Questions that ask for where to buy particular items (sometimes even in in particular locations) will likely get out of date eventually, as stores close and websites fall into disuse. It's easy to say we shouldn't allow questions that elicit such answers, not so easy to enforce (and I really wouldn't want to enforce such a policy).

Stack Exchange discourages answers that are likely to age badly. Unfortunately, a lot of cycling expertise lies in knowing where to get, say, a 9/8" yellow teflon-coated framijamit for a road bike, or what framebuilder is the only one who makes pink tandem carbon frames with braze-ons for commuter mug holders. Questions like these represent real problems, but would be difficult to answer with how-I-know-the-answer other than "I happen to know this".

How do we identify questions likely to get out of date within a few years? Should we use the tagging system to track them? Close them after a year? Keep updating them?

Do we find a way to revisit likely-to-age-badly questions on a regular basis? Do we discourage the most egregious likely-to-expire questions?

(I was originally writing this up as part of my answer to this meta question, but I think it's really a separate issue.)


I don't see the issue here. If I have problem "X" that needs to be solved right now, I'm not going to agonize over posting my question to SE.

And if in 10 years the accepted answer is no longer valid, someone with the same problem can either post a comment, edit the question or research a valid answer. All of these actions should bump the question, bring it to the community's attention and the outdated content can be fixed up.

Closing or tagging questions that might "age badly" sounds like a very subjective decision to begin with...

  • 1
    What about reposting questions that are outdated? – sixtyfootersdude May 13 '11 at 3:13

(Rewrote my answer after thinking about it more)

I don't think "likely to age badly" is a good criteria for weighing the usefulness of a question.

All your examples are shopping questions, and I think there's something to be said for establishing some criteria around "shopping" questions because those have multiple problems and the potential "aging badly" thing is only one part.

Bicycles have been around more than 100 years and some people are doing stuff with cycles that are that old. Nothing is ever really obsolete. A question today about buying a new bicycle could be useful in 30 years to somebody looking to buy a used bicycle on craigslist.

What questions other than a shopping question are we getting (or likely to get) that would age badly?

I can think of only one non-shopping "age-badly" question on our site so far: Bicycle Innovations in the Pipeline. And that could take decades to age to the point of the answers being incorrect. (Separately: I'm not a fan of the question, as it seems forumy, open-ended and not about a specific actual problem)

  • My problem with "innovations in the pipeline" is that so many of the answers looked backward, at what we have already tried (and in many cases currently use), rather than forward. Even forward a few years seemed to be beyond most of them. So it's not going to age any worse in the future than it does right now. – Мסž Mar 7 '11 at 3:17

Didn't I already cover this quite definitively in


Thus, when it comes to shopping questions, don’t ask us what you should buy — ask us what you need to learn to tell what you should buy.

Thus, correctly answered questions of this type will teach you "how to fish", that is, give you the technical background necessary to evaluate the buying decisions and make a good choice without being spoon fed specific retailers or products, which will be useless / obsolete / irrelevant in a few years.

  • You did indeed, but this covers more than just shopping; it also covers stuff like links to small websites. Also, some folks don't read the blog or spend time on meta.SO, but might see this here. – Neil Fein Feb 28 '11 at 15:22

Knowing the individual bicycle companies and what they sell is part of the knowledge we should be imparting on this site. So a "where should I buy this question", or rather a "who sells what I want" question is extremely useful when it comes to bicycling since there are a lot of manufactures and they all sell different things for different purposes.

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