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There are some old questions that are still basically unsolved where new users come along in search for a solution and start posting answers with additional problem descriptions. The users are new and the only way they can contribute to the search for an solution is by posting "answers" because they don't have enough rep for anything else.

For example in this question there are several answer like this, one from today. If this were to be posted as a new question it would be an exact duplicate. The new information from the answers should probably be edited into the original question or be a comment. But even if somebody would come along and edit it into the original question, not many people would see it (especially since the question already has an accepted answer). The problem will most probably stay unresolved.

What should one recommend to a user who posts such a reply asking for a solution? Post it as a new question despite it being a dupe?

(other example from today)

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If this were to be posted as a new question it would be an exact duplicate.

Ummm... If it's an exact duplicate of an existing question, then there's only one reason to post it as a new question, and no reason to post it as an answer!

If it's an exact duplicate, then there's no reason to edit it into the question, since it would only duplicate information already in the question.

If it's an exact duplicate, then either the answers to the existing question answer the new question, or there are no answers to the existing question. In which case, they might as well ask it again - worst-case, no one answers it... again.

Of course, if it's not an exact duplicate, then it's a new question. "I'm having this problem, but the answers given on this question don't work because of this thing unique to my situation. Help?"

Or something.

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I thought I this was Jeff's answer for a second. –  Tyler Carter Aug 7 '09 at 3:18
1  
@Chacha102: it's the leading "Ummm..." - I stole that from his podcast persona. –  Shogging through the snow Mar 1 '10 at 21:00

The best way to 'repost' this would be to use the accepted pattern of: "i have read this post, and it is close to my question, but i have this nuance..." The answerers are directed to the old post to serve as a guide, but instructed to post specific answers targeting the nuance.

Ultimately, once the user gets enough rep to post comments, it is would be a good idea to link the two via comment to the original question:

I have asked a follow up question here: [link to new question] with some more helpful answers.

It would also be nice to upvote the question at this point as well, acknowledging the help that was provided by the OP.

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Perhaps there should be a "re-raise" option (available to new users too), to be able to get old questions higher on the list.

Something along the lines of being able to get it on the featured list, as an old question that hasn't been answered (and accepted), but that someone else wants answered. Perhaps with an extra 20 rep points for answering it, but you can only get it into that category if it's a week old without an accepted answer (or something).

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A sort of 'bump' or 'age' button. –  Tom Anderson Feb 26 '11 at 16:26

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