I have yet to figure out if thread necromancers — those who raise dead threads on discussion forums — do so purely to torment or if they’re just so eager to ‘share with new friends’ that they’ll post a response to any thread they can find where they feel they have something to add regardless of how long that thread has been dormant. Of course, once someone raises a dead thread from the archives others who are “eager to share” will be responding and give life to the once dead thread.
Yes, yes… it’s very easy to ignore these zombie threads and I typically will do just that. However, like the banner above suggests, there’s an easy way to keep from accidentally waking the dead threads: Check the Original and/or Last Posting Date Before Responding! Seriously. Don’t assume a search engine will necessarily present you with the most recent posting when you search on ‘Santana tandem’ or that every thread gets an update each week that has kept it relevant. Check the dates!!!
Of course, these things typically play out the same way on just about every forum to which I’ve belonged. A new visitor or member will ‘stumble’ onto the forum or be referred there by a fellow enthusiast, and invariably they’ll do a search to find a familiar brand name, model, subject, or posts by a friend using their nom de plum and begin posting away. Never mind that today is September 27th 2010 and the thread the search engine pulled-up that caught their interest was created on April 5, 2001 and died shortly there after on April 9, 2001. Worse yet, it’s not at all unusual for a newbie to raise perhaps half a dozen or more threads from the dead during that first visit. Such was the case with a recent new subscriber to one of the forums I frequent.
It’s great that folks are eager to jump in to discussion forums and share details regarding their background and experience, or to begin offering advise on how to solve problems that other list members or visitors have presented. However, that said, if someone was in dire need of a replacement part or a point of contact in Santa Cruz, California while they were passing through in 2003, that value of the time someone invests in posting that lucid reply seven years after-the-fact will be pretty negligible. So, again… newbies should do themselves and their new friends a favor by surveying the landscape and checking RECENT news and postings before throwing in their .02. True, there’s no real harm done, but given all the noise that we have to filter out on the ‘net these days, why not check the freshness date before digging in.