We have a problem. Three of our currently highest scoring questions are no longer acceptable by current site rules, and may never never have been acceptable to begin with. It's likely the only reason they still exist today is that they each contain excellent answers, and valuable information.
The questions I am referring to are as follows:
If these questions had been asked today, they would be closed as Not a Real Question since they are both 1) Too Broad and 2) Vague. However, for some reason, they were never closed when they first posted, and then due to the excellent answers provided by Tzenes users have been reluctant to close them ever since. This is all fine and dandy, except that they are nothing more than a broken window. We can't exactly go around closing equally vague and broad questions while these three still exist. It just doesn't make sense.
So, we should close them then, right? Well, no. The problem is that closing is a temporary state, and any question closed as anything other than a duplicate (or a historical lock, see below) should eventually either be re-opened or deleted. They are not meant to sit in closed limbo forever, that's just not what closing is intended for.
Okay, so just delete them then, right? Well, no, that also has problems. Because although the questions may no longer be acceptable (in their current form) by the site, they contain some of the best and most useful answers currently hosted by our site. Yes, they no longer meet the current standard of the site, but the reason they exist is because we messed up. These questions should never have remained open long enough for Tzenes to post his answers in the first place. They should have been closed, and then either fixed and re-opened, or deleted. Deleting such excellent information from our site because we screwed up is not a good solution in my eyes. After all, one of the reasons Stack Exchange exists is to be a resource for information like this.
The way I see it, we have four possible solutions:
Attempt to Reword the Question
The ideal solution would be to find some way to reword the question to make it acceptable on the site, while still having the current answers valid.
The benefit of this solution is that the question would no longer be a problem, the information would still be on the site, and could the question can still be modified and answered by users in the future.
The problem with this solution is that this could prove a very difficult task, if not impossible.
Close with a Historical Lock
This the type of situation a historical lock exists for. A question which no longer meets current site standards, but is an excellent source of information.
The benefit of this solution is that it keeps the information on the site, and gives us a justifiable reason why similiar questions should be closed despite the existence of these questions.
The downside to this solution is that we've managed to avoid using historical locks up until now, which is a good thing. They are really meant to be something of a last resort, when we have no other viable solutions.
Delete the Question
Deleting the question is another solution.
The benefit to this solution is that it would remove the broken window, and allow us to close future questions without any concerns.
The downside to this solution is that all the valuable information from the question would be gone.
The final option is to simply do nothing, but come up with a reason why this question is an exception.
The benefit to this solution is that the question and it's information remain, and more answers can be added in the future. It would also provide us with justification why this question remains open when similiar questions are closed.
The downside to this solution is that I feel like any justification for keeping this open would be flimsy, and would just pave the way for further exceptions, which will lead no where good.
So, Arqade community, what shall we do?