I'm a new user to the StackExchange network. As such, I'm trying to gain a little traction in contributing (specifically on StackOverflow). Seeing as the newest questions get sniped quickly by regular users (especially questions of the "low-hanging fruit" variety), I'd like to try to answer older questions that may not be getting any attention.
I've read one post here on Meta that asked "does it make sense to answer old questions?", and the overall answer was yes, it does. But how old of a question is worth answering? I'm aware that some old questions get automatically deleted after some period (if they have no answers). But I see a few negative aspects of answering older questions:
- The asker may no longer be active on the site. This (seemingly likely) case results in what seems to me to be a "no-win" scenario (especially for a new user trying to gain reuptation), as the answer will likely never be accepted.
- The question may be old enough to be out of date. I imagine that the auto-deletion of unanswered questions prevents this to some extent, but how old can a question potentially get? And what should a new user do about questions that may no longer apply?
Am I missing something obvious here? Is perusing the older, unanswered questions for topics I'm interested in a good starting place for a new user? As I mentioned, new questions are snapped up too quickly (in my opinion). This is obviously good for the asker, but it makes it hard for a new user to get any traction.