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Maybe there is such a feature but if so it is IMHO not prominent enough since I did not stumbled upon it even when I was looking for it.

As you can see I joined the community just recently and I noticed the following:

Initially I used the site (no-registered) kind of selfishly: I searched and learned without giving anything back. I might have up-voted good questions and answers but somehow I never signed up so this was not possible.

When I noticed this behavior to be counter-productive I created some accounts and started up-voting and even answering questions. I did not gain much reputation since I mostly answered older question that mostly were already answered but I felt I could add something useful.

When I have a question I normally proceed as follows:

  1. search SO
  2. google
  3. enter my question heading and check out the proposed related questions
  4. formulate and ask the question

Using this procedure I most often find the answer without asking a new question - often not the exact answer but enough to figure it out at least when combing several sources. Then I asked my first question that was answered and up-voted really fast. The same hold true for my second question.

Surprisingly (at least to me), these two question yielded 54 reputation points (including those for accepting answers) whereas my 7 answers yielded "only" 40 reputation points.

Not that I care that much about getting more reputation for my answers (they are all more or less basic) but this made me think about a potential problem:

If you post a new question, chances are good that many users read it and vote on it. This could make people create questions without researching enough just to earn reputation points but I think this is kind of balanced since most questions I found very helpful.

But, if you answer an old question, chances are low anyone will ever read it. I think this keeps people from investing time and effort in improving answers when they could and the feature I am asking for/proposing could solve this IMHO:

If I up-vote a question/answer and/or answer a question I would like to be pointed to late answers to reconsider my votes. And I am not talking about subscribing to a question and getting messages/mails for each and every update but a list just like the Unanswered list I could check from time to time.

I think this would draw much more attention to good answers that were just a little late for the initial attention phase without bothering users.

So my question is: Is there such a feature? If not, is there a reason why? And if not, do you think it would solve the described problem? Do you even agree that problem exists?

Since my question is already too long (sorry for that), I can also take some more space to point out once more that this is not about my answers and by far no complaining about not getting enough votes - I am talking about potentially much better answers that needed a lot of more work but ended up unrecognized. So please do not attack me with down-votes and comments for trying to campaign to get more attention!


Since psubsee2003 pointed out it was not clear enough that I am not that much concerned about not getting enough reputation for late answers I post, but more about potentially missing interesting late answers to questions asked by others but up-voted by me.

I consider this important because most question I would ask have been asked before and I would like to be pointed to new answers to those questions as well.

share|improve this question
Note that answering an old question will bump it up to the front for a bit – StephenTG Aug 15 '13 at 15:03
"When I noticed this behavior to be counter-productive I created some accounts and started up-voting and even answering questions." I hope that's a typo? No sock-puppets allowed! – Johnny Bones Aug 15 '13 at 15:05
@StephenTG: But will the question also be 'bumped'? – mschilli Aug 15 '13 at 15:09
@JohnnyBones: If you refer to the plural in accounts, I was refering to multiple SE accounts (i.e. signing up on multiple sites using the same identity) not multiple SO accounts. ;-) – mschilli Aug 15 '13 at 15:10
@sg-lecram Yes, it's the question that gets bumped. Not sure how you'd only bump the answer... – StephenTG Aug 15 '13 at 15:10
@StephenTG: I was thinking the new answer is somehow appearing on the top regardless the vote count. As I said, I am new. But now I got your point. Thx! – mschilli Aug 15 '13 at 15:13
@sg-lecram since you appear to be asking more about being able to browse new answers to old questions, I would try make that point earlier in question. It is somewhat lost in the middle. – psubsee2003 Aug 15 '13 at 15:28
@psubsee2003: I'll try to revise the question. But what happened to your answer? I was going to refer to it and now it is gone. I did not know about the features you mentioned and they helped to understand the general topic. So even I was not going to accept it as of now, I would have voted it up (but this requires more reputation so I couldn't). – mschilli Aug 15 '13 at 15:33
@sg-lecram since it didn't really address your main question, I deleted it, but I was going to refine it to add something pertaining to your other question before undeleting it. – psubsee2003 Aug 15 '13 at 15:36
There is a feature that lets you track activity in questions: favorites. This doesn't allow you to keep track of changes for questions that you've voted on or answered, but does allow you to track new activity for questions that you are interested in. – chue x Aug 15 '13 at 15:51
@chuex: So you're saying if I am going to ask a question and find it on SO I could so to speak "subscribe" to that question? How do I learn about new answers? By notification messages? This is nice to know but then I have to manually do this for every question I like and risk getting a ton of messages...I still think it would be better to be able to ask for such new answers with one to few clicks when you have time for this instead of being spammed with notifications... – mschilli Aug 15 '13 at 16:07
You'll see a number next to the favorites tab in your profile. The number indicates how many questions have had new activity. I believe that "new activity" includes new answers. I don't consider the functionality as "spam". As long as you don't click on the favorites tab, you will have a number there reminding you of how many questions have had activity. When you are ready to check out all the new activity, you can just sort your favorites (by activity date) and then check each one out. – chue x Aug 15 '13 at 16:16
@chuex: Thanx for pointing that out. I you combine your comments to an answer I might accept that one. – mschilli Aug 15 '13 at 16:37
@sg-lecram You're welcome. I personally would not feel right adding that as an answer when it is already mentioned in the existing answer. Feel free to do one of the following: 1) accept the existing answer or 2) take my comments and add them as answer yourself and accept that. – chue x Aug 15 '13 at 16:54
up vote 3 down vote accepted

This feature exists in 2 ways -

  1. There is a Late Answers review queue. Users with >500 rep can review new answers to old question.
  2. Any answer added to a question, regardless of the age of the question, will bump it to the front page

Between both features, it helps get extra views to the new answers. Unfortunately because of the volume of questions on Stack Overflow, #2 doesn't help as much here as it does on other sites. Bumped questions can be pushed off the front page in minutes, but on other sites, it can sometimes be hours giving a lot more opportunity for people to see it.

The question of views, however, is an important one. There is a parallel between the number of views a question gets and the upvotes on the (good) answers.

Specific features that give one specific answer significantly more views than others tend to be avoiding in my experience. Generally speaking, the idea is to get people to look at a question an ALL of the answers, judging all of the answers in the context of the question. The Late Answers review queue is one of those situations where a specific answer is shown (and not all of the answers). One of the main purpose of the queue is to help review new answers that might be SPAM or forum-like follow up questions so in order to prevent those answers from getting an inappropriate number of extra views (and an inordinate number of upvotes), there are limits on the number of reviewers for specific answers.

A feature to be able to browse new answers might be fun to look through, but I don't think it is really necessary to get more upvotes for answers. Upvotes on answers generally take time to accumulate and much come from idle searching (either from Stack Overflow or Google). My most highly voted SO answer only had 1 or 2 upvotes when I originally answered it but it picks up a new vote every few weeks. Answers that have dozens (or even hundreds) of upvotes are generally several years old with 10's of thousands of views. Of course there are some that get a lot of upvotes quickly, but more often than not, they accumulate slowly over time.

Questions on the other hand (at least that I've noticed), tend to get votes early as the quality of the question and the apparent effort of the asker (in terms of research, searching SO, and taking the time to write a good question) are taken into account.

The votes tab in your user profile can show you your voting history so if your are interested, you can always go back through the questions you have voted. Likewise, you can use your favorites to keep tabs on specific posts. The favorites tab in your profile will even highlight posts with recent changes so you know when one is updated.

share|improve this answer
I believe that the Late Answers review queue only includes answers from new (i.e. low rep) users. So you may find the answers there are on the lower end of the quality scale (which is why they are reviewed in the first place). If you are looking for good new answers, that's probably not the best place to start. – James Holderness Aug 15 '13 at 16:40

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