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I'm sure this question must have been asked before, but I can't find it using the search function. Why are old questions that haven't had any recent new answers edited, which then causes the question to reappear on the front page.

Am I misunderstanding what is going on? Otherwise I don't see the point of editing an old question.

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We are currently working through hundreds of questions in old badly used tags such as and . Some questions that obviously no longer fit the scope of the site are closed, but others have to be retagged. Too many edits at one time can flood the front page with old questions, so we tend to only edit a handful at a time, but having the questions pop up to the front page for a bit is not a bad thing. It allows the community to review them again and see if a better answer can be made or if the question needs further editing (or to be closed).

Most edits you'll see on old questions on Programmers are likely due to a retagging. You can click on the edit timestamp on each edited post to see a revision history and check out the changes made by each editor.

For more information on the question clean-up, see here, here, and here. Feel free to get involved by editing and/or flagging old questions for moderator attention as needed.

  • If fixing lots of old questions at once would "flood the front page with old questions", then it seems to me that the algorithm that decides what to put on the front page needs to be fixed. Why not limit the number of old but recently edited questions on the front page? – Clement Cherlin Jun 10 '17 at 22:41
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Wow, a kindred spirit! I personally loathe editing long-dead questions, especially when the changes are minor. They push new questions off the front page for no good reason.

But that is not a universal belief: a great many people on Stack Exchange believe that any edit, no matter how small, is a good edit. That if you see a post that can be improved, you should do it without any regard for how it affects other posts on the site.

And there's a practical reason to edit: we're in the midst of a cleanup of bad tags that are causing problems for new questions. The only way we can get people to stop using those tags is to remove them from all previous questions. And to do that, we need to edit them.

Ideally, the front page should be a mixture of brand new questions, active questions that have not been solved yet, and old questions that have been improved. Having too much of any of those makes for a front page that looks more dead or artificial than alive and bustling.

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