A question to all that manage a community: how to deal with outdated content on the community?
A small intro: I work at a Dutch healthcare insurance company, Zilveren Kruis, and each year our policy agreement and reimbursements are changed. Some stay the same, some change, some disappear all together. With more than 6000 replies in 700 topics going through each and every one of them each year is an arduous task. It requires an interpretation of the content of each topic and judge it along the lines of reach and quality, so something like unique views and replies and appreciation (kudo's or some equivalent).
Does anyone have experience with cleaning up their community and could you please share your expertise on this topic?
What are the guidelines you use? Do you use an export to go through everything manually? And which are the subsequent actions that are most usefull: merging, closing, hiding, deleting?
It is certainly a challenge for all community managers.
Firstly, I would recommend you have a good read of this thread if you haven't already - http://community.lithium.com/t5/Strategy-and-Best-Practices/What-s-your-process-for-locking-threads/... - as the discussion covers some similiar ground.
As I mentioned there, manual clean up is an awful lot of work and personally I would rather spend most of that time on supporting active community members. Obviously every community is different though, and if old content is going to confuse and/or mislead then the work involved in archiving might be necessary. Or you could consider something like the system we developed in which posts created more than xx days ago are automatically closed to new comments and there's an automatic notice to readers. In your case the notice could specifically warn that the content might be out of date. I'm also hopeful that some search improvements might assist you.