Related: Tags that only exist on locked questions, should we treat these the same as tags that don't exist at all?

philosophically Historical Lock questions are deleted

Visual difference between historically locked and legitimate questions looks quite subtle to me, even though I have few years experience on the site. It can be even harder for inexperienced readers to tell the difference.

Given that historical lock is applied mostly to (inappropriate) questions having large amount of views and ranked highly in web search engines, this creates wide open broken windows. Inexperienced site visitors coming from web searches at h/l questions think that these are legitimate and try to ask similar ones.

In order to help newcomers see the difference, suggest to use pink background when rendering historically locked posts - same that is currently used to render deleted posts displayed to 10K users.

Related feature request at MSE (hat tip to durron597):

  • 3
    This is a great idea! Currently, the first indication that a question might be locked is that you can't vote and comment, whereas the text box with the lock reason is easily overlooked. But while the pink background may alert new visitors that something is off, they wouldn't make the connection pink=deleted unless they have prior experience with deleted content on SE. I'm therefore not convinced this would clean up broken windows.
    – amon
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 10:10
  • @amon I thought about this too. I even suggested more prominent approach a while ago, but since SE team apparently doesn't care, I wanted to suggest a cheaper compromise which apparently doesn't take much effort to implement and maintain
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 10:22
  • 6
    I'm not sure that a pink background is appropriate. As a moderator, I can see deleted questions. High rep users can also view deleted questions. The visual indication should be different so I can easily tell if a question is deleted or locked. But the sentiment is correct - locked posts do need to be more distinctly different than unlocked posts, especially historically locked questions.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 12:18
  • @ThomasOwens I suggested pink because this fits to what Shog says about these questions. And because it is obviously, absolutely, totally easy to implement. (frankly I was originally dreaming about background like of an old newspaper, but decided to drop that to leave SE folks zero chances to run away mumbling "oh this needs effort, will take 6-8 weeks")
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 12:23
  • 2
    Ideally, I'd rather see a pastel yellow color. It's not deleted, but it's not normal either.
    – Thomas Owens Mod
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 12:35
  • 1
    @ThomasOwens if they can do it quickly, I would have nothing against pastel yellow. :) Now Or Never "...'cause we wasted so much time"
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 12:40
  • similar request submitted in Let's Plan The Second Iteration Of The Stack Exchange Quality Project! -- "about 15 millions views at Stack Overflow are on inappropriate (historically locked) questions... Suggest to invest some effort into making it easier for new users to see that historical questions differ from regular ones..."
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


A better solution would be to change the lock notification to be between the subject line and the question body, similar to where the duplicate box shows up. Since that location is already used, it too should be relatively easy to implement.

  • lock notification placement looks sub-optimal... softly speaking. I didn't include suggestion to change it into this request only to avoid "oh this needs effort, will take 6-8 weeks"
    – gnat
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 19:36
  • ...and the mock demonstrating the best way I ever seen can be found here :)
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 23:46

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