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Here's what I'm puzzled about: someone ask a question about a general problem in Java without saying which version he's using. Another user answer the question pointing out the right solution but links to the docs about Java 1.4.

Since the one who asked didn't say the version he was using, would it be a good practice to edit the link to point to the last version of the documentation? (in this case Java 7)

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The very best practice would arguably be asking the OP which version they mean, and not answering until they do... –  Pëkka Apr 9 '13 at 19:03
    
@Pekka웃 unfortunately most people will not follow best practice, and just answer anyway. That's why I've advocating closing the question until the version is specified. –  Jim Apr 9 '13 at 19:35
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@Pekka웃 - in many cases answers about Java will be the same independent of version so not answering does not make sense. –  Mark Apr 9 '13 at 19:39
    
@Mark I'm referring only to cases where knowing the right version is absolutely crucial for a good answer. If it's not important information, there's of course no need to wait for it. –  Pëkka Apr 9 '13 at 19:40
    
@Pekka웃 but that is not what dierre is asking –  Mark Apr 9 '13 at 19:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You should:

  1. Write a comment on the question asking for more specific information about the problem. E.g. Which version of JVM was used. (People typically forget about this one).

  2. Write an answer and explicitly state any specifics to which it applies e.g. JVM version it applies. After the Question is updated with a given JVM version, you can extend your answer to cover that version.

  3. You should post a comment to any other answers that are not complete or that do apply only to specific cases, e.g. specific JVM versions.

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I agree with 2 or 3 but only ask 1 if it matters - which often it does not, i.e. I assume that most questions are version independent –  Mark Apr 9 '13 at 19:40
    
True, for most of those it does not matter. But when related to JVM, it often matters. And people usually do not even mention JVM vendor, and there is a lot of functional difference event in JVM prodcut from the same vendor depending on the version. –  Ales Plsek Apr 9 '13 at 19:53

I would say that version-dependent questions that do not specify a version should be closed as Not A Real Question (NARQ) until edited to specify the parameters of the problem.

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, see the FAQ.

If no version is specified, then pretty much any version-specific answer is "valid". Rather than collect a bunch of answers guessing what version the question is about, the question should inidcate the version, and then be answered (instead of invalidating the answers of everyone who guessed the wrong version in their answer).

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If the question is not specific to a version of Java/JRE, and the answer is correct, then yes, edit the link to point to the latest Java version.

If the question is specific to a version of Java/JRE, I would flag/vote to close as NARQ.

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