I wonder why the following two questions were treated so differently. One, about finding static maps, Good online sources for historical maps, asked in 2011, was well-received (score 23, not closed)

The other one, How to build historical maps?, which was meant to be an update, since technology and data availability has improved since, was closed.

For me, these questions are asking for almost the same, so I cannot understand why they were treated differently. Could you help?

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    One technicality: if they do "ask the same", then the 'new' would need to be closed as 'duplicate'. Please highlight a bit more how they differ in your opinion and how they are format wise and structurally 'similar'? (And I guess you think yours now is even 'better' than the other… ;) Mar 4, 2020 at 16:26
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    Thank you for taking the initiative and asking this here BTW. I wish all our new contributors were as on top of things.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Mar 4, 2020 at 17:02
  • @LаngLаngС: the same because, given a map resulting obtained by any of these methods, it is not possible to say which method was used. I am not precious about the choice of words, feel free to edit :)
    – Yulia V
    Mar 4, 2020 at 17:39

2 Answers 2


This site was brand-new in 2011, and was still honestly in the process of figuring out what its scope was and wasn't.

Cut to 2020, and requests for sources are explicitly out of scope. The newer Question is perhaps not a request for sources, but the older one certainly was.

From our Help Center:

It is not about: … Asking for reference material

If you look through the question comments, you will in fact see traffic indicating both that the question was considered off-topic by a quorum worth of users in 2014, and that a decision was made to keep it open anyway due to its utility to this community, but to make it a wiki question (no reputation and no authorship on posts).

Now in the newer Q's case, I'm not 100% sure that topicality test applies. Its asking more how to generate your own historical maps, not for existing ones. It would also be useful enough to everyone here, that I personally would be inclined to leave it open. Perhaps it needs the historiography tag on it.

However, our usual fare is stuff that can be answered by talking about history, and this isn't that, so I'm not surprised others felt it was off-topic.

Going forward I'd suggest one of 2 things with the old question:

  1. We put the "Historical Significance" lock on that old question (so it doesn't get closed). This would prevent close votes, but also new answers, edits, and votes.


  1. Leave it as-is. (Protected and wikied)

For the new question: If we chose 1, I'd suggest users go back and look at the new question as a historiography question, and consider if it might in fact actually be in scope from that viewpoint.

If we chose 2, we ought to consider if the second question should get the same treatment, and perhaps if this might become a standard treatment for questions about useful histography research techniques.

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    Another discussion just reminded me, my own general quick rule-of-thumb is that an on-topic question will either use past tense verbs, or be (properly) tagged "historiography".
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Mar 4, 2020 at 18:51
  • Alright, I went and looked at the old question, and the issue is if I lock it for "historical significance", that will prevent any new answers or voting. Are we OK with that? I notice someone added an answer just today. The 2014 decision appeared to be to just protect it from new users and make it a wiki question.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Mar 4, 2020 at 19:02
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    There are authored posts on it now. Can those be forced/converted? Although it seems to be an even better solution to post one consolidated community wiki that is then edited into shape and inclusiveness. These oneliner wiki answers look a bit stupid to me and they are quite impractical (oh the scrolling.) Mar 4, 2020 at 20:03
  • @LаngLаngС - I've converted all the answers to CW. I'm not going to bother consolidating the answers into one, as my experience with doing that is that it does nothing to stop people from posting more new answers (so its a pain to maintain), and there's probably some marginal value in having the answers ranked by votes.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Mar 4, 2020 at 22:18
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    Ideally mods would be able to assign the checkmark for CW questions, so we could designate a "rollup" answer and keep it listed first with the checkmark, which would fix a lot of this, but that's not an issue we can solve here in meta.h.se.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Mar 4, 2020 at 22:21

The "mores" of this site (and other SE sites) change over time. I was one of the original users in 2011, T.E.D. came about a year later, and several of our most active members joined within the past 2-3 years. I don't remember the sequence of events, but my recollection is that sometime between 2011 and "now," a "request for sources" became off topic, which was not the case in 2011.

What has been done on other sites is to put a "historical lock" on the earlier question so that its current form and answers cannot be altered. The accompanying text is that this question is being preserved because of its historical significance, but is not considered a good, on-topic question today, and should not be considered as an example of such.

This is one of the two things that the current moderators can do to the earlier question. The other is for them to rule that it is "still" on topic, meaning that yours would be too. My preference is for the latter, but others may disagree with me.

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    Endorse everything in here, except perhaps the "historical lock" (for reasons discussed in my answer, it has some drawbacks. But I'm not ..er.. undendorsing that either. Its up to you all).
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Mar 9, 2020 at 20:28

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