Why do old questions on Hotline become re-activated?

Why and how do one-or-two year old questions suddenly become re-activated? For example today there are 3 or 4 inquiries first asked a year or two ago "Vegan Alfredo Sauce" inquiry, the "cooking for a person undergoing chemotherapy" etc. Although interesting, not necessarily very timely for the OP's!! Just curious.



mensaque January 13, 2013
Thanks for this question,creamtea.The older questions,I don't mind.Sometimes I check back on answers for my own questions,or look for some interesting topic that I might have missed.But the new "ask a question" box,I mean,gap...The other day I felt really stupid when I couldn't find it!And when I did,it did not work.After 5 times trying,I gave up!
SKK January 11, 2013
I just asked a question and it was daunting getting through the process. Add to that not all of us are expert in tagging. If we had a vote, and I know probably not, I would vote no to the current way of asking questions. A lot to wade through when I just want to ask a question. Most of the stuff that came up had nothing to do with my question.
SKK January 11, 2013
Is a FAQ portion not useful? Not having the tech expertise of Sam and others, I can share my experience which is when I see questions on top that have been answered several years ago, thoroughly exhausted, repeat again my experience is the site is less than active today. Speaking hotline only, of course.
Sam1148 January 11, 2013
I still think maybe a compromise could be made with the technology. Maybe a "We found X threads that seem to answer you question, do you still wish to post a new topic?" "Post as is?".

I know cooks (and IT people) are anal by nature and like things tidy and tight. But in the human nature of online forums that level of "slap down" can seem unwelcoming to new people...people click away if they have to jump through more than 10 seconds of hoops, and it's really all about page views and traffic when it comes to a site.
I think most of the old timers here don't mind repeating a answer to a question asked again, again, and for new members it gives them a opportunity to chime in with responses and make them feel valuable to the forum.
It should be welcoming to new members and not 'well, we did this already'. More traffic, higher pager views, what's not to like?
Well, except for spamming type posts. (g).
It would be interesting to see the metrics of new users posting questions for the old vs new posting formats.
Droplet January 11, 2013
To people keeping up with Hotline daily, it can be annoying indeed, but the truth is that people are much less likely to do a search of older question and read through the results, than they are to just type in a question. And that leads to regulars having to inevitably having to tell them it has been discussed already and post links to the older discussions, because , as Sam said, we don't want to write about the same thing again. With that in mind the keyword autocomplete was a smart way to design this. Numerous duplicates will otherwise flood the database with simply references as the answer. There exists the option for opting out of e-mail updates for people who already participated in a given thread, if they feel it is no longer relevant to them, the rest is just a matter of scrolling down a few inches, because there really isn't many more than 2 or 3 old questions present at any given time.
trampledbygeese January 11, 2013
I like this new way of asking questions and finding old threads. Sure it encourages raising the dead threads (ohh, scary, zombie threads), but it also accumulates all the information on a topic/question in one thread for easier reference later on.

If for some reason, you needed to look up this totally awesome answer about 'how to separate an egg' you only have to wade through one or two threads, instead of 100 threads on the same topic. (I'm exaggerating, but you get the general idea).

Bumping the topics up to the top, is actually kind of helpful for new people on this site, but would probably get annoying pretty fast. Is there some sort of magic computer thingy that could act like triage? New urgent unanswered questions at top, new ones unanswered next... I don't know. Just an idea. Feel free to ignore it.
Karl R. January 11, 2013
Thanks everyone for sharing their thoughts on this! While we're happy more people are able to find and benefit from the questions and answers of the past using the autocomplete search, it's clear that having older questions showing right up top with new questions without any additional UI treatment is a bit jarring.

We have some ideas for how to address this, from simply not bumping older but recently answered questions onto the front page to adding the option to sort by new or recently updated. We'll let you know if we make any updates.
creamtea January 11, 2013
Droplet, I don't necessarily mean when asking a question, but in general when I scan Hotline for interesting topics, I see old threads; it just seems that for some fresh answers, it's as if the person responding might not realize that it is an older thread. For example, one on specialty vinegar or how to use or where to obtain a rare ingredient--by 2 years the meal has been cooked or the item found, therefore not very urgent for the OP; it it may be interesting for others, but the later posters don't always seem to realize the thread is "aged." Seems that there may an intrinsic "shuffler" that brings up older threads, maybe to keep Hotline lively (?) or...
ATL January 11, 2013
Well-said, Sam. I too prefer the older way of posting questions for the reasons he articulates.

Voted the Best Reply!

Sam1148 January 11, 2013
I liked the older way of submitting questions. Sure we have some repeats...but as time changes a 1 year or so thread is stale and even regulars don't won't to respond for fear of flooding the thread, or appearing 'know it all'.
And things change with seasons and years. And get lost in in the bottom of a old thread.
I like repeats for fresh threads. The auto search might be more useful for some. But that, to me, muddles the freshness of information, and makes submitting threads less interactive for the community almost as if say in "Well, we've done this before shut up". Which, is a electronic slap down for someone asking a question. There must be a better way to do this, to encourage new people in the forum that are asking questions and yet point them to old topics for sound info.

I thought about posting new info for the chemo thread...but didn't because the thread was old and I had already posted multiple times in the older thread.
Droplet January 11, 2013
I,personally, think that every single person who is regular around here and volunteers answering questions has also learned things from the others. And as such Hotline, despite of its name, contains within it a sort of a small database of information availabe to the public. And since new people join in, anyone can contribute to that- you never know who the next person is, where they come from and what they know.
SKK January 10, 2013
Hi Creamtea, I wrote the editors of Food52 and asked the same question. I find it disappointing to see questions asked years ago. And I agree with you. On my page now there are at least 3 questions asked over a year ago. I was told that when anyone answers a question, no matter how long ago, it is immediately bumped up. Has nothing to do with keywords, as far as I know.
Droplet January 10, 2013
Creamtea, when you open the hotline page, it is designed so that you have to start typing in the field at the top the subject of your question and it automatically pulls out older questions with similar keywords in them. That helps to avoid redundancy and also unearths older answers that might be useful and relevant. And every time somebody new adds to an old thread/question, it gets bumped towards the front of hotline so visitors can note the new addition. I thought it was a smart feature that they added this, though it is a bit less obvious to figure out how to ask a new question than it used to be. Hope that clarifies it for you.
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