What’s the etiquette for resurrecting “zombies”? After a certain age, is it preferred to start a new thread? If so, how old?
Depends on the forum, really. The rules have been relaxed all over, but if you have some new information on the topic, resurrecting the old thread is ok in my book. If you just want to continue the discussion, start a new thread and link to the old one. In Great Debates and the Pit, zombies can be problematic because of banned posters, hurt feelings, simmering resentments, and stuff like that. Tread lightly there.
In GQ, if you have significant new information, it’s OK to resurrect a zombie no matter how old.
Zombies may be closed if they were bumped by a spammer, or to argue with a member who no longer posts, or other such reasons. I closed one which was bumped by an acquaintance of a poster who had passed away, who wasn’t aware of the death and wanted to say hi.
In MPSIMS and Cafe Society, we’re generally leaving them open unless there’s a good reason to close them. As suggested, “good reason” might be contentious threads with people who are no longer around, threads bumped by spammers, etc.
Of course, you’re not obligated to bump a zombie – starting a new thread is also fine, linking back to the old one if there’s discussion there that might be relevant. But if it’s just “what’s your favorite whatever” – start a new one and don’t worry about the link – generally, the opinions of people who no longer post there aren’t that interesting.
Given the contentious nature that many threads in Great Debates display, we would generally prefer that a new thread be opened with a link to the previous thread in that forum. (It is not an absolute rule.)
Problems arise when a poster sees a snide response, (often to his or her own post), without realizing that the post is months or years old and is incited to respond in kind. Similarly, posters who have long since left the board may be “challenged” to defend views, newly rediscovered, when they are no longer reading the board, (and may have even changed their minds on the issue).