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I can not understand what is wrong with bumping older questions to the top active list of questions by editing them.

If somebody wants to reach the newest questions asked on Academia, he can move to the Newest Questions page and read all the newest ones.

I think it's a good feature to have older questions be bumped to the active list; some of these questions have been inactive for more than one or two years. Most of newer users may have not read such questions. They can read them and answer some of them. Some of these older questions have problems such as tags, typos, etc and users may see them in the active list and edit them as well.

Could you please declare me, what harms can bumping older and inactive 
questions to the active questions list have to site? and what benefits
has not-bumping to the Academia?
  • ff524 has the situation nicely condensed. It's no big deal to bump one or two questions now or then. It's a problem to edit a whole bunch of old questions in this manner, for the reasons ff524 suggests. (Also, remember that edits to old questions should be substantial, not simple formatting or typo corrections!_) – aeismail Sep 22 '14 at 13:29
  • Why down-votes? I am asking for reasons of a policy. I am not suggesting something! I am asking a question. – Enthusiastic Engineer Sep 22 '14 at 14:23
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    Well, you were laying out an argument for why you think "bumping" questions is OK. The downvotes are expressing disapproval of those ideas. – aeismail Sep 22 '14 at 14:28
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    @EnthusiasticStudent meta votes are a little different than votes on the main site. Generally it is inappropriate to down vote a good answer on the main site that you disagree with, but on meta votes are typically used to express agreement/disagreement with the content of a post. – StrongBad Sep 30 '14 at 8:35
  • @StrongBad I see, but in my main question on this post, I am asking: Could you please declare me, [...] I need a declaration on a policy. I can not understand whats wrong with it, which has 4 down-votes! Shouldn't I asked this question?! – Enthusiastic Engineer Sep 30 '14 at 11:44
  • @EnthusiasticStudent: then extract your answer from your question, and ask a more general question: "Is there something wrong with bumping questions to the active questions list?" – user102 Sep 30 '14 at 12:38
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    The downvotes probably indicate disagreement with the opinion that you state in the post: "I think it's a good feature to have older questions be bumped to the active list" There's nothing wrong with getting downvotes on meta; it doesn't mean there's something wrong with the question, or that you shouldn't have asked it. – ff524 Sep 30 '14 at 13:33
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Here are all the reasons a post could end up on the top of the "Active Questions" list:

  1. New question (also visible at top of "Newest Questions" list), which hasn't gotten any attention/answers at all yet.
  2. New answer (to an old or new question), which users should vote up or down to show whether it's a good answer or not.
  3. Major edit to clarify or add new information to a question or answer, that might make users want to revise their original up/down/close/delete votes.
  4. A question that was closed (and therefore, didn't get any answers before) has been fixed, and so it's reopened.
  5. User added bounty to question to get it more attention (also visible on "featured" questions list)
  6. Unanswered old question is automatically bumped by Community user to get it more attention.
  7. An edit to an old question that already got a lot of attention and has good answers (or an edit to one of its answers) that is a non-trivial edit or retag that adds value. This is bumped to the top so users can review the edit and make sure it was correct, and revert it if it was not.

All of these kinds of posts/edits need some kind of attention from other users, and should be bumped to the front page.

But the things at the top of the list are generally considered more in need of attention than category #7. It's fine (even good!) if a few questions in category #7 are bumped here and there, but not if it's so many that most of the questions in categories #1-6 are pushed down the front page.

For example, imagine you spent 45 minutes composing a great, well-researched, targeted answer to a question. Then, immediately after you submit the answer, someone else bumps 20 old questions to add a tag. Nobody sees your answer now that it's all the way down the "Active Questions" list, and you don't get any upvotes for this amazing answer that you worked really hard on. This is obviously discouraging and demoralizing, and makes a good contributor not want to contribute anymore.

Or imagine you're a new user, and you posted a question because you really want an answer. But the question needed improvement, and was downvoted and closed. You work really hard to understand why the question was closed, and put in a lot of effort to improve it. Finally, after four days of working on the question, it's reopened! But 20 old questions that were edited right after your question was reopened have bumped yours all the way down the "Active Questions" list so it doesn't get any answers. As a new user, you feel discouraged, and wonder if the time and effort you put into learning how to use the site was a waste.

On the other hand, if those 20 old questions were spaced out a little so they didn't flood the front page and knock posts in categories #1-6 too far down, I can't think of any negative effects.

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    TL;DR: Basically, it's an issue of degree. Edit one question to bump it to the top of the page? No big deal. Edit 20 questions? That's much more problematic. – aeismail Sep 22 '14 at 13:27
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I'm a mod at one or two of the other sites, and in my experience it comes down to how people use the site. This is entirely unscientific and anecdotal

Most people skim the front page, and look for new questions to answer. One bump pushes off a newer question off the front page. I generally do say 5 in the space of an hour (which is ok). If you did 20, the front page is nearly entirely unusable. Nearly no one actually uses the newest questions tab by default. Humans are lazy, and the front page, by being the first port of call is the place most people will be.

I think another issue you should consider is why the edits, and how you can minimize the disruption. In normal situations, you come across a question, see something that needs a fix and you do it. Things that need edits in bulk are uncommon, and are rarely urgent. There are exceptions of course, but even then its something for the community to decide, organise, and carry out.

Trickling edits are polite - you get to do edits that are needed and other folks aren't inconvenienced in any way. You can't expect folk to change their behavior, but you can adjust and make a difference

  • Thank you so much for this answer. Could you please take a look at another question on Academia and possibly, answer it too? Suggestions for avoiding disruption when retagging? – Enthusiastic Engineer Sep 30 '14 at 11:38
  • Hardly anyone uses the "newest" tab because it's not straightforward to see it. There is no "newest" on the top questions page, which is the page you land on when you enter the site. – Joris Meys Jun 15 '17 at 11:01

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