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Some questions are of historical interest only. For example:

Rail&Fly: where to buy the reservation for City Night Line trains at Deutsche Bahn?

City Night Line is history.

There exists a mechanism called a historical lock, but that doesn't really fit here. Answers can be updated, but it seems a bit odd to answer a question from 2013 in 2017 with the answer the train you are asking about does not exist (and such an answer is likely to be somewhere near the bottom). Do we need some special notice that a particular question is of historical interest only?

  • 2
    I was thinking about the same thing recently. We should definitely have something like that. – JonathanReez Aug 28 '17 at 13:17
  • 2
    Or simply close it? Some custom reason may be required. – NVZ Aug 29 '17 at 3:03
  • Would editing the question to give the information be enough? – mdewey Aug 29 '17 at 9:15
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Currently, these questions are being close voted on. However, that is not a good way of acting imho. Closing a question — especially since the reason is given as off-topic — implies that the question either never was fit for the site or is now unfit for the site because of a policy change. The tiny comment that remains will likely not be read and if it is not a standard OT reason that is chosen, the yellow box will simply state not within the scope etc.

This may lead to the impression that if I substitute CityNightLine with EuroNight the question would still be off-topic, which is (terminology and service variants aside) typically not the case.

Furthermore, closing a question leaves a dent in OP’s question acceptance score. If one user has only asked five CNL questions that are now all closed, they may — in the absolute worst-case scenario — come back to find themselves question-banned even though they wanted to ask perfectly legitimate questions on night trains in Russia this time round. They would naturally not understand the issue at all.

Therefore, close voting is not a good idea.


Instead I agree with the other answer that a notice would be a good idea. I don’t know if the mods have the power to implement one.

However, it might also be a good idea to just let the question be. It’s not hurting anybody in its current state. You are unlikely to come across it unless you search for it — but why would a new user search for a topic that no longer exists? With time, CNL will be completely forgotten like the IR trains or the orient express have basically vanished from memory.

If the unlikely case happens, somebody does dig them up and thinks that CNL still exists, they might ask a new question in which we could point them to the shutdown decision (and the NightJet alternative).


Finally note that for reasons of equality we should also close all questions concerning other companies that went bankrupt or were acquired — so all long-distance coaches in Germany that are not MeinfernbusFlixbus (whatever their current name is), AirBerlin likely soon, etc. etc. This sounds more like a noise work-generating mechanism than something that will help the site.

  • One note about searching for questions. I am big fan of letting things be and with a brand name and a topic with not that many question, it's certainly not an issue. But for things like a change in say visa rules or airfares or some other generic topic with many highly voted questions, the historical questions might clutter search results. – Relaxed Sep 2 '17 at 7:49
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I am in favor of having a disclaimer below the question, as we do have for some rapidly changing events.

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The text could be something like

Post is only of historical relevance.

I am not sure what is the best mechanism to put these in place. The above solution would likely be set by mods and I am not sure they'd be to happy to be mod-flagged for any such out-of-date post. A sort of review queue like for closure might be ideal, but getting it implemented seems utopic to me. One could have a wiki style meta post in which such outdated posts are collected and a mod goes through the list every once in a while.

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