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One of the new shiny tools moderators get to use now is post annotations.

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This results in a small box below the post itself with the notice text. You can currently see it in action here, on a question about 1.9-pre.

Now, it would be unwise to suggest extensive use for a feature that currently can only be manually operated by moderators. For example, I could use it to manually tag questions about shortly lived prereleases of Minecraft (as seen in that example). It could very well be handy in a more general fashion, if shaped like this:

Whenever a major update for a game is released (new Minecraft releases; new World of Warcraft expansion packs; etc.), we mark all the questions for that tag as 'tainted,' which triggers a post annotation such as:

This question was asked before {...}. The answers may reflect the state of things at that time, and thus be no longer useful or relevant now.

Now, it'd be best if this annotation could also be removed automatically, just as it was added as such. Three possible scenarios:

  • The question is no longer applicable (say, about a removed item or mechanic), and then it should be closed as "too localized." So, closing a question should remove the notice.
  • The answers need updating (say, the mechanic changed), and then:
    • New answers are added (so, any new answer should remove the notice?)
    • Existing answers are edited (so, any answer edit should remove the notice? should we keep the notice until the top answer gets touched instead?)
  • Nothing needs to happen, which means somebody needs to stumble on the question and flag it for moderator attention so that we can remove the post notice (ugh).

Is this a good idea in the first place? When should the notice go away by itself? Can we make this happen?

  • I'm fairly certain we already did have a tag such as 'outdated-information' or something... – badp Sep 22 '11 at 21:52
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    I support stuff like this. Ideally, Mods would have an ability to do something like "All new questions with tag [Minecraft], "rapidly changing", 24 hour decay". – Raven Dreamer Sep 22 '11 at 21:54
  • I think it should be new answers that are upvoted by [some margin] should remove the notice, not just a new answer. – MBraedley Jul 23 '12 at 10:50
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I think it is a good idea. There are a lot of games for which this isn't going to be an issue – although pretty much every game gets updates these days, most of them are not significant.

For the games that have significant updates, it seems like a newly-accepted answer should remove the notice. I'm not exactly sure how you would get from existing content to newly-accepted ... on one hand, you'd almost want the asker to re-accept the best answer that applies to the new version. On the other hand, maybe the asker only wanted to know about the older version and isn't going to update (but how often will that happen?). Closing should remove the notice as well - the close reason would cover the tainting issue anyway.

Minecraft and WoW questions seem to get a lot of views, and those are obviously large communities anyway, so I would think there would be enough people to identify questions and answers that don't need to be changed after an update. Until (unless?) this becomes available to high-rep users, it'll be yet another thing that mods have to do ... but the alternative is hosting broken windows, which is, I assume, the reason why the feature was added in the first place. If users are vigilant about questions in those tags, then this would shift work from high-rep users and mods (who can vote to close questions) to mods only (who can clear "tainted" flags).

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    The problem is that the asker may not be around to flip the tick anyway... and what if I just update my own accepted answer? – badp Sep 27 '11 at 8:03
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    That is a good point. We already have that problem with questions in general (when the asker doesn't stay around to accept the best answer, assuming one is provided); it won't help to set up another possibility for that to happen. Would it be enough to clear the tainted flag if the accepted answer is edited? – Dave DuPlantis Sep 27 '11 at 12:20

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