you's", you could protect them for downvotes and give information about the question being outdated.
    – Jacob Jan
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 5:58
  • 1
    @A.M.: No one is suggesting deletion, only closure. Further, anything that has a score of three or higher and has been visible for 60 days, when deleted, will not remove the reputation points from the poster. (source: How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean?)
    – ale
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 12:51
  • 2
    @AlEverett From Eight Days of Malaise's comment, "they'll be deleted and the votes from those washed away from the participating users' reputations". Thanks for the link. I see now that there are exceptions. I don't think it should be limited to exceptions like that, though. It sounds like the way to do fix that is just to not delete things before 60 days of visibility. (By the way, you say both criteria need to be true, but the answer you linked to says "or", not "and". ...but the SO Blog post isn't clear on it: blog.stackoverflow.com/2012/03/…)
    – A.M.
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 23:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .