For example, this question is very time-bound:

What landings beyond Mars and the Moon are scheduled? (asked 15 June 2016)

In a few years parts of the answer will be obsolete, and new missions will be come available.

How do we handle such a moving target?

  1. Edit a date in (into the title?), allowing it to 'settle down', maybe resulting in a follow-up question one year later...

  2. Don't do anything, allow future edits to update the answer accordingly (strikethrough or delete obsolete items?)..

  3. Other?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The answer on that one is Community Wiki, so it avoids the usual problems with frequent edits, but in general my guideline is that I may make a few updates on an answer then leave it as a historical post after that. I do think it would be good to discuss some common approach to this scenario. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Aug 4 '16 at 13:13

This particular question is a rare instance of a list question that is acceptable to our community, even though it will change with time. It covers material not easily found elsewhere and of use for gauging the state of an important part of the field. List questions are generally frowned upon on SE, but each SE site is different and needs to establish its own approach to them.

Community Wikis are the only reasonable way to handle the list questions that meet our standards. They are specifically meant to be edited by many people, and the usual rule of preserving author intent doesn't hold. They allow everything to be in one answer, which is the only way a list can be kept organized and clear.

Ideally, people will maintain that answer with new information as it becomes available. If that peters out, then it remains a reference point for the status of deep space missions at the time when it was last edited - taking into consideration it also makes a point of stating the list may be incomplete.

The date when something was asked and when an answer was last edited is shown on all questions. Maybe it is worth considering adding some special cautionary note to the text of that answer to ensure readers take note of the date of the last edit and if it is old bear in mind the list is likely outdated. I haven't thought of a really good way of doing that. Putting it in the title of the question doesn't strike me as the right place. I think it would be a bad idea to start asking the same question more than once, and wouldn't want to encourage that by dating a question explicitly that way. Spreading the same information across a series of questions sounds like a great way to make it harder to find and incomplete.

The question can be considered a bit of a test case. I believe there are a few other list questions in our library, but can't think of one and don't know how I might search for other examples. It would be good to get further input on this matter.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "I believe there are a few other list questions in our library, but can't think of one and don't know how I might search for other examples. It would be good to get further input on this matter." There are quite a number. See my answer. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Aug 4 '16 at 19:49

For reference, here is a current list of questions with time-sensitive lists (or that could have lists).

This list may be incomplete:

One thing to note about this list is that all the questions are positively scored (with a 3 or above), and a few are among the highest rated on our site.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The irony of this list is not lost on me. ;) $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Aug 4 '16 at 19:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Or that you made it CW? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 15 '16 at 20:01

A suggested answer template for such questions...

Because the answer to this question is likely to change over time, I have created a community wiki answer. Feel free to contribute to it now and in the future.

General Considerations

edit this section for aspects that won't change over time

In 2018

edit this section for what applies now


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