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"What a bunch of party poopers you guys are. If the thread is too old for you, don't read it."
The thing is, Jim, that whenever someone has been up too late and posts a new reply to a threat that died three years ago ("I'm buying a VHFm which model should I buy?") and has no relevance today...we all get notified of a NEW THREAD and waste our time looking at it before we can see how dead it was.
If the thread is locked, flagging it as old, the poster can always start a new thread with the same title, or post a new question referring to the old, etc. MOST likely, I think that when they see the locked notice, they'll figure out "Oh, that was an old one wasn't it?" and realize they're replying to a moot point.
Of course, if you know any real good programmers, you could just ask them to update the forum software so the background changed and the old messages were covered in falling leaves, snow drifts, and dust bunnies instead. Now, THAT'S what good forum $oftware could do.