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If a question has more than one page of answers then a new answer is not likely to get much attention.

I think the stackoverflow engine should give some more weight to newer answers to old questions but I'm not sure how.

Maybe a tweaked UI to get access to newer answers.

NB. In the related questions this make-the-new-answers-to-old-questions-view-available popped up, I hadnt realised either that these tools existed.

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3 Answers 3

The problem isn't so much the engine but the people on it. I've never read an entire thread with more than 15 posts. Unless the topic is something that I'm really adamant about I really can't justify spending that much time reading what are usually trivial/duplicate answers. Also, most of the people originally interested in the topic have probably got everything they needed out of the discussion and have moved on. Sometimes you have to let sleeping dogs lie.

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I don't think there is a need for the SO engine to do anything to help people find new posts to old questions, especially in the case where there are multiple pages of answers. If you add a good answer, to a real technical question, you likely will see it get votes slowly as time goes on, and this is what I would expect to happen, and think would be desired. However, when you add an answer to an old question with many many pages, yes its not likely it will get seen too many times, but questions that end up with pages worth of answers are not the reason SO exists. These questions happen and they're fine, but I don't think they're something to system should be optimized for whatsoever. Additionally, if you want to do this on your own, there is the "newest" tab on every question that will show the accepted answer (if there is one) followed by the answers newest to oldest.

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Beaten by 9 seconds for the last point. –  random Aug 5 '09 at 4:27
    
@random, I hate it when that happens –  Timothy Carter Aug 5 '09 at 4:29

If we're talking about community wiki "as a programmer, what's your favorite spaghetti sauce" questions, these are far enough out of the core scope of the site that I wouldn't say any changes to facilitate anything about them are warranted.

If it's a legitimate technical question with a specific answer, and your answer really adds something that an entire page of previous answers haven't (pretty high bar), some occasional edit-bumping to encourage people to look at the question might be warranted.

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editing of the answer or of the question? –  Paul Rowland Aug 5 '09 at 23:21
    
The answer, unless there's something that's leaping out as correctible about the question. For bumping purposes it doesn't matter what gets edited. –  chaos Aug 6 '09 at 4:15

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