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Imagine you'd gain additional rep points for answering old (unanswered) questions. For instance one of these models:

  • 1 additional rep point if the question is older than 3 month
  • 1 additional rep point for each month of time difference in an unanswered old question
  • ...

This would lead to a higher chance to get old questions answered - surely many people would jump right to the last page of the unanswered questions. I believe having all (including old) questions answered is a design goal of this site.

Still, I believe this would be a bad idea. Old unanswered questions are usually in that state for a reason. Poor wording, poor content, you name it - these questions would usually (exceptions!) be better off not asked. Also, there is a fair chance that the asker is not paying attention to the question anymore, and even if he is, it is unlikely that he still gets any benefit from having such an old question answered.

Another idea is to give less reputation points on answering old questions. I don't see how this would help at all.

After all, this is not a proposal but an idea, that (apparently) was not presented yet. Maybe it is of some use, so I put it up here.

Edit: Looks like something similar was implemented.

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Judging from the downvotes, apparently ideas open for discussion are not welcome here, so I'll refrain from putting up any more. –  mafutrct May 11 '10 at 9:04
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Ideas open for discussion are welcome here. In addition to the usual meaning of "This question is unclear or not useful" down-votes on meta can mean "I disagree with this suggestion". In fact they are more likely to mean that - don't take it personally. –  ChrisF May 11 '10 at 9:16
    
ChrisF is spot on. the devs use a proposal's votes to gauge community support for that proposal. in that sense, given your statement that "I believe this would be a bad idea", i suspect you'd downvote this yourself given the chance. :) –  quack quixote May 11 '10 at 9:25
    
So they agree in that it is a bad idea by disagreeing... okay okay :) –  mafutrct May 11 '10 at 12:01
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't think this makes sense in the general case, for random old answers to random old questions.

However, in the case of old unanswered questions* it has been considered.. to increase the odds of old questions eventually getting at least ONE answer.

This then starts to overlap with bounties.

If anything I'd rather spend time on letting users "pool" rep on bounties.

* remember, unanswered by SO definition means no upvoted answers

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Somehow this would need to be tied to the number of question views. Once a question has gotten sufficient views, it probably doesn't deserve any more help. –  tvanfosson May 10 '10 at 12:28
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We have bounties available to help any question get more attention if the OP feels that it needs it. That, plus the ability to continue to get reputation should be enough for any reasonable, or even marginal question, to get answers.

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Don't forget the Necromancer badge! –  Grace Note May 10 '10 at 12:20
    
@ccornet I was just about to mention that. –  The Unhandled Exception May 10 '10 at 17:20
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