17

We've all been there. A beloved or essential application shuts down. Maybe they ran out of money. Maybe they merged with another company. Maybe they just got bored. In any event, the app is no longer available. And since it's a web application, it's not like you can keep running a local copy of that old version. Except in outrageous circumstances, it's gone.

Even worse, any moderately popular web application will have questions here. Questions (and answers) that are no longer useful.

What should we do with such questions? How can we find them? Can we point people to alternative apps?

Related:

14

Such questions should be Closed with the custom Off-topic reason: Questions on applications or application features that are no longer available are off-topic for Web Applications as no one will ever be able to make use of the answers again.

In some cases, such as Hotmail, there is a clear successor app. The tag for the retired app should be made a synonym of the successor. (Questions that are still clearly about the original app and not applicable to the new app due to different features, etc., should still be closed.) In extremely rare cases (e.g., Delicious) a web app may be resurrected and questions become viable again.

Below is a list of Web applications that have questions here, as well as information on when the app was retired (possibly useful for updating the tag wiki and/or leaving comments) and some possible alternative apps, if applicable.

Google+

Retired for consumers 2019-04-02. Still available as part of G Suite.
(open)
Should not be closed by default. If the question is specifically about the G Suite version or is applicable, it should be left open.
Alternatives: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Google Checkout

Replaced by Google Wallet: 2011
(open)

Google Code

Retired: 2015-03-12
(open)
Alternatives: Github, Bitbucket

Google Inbox

(See Inbox by Gmail below)

Google Instant Search

Returned search results in real time. As more than half of all Google searches are on mobile, this was deemed less than optimal.
(open)

Google Latitude

Retired: 2013-08-09
(open)

Google Plus Photos

Being replaced by Google Photos starting 2015-08-01 (see [1] and [2])
(open)

Google Reader

Retired 2013-07-01
(open)
Alternatives: The Old Reader, Feedly, Netvibes

Google Talk

Replaced by Google Hangouts, 2013-05-15
Completely removed from Gmail, 2017-06-24

(open)
Questions with this tag should not be "closed by default" as this tag is used for the Google Chat overall platform. The last remaining holdout for Google Talk, Gmail, will lose that feature for good in June, 2017. It has as synonyms:

Google Wave

Retired 2012-01-31
(open)

Gowalla

Retired 2012-03-10
(open)
Alternatives: Foursquare/Swarm

Grooveshark

Retired 2015-04-30
(open)
Alternatives: Rdio, Google Play Music, Pandora

Hotmail

Replaced by Outlook.com, 2013
is a synonym of

iGoogle

Retired 2013-11-01
(open)
Alternatives: igHome, NetVibes, start.me

Inbox by Gmail

Retired 2019-04-02
(open)
Alternatives: Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo! Mail, many others

Meebo

Acquired by Google 2012-06-04
(open)
Alternatives: IM+, Trillian

Orkut

Retired 2014-09-30
(open)
Alternatives: Facebook, Diaspora

Picasa Web Albums

Shut down 2016-08-02 (source)
(open)
Alternatives: Facebook Photo Albums, Flicker, Google Photos, Instagram, etc.

Posterous

Shut down 2013-04-30
(open)
Alternatives: Blogger, WordPress.com

Postini

Email, security, and archiving service folded into G Suite and discontinued in August, 2012
(open)

Vine

Smartphone apps discontinued October, 2016. Archive of old videos remains, but all social network aspects have been shut off.
(open)

Writeboard

Retired unknown; functionality folded into Basecamp
(open)
Alternatives: Basecamp

Yahoo Pipes

Retired 2015-09-30
(open)
Alternatives: IFTTT

  • 1
    I think that questions and answers of obsolete apps should not be deleted if the reputation gained in those post will be lost. – Rubén Jun 4 '15 at 15:32
  • 1
    If the post got +3 and has been around for 60 days, deleting it will not cause a loss of reputation points. – ale Jun 4 '15 at 16:48
  • 1
    Please do not delete posts. I don't care if they are old and outdated or not. If I worked to make an answer and earned credit for such an answer/question I don't want to lose out simply because something out of my control was discontinued. – ComputerLocus Jun 5 '15 at 16:50
  • 2
    @Fogest You don't have to lose them. Nothing prevents you from saving them to your hard drive, putting them on your blog, etc. But if the posts are no longer useful for this site, the site should not keep hosting them. – user79865 Jun 5 '15 at 23:12
  • @HomegrownTomato I won't know if my answer is getting removed. I'll just suddenly have rep go missing. I agree a question should be closed, but not locked. It is still neat to be able to go back yo historical elements and look back on them. – ComputerLocus Jun 6 '15 at 1:10
  • 2
    If the answer has a score of +3 and has been around for 60 days, you won't lose any reputation. – ale Jun 6 '15 at 1:12
  • 1
    I wouldn't worry too much about content being deleted. I mean, we have questions about google-wave hanging around still, and it's been dead for over three years. Still and all, the worst of the content will be auto-deleted by the system eventually, and we don't have very many non-Moderators who can vote to delete in any case. I'll remove the guidance about deleting from the answer. – ale Jun 6 '15 at 13:33
-1

Do nothing. Deleting the question may throw away nuggets of useful information. Competitors/successors may emerge, and Q&As at Stack Exchange may be of use to service designers.

As an alternative, mods can apply historical lock to all questions in the tag 3 months after the service is shut down.

It should be noted that Web Apps isn't exactly a site with extremely high activity. There were only 138 folks who answered at least one question last month, and only 24 users with 2 or more answers. Deleting their answers will not motivate them to participate in the site.

  • 1
    Questions about retired webapps should be closed and those which haven't good answers should be deleted. – Rubén Nov 24 '17 at 16:23

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