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Technology changes rapidly. Perhaps this is not as true for other exchanges such as history, chess, or the English language. However, it is true for Stack Overflow. Many times, older questions have answers which are no longer accurate.

Removing the accepted answer checkmark after 2 years will allow the question to become under review by the person who originally posed it. This will allow them to re-accept an answer and gain some reputation for having ensured that the answer was still applicable to the situation. This will also allow more relevant answers to be posed and accepted as answered to the situation if they are more correct than what was previously posted. It will also allow answers which contain links to be checked for link validity.

Overall, this will keep older content fresh.

"To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science." -Albert Einstein

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What if the asker doesn't come back? –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Sep 7 '12 at 22:53
    
There are other means to get renewed attention for an older question. Or you could even ask a new question, stating how the older solutions no longer apply. I see no reason to do as you propose. That would result in a big mess. –  Bart Sep 7 '12 at 22:53
    
@BoltClock'saUnicorn - The answers would still show. An automatic removal does not seem best, perhaps an optional review to change the answer checkmark or confirm that it is still valid. –  Travis J Sep 7 '12 at 23:01
    
The checkmark can be changed at any time already, from what I understand. –  jmort253 Sep 8 '12 at 0:18
    
You mention 'many' older questions being out-of-date, do you have any idea what proportion? How do you know the OPs won't just re-check the same answer, take the rep and be done with it? What would you do about highly up-voted stale answers that are not accepted? Presumably the auto unaccept would not subtract the OPs original accept rep? How would 'more relevant answers be posed' - would the question appear on the home page? Linkrot is already being looked at. –  martin clayton Sep 8 '12 at 12:05

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The accepted answer is merely a way to indicate "this answer helped me" not for the OP to pick and choose which is the most accurate or up-to-date answer. Sometimes people do choose downvoted answers as their accepted answer. It's up to them.

It may gather extra attention, if users actually find the question in the heap of unanswered questions and if there's actually information to update. We don't like to assume things here. You're basically assuming that all accepted answers will become outdated. Not all will.

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The assumption was that all accepted answers would need review in 2 years. Perhaps this is the wrong way to go about doing that. –  Travis J Sep 7 '12 at 22:59
    
You make a very good point about an accepted answer indicating "this answer helped me". –  Travis J Sep 7 '12 at 23:08

This doesn't seem like a very efficient way to curate stale questions and answers. If you see something that is out-of-date you could

  • edit it
  • comment on it
  • flag it

If you are domain expert, and so inclined, you could search the site for related out-of-date posts, maybe using the data explorer. If there are many to fix, post to meta to get assistance with the clean up.

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