So City of Heroes shut down over the weekend. There is no longer any way to play it, as the servers went dead.

Now, we only have seven City of Heroes questions, so there's not a lot of content, one way or the other.

But it brings up an important question: For games that you can no longer play (ie. dead MMOs, multiplayer game where the servers went dark, or some other threshold), how do we handle the existing questions? Do we want to keep them around, even though they can no longer help anyone? Do we close them with a historical lock? Do we need to do anything at all?

If any action is required, what is our threshold for classifying the game as dead, and initiating the chosen action?

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4 Answers 4

I am against deleting these questions, even in the instance of a client-server game the only official servers of which have been taken offline.

There is nothing stopping them from restarting the servers, or allowing a community run server, at some point in the future - deleting the questions will mean deleting relevant content in the instance that happens.

My vote is firmly on leave these questions be.

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+1. From the most pragmatic point of view possible: let's actually focus our efforts on games that still exist –  badp Dec 3 '12 at 16:21
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Also, deleting the question unnecessarily penalizes the users who provided good answers - their rep gets removed. –  Jason Berkan Dec 3 '12 at 17:13
    
@JasonBerkan Only if it hasn't been around for six months; after that, rep gains/losses don't happen from deleted content. –  Frank Dec 3 '12 at 17:14
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@fbueckert - Then deleting the questions deprives the world of the hard work of the people who answered, plus all the witty drive by comments that were added. Plus, what if one of the questions had an out of context question title? –  Jason Berkan Dec 3 '12 at 17:25
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+1 for mentioning community-run servers. Just because official support has been pulled doesn't mean that nobody plays. –  Yuuki Dec 4 '12 at 15:17
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@Yawus This has nothing to with games that nobody plays. It's about games that literally cannot be played. Period. –  Frank Dec 6 '12 at 15:37
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@fbueckert Forgive me. What I meant was that even though official support or servers go down, it doesn't mean that someone won't start a community-run server right away or some time in the future. –  Yuuki Dec 6 '12 at 22:32

I think we should just treat closed games like any other game that only few people play. New questions are unlikely to appear and old questions are unlikely to get activity. If there is something new, it could still be answered by people who know the game or by resources on the internet. If it is a valid questions that nobody can find an answer to, then it will stay unanswered forever, which is not the worst thing in the world. If the game ever does become playable again, the questions will still be relevant.

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Historical locks seem like they're made for these instances. The question becomes whether we use them liberally on defunct games, or judicially. Based on @pixel's answer I think the best course of action would be to reserve a historical lock only if a question became a problem. For instance, if it started attracting answers such as "Why are you asking this? The game can't be played anymore." I don't foresee that being the case, but it's one more tool in our toolbox for preventing and correcting vandalism.

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I think a protect would be more suitable in that case. –  kotekzot Dec 5 '12 at 20:29
    
@kotekzot: Is the information ever going to change? Is new information ever going to become available? –  MBraedley Dec 5 '12 at 22:03
    
Possibly, because fan servers. –  kotekzot Dec 5 '12 at 22:10

While I think that most of the information that you'll find here about games that are no longer playable (due to dark servers) might not be useful in most cases, I don't really like the idea of erasing so much hard work from the askers and answerers.

Since this is meta, and it's about suggestions, what if we came up with a meta tag we could add to posts when the topical game goes dark, or is otherwise shut down? This way, the new meta tag would also (likely) be the most prominent tag on those questions, so people would know the game is now dead, but the information could remain on the site.

Just a thought, probably not necessary.

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No meta tags. Nothing good will come of it. –  murgatroid99 Dec 3 '12 at 16:27
    
No? Well, okay, just thought I'd suggest it anyway. –  GnomeSlice Dec 3 '12 at 16:27
    
I really hate meta-tags. I don't think they are helpful in this case. –  Ashley Nunn Dec 3 '12 at 16:29

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