How do zombie threads get resurrected?

In the past few days I’ve been seeing threads from as long ago as 2001. How does this happen? Do people go hunting for old threads? Why? And why on earth would they respond to something from 3 years ago or even longer?

Newbie Googles a topic, an old thread is at the top of the list, they sign up to answer without noticing the date(most of the time), make one post and are never heard from again.

The actual reason is that the board admins won’t run a simple SQL script that automatically locks threads after 180 days (or whatever) of inactivity. As a result, the threads can still be replied to years later, and then everyone gets all honked off that a zombie thread got resurrected.

Not to mention some people don’t think that locking all threads after an arbitrary length of time is the best compromise.

Or pleasantly surprised to see an interesting topic under discussion.

This. Don’t see what the big deal is.

Agree with this. I kinda like seeing some of them pop up from time to time. Interesting to see some of the old posts to see how thoughts have evolved.

…or new developments on old topics are shared with the rest of us.
Which reminds me.
Whatever happened to that guy who had people driving across his front yard?
Or the lady who wanted to improve her singing-with-the-radio skills?


I saw the original date for “Ask the ER Doctor” and wondered, “Has he been answering questions on this topic for three years?”

If I were Message Board God, well for one thing, we’d all be screwed. But aside from that, I would make posts turn a different color when they reached a certain age. That way, the casual browser of the board, upon opening a zombie, would instantly see that it is old, check the date, and decide if he really wants to contribute or not. And he could easily skip to the recent, post-resurrection contributions.

Pleeeeeeeeeeeease tell me this thread gets resurrected after 5 1/2 years.

Sometimes the post is spam, too. The mods delete the spam post itself as soon as they notice it, but the thread has been bumped. That’s one reason you see threads that appear to have been inexplicably resurrected by long-time posters.

I kind of like this idea. It doesn’t seem as if it would be too difficult to implement, either. It might even be possible to do it already with VBulletin templates–you can set the background color of a post based on various conditions. (A game forum I post on, for example, sets the background for your post based on which in-game faction you belong to, and moderators and devs get special colors of their own to make their posts more visible.) If the post date and current date are available conditions, you coudl probably use them to “age” posts.

I’d like to third that. Knowing that a post or thread is ancient is valuable information to newbies or oldies, but locking threads past a certain date might prevent appropriate posts from being made. There are times when reviving an old thread is the right thing to do.

As to how difficult it might be to implement, I don’t know. I suspect that vBulletin might be tacking this soon, as we can’t be the only forum with the problem. If vB offers a useful option, that would be far better than a kludge, and more likely to be accepted by The Powers That Be.

It looks to me like people search for topics near and dear to their [del]mania[/del] interests and SDMB stuff often comes up high on the lists, especially for fringey topics.

Agree on pretty much all counts - Threads should NOT be locked by age. But I wish the admins would invest in some plugins or custom coding to:

[li]Subtly highlight zombie threads after some period of inactivity - maybe 90 days, or 120? Just an “inactive” icon like those already in use is enough. No need to call attention to them, just flag them so savvy users have a clue.[/li][li]Pop up a warning if someone attempts to post on a zombie thread, make them click through it to continue.[/li][li]Highlight posts on a zombie thread for 24 hours.[/li][/ol]
Really, that shouldn’t be too much trouble and it would reduce confusion and annoying me-toos on dead threads. It would still allow relevant posts to be added at any time, though.

Do you recall the standard 24-bit RGB color value for “old”?

If people don’t read the already-obviously-visible post date, what makes you believe they’d understand the significance of an undocumented color coding system, or take the time to read a color-coding legend to assess how unfresh a post is?

Or, more importantly, care?

It isn’t just newbies, that happens to me too. I will google a topic I am interested in and if I come across as SD thread I may post on it to get more information.

Sometimes I have googled a topic only to come across a thread I started 10 years ago asking the same question. I don’t resurrect those.

Sometimes an old thread will be linked to from a current thread. Usually a Doper providing a link for history’s sake or somehow realted to the current discussion, but sometimes a reader will click through, start reading and reply before realizing it was an old thread.

Well if Google calendar still exists, I’ll get a reminder to resurrect this thread. :stuck_out_tongue:

I thought this as well. More intuitive to grasp might be a change in FONT – say, to that old timey 19th C Western cowboy town leaflet font (you know the one) for 6-month-to-2-year zombies, and some Uncial medieval Irish script or whatever for yet older threads.

THIS! I can’t understand for the life of me why TPTB refuse to police resurrections!