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This may have been asked before, but I can't find it searching. If this has been brought up before, point it out please.

This is also not commonly a problem, but on occasion, one pops up. The "problem" is that new users add an answer to a question that already has an accepted answer (example). I'm only concerned about questions that are quite old, say at least 3 months old.

The question goes straight back to the top of the front page, but has already been thoroughly discussed and answered. The new "answer" is commonly of no value to the question, and the answer previously provided has already been implemented.

I'm essentially proposing that you need a certain rep (maybe 15, even just a registered account) to be able to post an answer to a question with an accepted answer that is so old (say 3 months 1 year or older).

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Example question has an accepted answer by the owner, new user could have been confused due to that. –  Ólafur Waage May 28 '10 at 13:46
    
Even though the owner shouldn't have answered his own question in this case, the answer was correct. –  Chris S May 28 '10 at 14:10
    
A non-automated solution to this has now been applied. See the blog for the announcement and the FAQ post for further details. –  Grace Note Jun 8 '10 at 11:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

What if the information in that answer gets stale? This is a fast paced industry; there will almost always be a better answer, maybe in the form of a new technology, a better algorithm, anything.

Stack Overflow is about knowledge and choice. If a new user posts an answer, that answer can gain plenty of upvotes and even become accepted; it's our choice as members of that community to do that. Also, not all accepted answers really are ideal; some of them are simply the best option available at the time, not the definitive answer (there hardly ever is one). That's why you can change an accepted answer at any time. Bumping a question back on the front page is by design, not something users do to annoy others.

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I strongly disagree with this. My very first post on Stack Overflow was on an old question that had an accepted answer. Notice how I have the accepted mark now? It jumpstarted me from 1 to 26 reputation and was partly responsible for why I even stayed in Stack Overflow at all.

Yes, my example is only a bit past 2 months old, but what if I had waited 3 more weeks? The OP would be denied exactly the answer he was looking for, just because I was late to the party.

I don't think that new users posting on answered questions is nearly a big enough problem to warrant blocking the entry of useful information. Not all new users are wrong, there is always the case of someone who very much knows what he or she is talking about deciding to register, and why should that person be barred from contributing that value just because of being late? Being late has nothing to do with being helpful!

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Huzzah Huzzah :D –  Ólafur Waage May 28 '10 at 13:54
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+1 Couldn't agree more. –  squillman May 28 '10 at 14:28
    
2 months old isn't an "old question" –  Chris S May 28 '10 at 22:07
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@Chris The point isn't what is "old", the point is that age is irrelevant to the usefulness of an answer. It is not a useful metric to use as a barrier for these kind of things. –  Grace Note May 29 '10 at 11:24

I don't think we want to discourage people from adding answers to old questions.
That's a lot of the purpose of the Necromancer and Populist badge.

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I'm not trying to discourage anyone from giving a good answer, but how do you keep the transients (people who are almost certainly never coming back) from littering old questions with cruft? –  Chris S May 28 '10 at 22:08
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Constant Vigilance. You can only make so many things require rep, pretty soon they'll lose the ability to do anything. –  Lance Roberts May 28 '10 at 22:49
    
I think the whole concept of trying to control everything with code comes from 80's generation programmers who are still trapped in the AI dream. –  Chris May 29 '10 at 5:11

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