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It's really an undefined subject for me. Some users telling that they are obsolete and leave a comment like that on questions around these old OS questions. Therefore, I thought I should tell people to don't use these OS.
However, there is a case that confuses me. In this question I commented that I recommend installing the latest version of Raspbian which is Buster and asking about Raspbian Wheezy, Jessie or another obsolete OS is abandoned. I just flagged that question with a comment like it. But, my flag has declined with a comment:

"Obsolete" is a bit subjective. It's just no longer being updated. There are potentially valid reasons for using it, although they are probably not very good ones.

So, there is a big question. What should we do when a new question like it has asked?

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But, my flag has declined

That was me. I'm not sure what prepackaged reason I used -- like w/ close reasons, there is a list of about half a dozen categories -- but right now this one jumps to mind:

A flag should only be used for things that require moderator attention.

Note that while we've been waving people away from (subjectively) obsolete versions of Raspbian ever since stretch superseded wheezy, this is the first time I can remember seeing a flag about it.

What kind of "moderator attention" am I supposed to give this? Currently, we have no rule such that questions about old versions are off-topic.1 We could, and perhaps this discussion will lead to that, but it would require some consensus building.

I'm against policies whereby we would be telling people they cannot ask about _____, not because it is off-topic, too broad, etc. but because we think it is about something they should not be doing. I don't see these kinds of policies in SE generally. For example, people who are totally ignorant about electricity asking questions about how to wire such and such into a mains power circuit on Electrical Engineering will probably be told at least once they should not do this and to seek a professional, because it is very dangerous. Certainly this is a more serious issue than what OS they use on their Pi, but I am not aware of a policy at EE where users are forbidden to ask or answer such questions.

If we were to do this, then what other matters, which are very solidly on-topic and likely have many objective, reasonable questions that can be asked about them, could we apply this logic to? For example, another common problem is people asking about mysterious issues when they've indicated a power supply that is likely insufficient. Obviously, explaining that issue to them is well and good, but should we say:

You cannot ask or answer a question involving a Pi unless you explicitly state what the power supply is, and it is deemed okay.

This is in fact not far from "You cannot ask or answer a question involving a Pi unless you explicitly state what the OS is and that OS is approved by us." This is not what closing questions, or flagging, is about. Particularly flagging. Flagging for moderator attention is primarily about tasks that require one (and that does not include the power to close a question without 5 votes). For example:

  • Old pointless comments that should be deleted.
  • Offensive/abusive posts.
  • Spam.
  • Obvious misuses (generally accidental) such as posting a question as an answer.

All that said, I'll explain what I meant by:

"Obsolete" is a bit subjective. It's just no longer being updated. There are potentially valid reasons for using it, although they are probably not very good ones.

I'll walk this back a bit and admit "obsolete" is a reasonable enough word here. So what "valid reasons" are there for using an OS some people consider obsolete?

The major one to me would be production environments where the product is frozen, and there is no intention to update it beyond bug fixes. Which is perfectly reasonable. I like to update the systems I use personally often, partially because I consider myself a decent guinea pig in the linux world (ie., if something is going to go wrong because of an update it might as well happen to me before most other users). I do occasionally have to pay for this in wasted hours and days, however.

I also occasionally do work on production servers and have noticed that the policy there can be very conservative WRT software updates, particularly when there is not a parallel "development server"/other necessary resources available to test with first. I promise that that there are plenty of servers, etc., out there still running Debian stretch (and wheezy). This doesn't mean it is a good thing, but it is too much of a blanket statement to say it must be bad.

As a parallel to this, at points the Foundation has said that they are still producing the original model B expressly because of commercial customers who do not want to fix something that for them is not broken -- especially if it introduces the possibility for things to break, and/or involves re-engineering costs that don't have much tangible benefit.2

There's of course a difference between someone who does this on purpose and someone who just never bothered to upgrade. In the latter case, which is certainly the more common one here, they would likely benefit from being told why they should update.

And, if you feel so strongly about it that you don't want to answer those questions, don't answer them. But then don't actively interfere with them, by which I mean, simply leaving a comment (including the word "obsolete" if you want, lol) is fine. After the point is made there is no need to do it repeatedly in bold all caps etc.


  1. Even if we did, that's a reason to vote to close, not to flag for intervention.

  2. Should we also have a policy not to answer questions about the model 1B, since it could be judged obsolete as much as wheezy or stretch is?

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  • Now, I understand it completely. -- I'm not sure but the base of creating raspberry pi was that all poor people around the world would have a cheap-cost computer. Therefore, maybe there is a lot of people that bought 1B and they can't buy the newer version. In this case, I think we should help them because they can't do much better. But, when someone has 3B+ and said I'm using the Jessie or Wheezy, it would bother me, lol. Come on men, just update that, lol again. -- However, you always spend time for us here. I really appreciate you.
    – M. Rostami
    Mar 10 '20 at 8:32
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"Obsolete" is a red flag for goldilicks.

I have learnt not to use the term and say "unsupported" or as Debian does "2018-06-01: End of security updates i.e(sic) End of life."

I usually downvote these questions (as Not Useful) unless the OP has a valid reason for using it. I rarely Answer - particularly if the Question is about networking, especially if the OP has misconfigured the /etc/network/interfaces file, as here - which indicates minimal research.

Unfortunately unless the Questions are closed they keep popping up, which is not helping anyone.

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