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It seems that most times I look at the site, about half of the front page is made up of old questions with no activity other than a recent edit.

To me, this doesn't seem right - I would hope to see new and interesting questions, not a slew of old posts raised from the dead to fix a tag or some punctuation.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this is perhaps more a question of SE's interface design than of the editing of posts. Should SE label a post "active" just because it's been edited? \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Nov 15 '10 at 22:19
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It is absolutely desirable. The point of a SE is not to be a discussion forum, but to be a knowledge base. As new viewpoints come to the site, they should be continually added to old questions, which means edits and answers and comments and votes and whatever other activity.

Working on old questions doesn't stop anyone from submitting new ones. Use a different view if you don't want to see old questions - I usually stay on the "newest" tab which accomplishes that.

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I personally like the churn. I occasionally answer old questions because of it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Answering an old question is cool, but he's asking about editing; an old question rising to the top of the front page because someone added an answer is cool - there's a badge for that - but editing old questions is the real issue. \$\endgroup\$ – LeguRi Nov 14 '10 at 15:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LeguRi: Yes, but what Brian's saying is that a question bumped to the top because of a (perhaps trivial) edit often gives it some more attention, and more answers. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 15 '10 at 17:39
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For my part, I only find the churn annoying when it looks like someone is looking for something—anything—that they can edit to work towards the Strunk & White or Copy Editor badges. The edits that make me suspicious are the ones that just move the quality of the question "sideways" so it says the same thing differently instead of "up" so that it's clearer/punchier/more interesting.

Otherwise, I don't mind the churn. I sometimes wish there was a tab for "active questions that aren't just being copyedited", though.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I second the feeling that editing just to get the badges is annoying, but I don't know for sure that anyone is actually doing that. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Dray Nov 15 '10 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adam No, I don't know for sure. I can only say that my annoyance rises when I suspect such. People can take that as disapproval of such behaviour and hopefully police themselves. :) I'm definitely not suggesting that there's a way to judge that externally for certain, just so that's clear. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 15 '10 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Re: "active questions that aren't just being copyedited" There is a way you can see the most recent answers under a given tag: dnd4.0. Not exactly what you meant, but might be useful. \$\endgroup\$ – yhw42 Nov 15 '10 at 19:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @yhw42 Hey, that's a cool feature I didn't know about. Not that it'll be much use to me, because I'm a pan-system gamer and no one tag works. But that's a cool feature! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 15 '10 at 19:57
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An important part of SE is that old answers are the benchmark, the ones we point people to again and again. As we grow larger and have more volume we will see the same question again and again. Instead of answering those questions we should be pointing people to the old one, closing the new one, and go on.

Thus it behooves us to ensure the old question and all answers are as streamlined as possible.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, close duplicate questions... but I don't think this has anything to do with editing the old questions forever, tweaking their tags and rephrasing their names over and over again. \$\endgroup\$ – LeguRi Nov 14 '10 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ The principles of SE have pointed out again and again that already answered questions are more important than new. And that they would rather have people editing questions than asking new ones. If you are worried about missing new questions, change your default view. I always start with new questions, than move to hot and then to active. But if you only care about new, than just pay attention to those. \$\endgroup\$ – anon186 Nov 14 '10 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I do not think this response really addresses the question. The question is about editing current Q&As, where this answer seems to be more about closing new duplicates. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Nov 16 '10 at 14:54

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