Is there any recourse to being down-voted when your answer ... becomes out of date?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Update it if no one has posted the correct/latest answer
- Modify it to point out that this is a method for those running older software/tools
- Delete it if it's truly no longer relevant to anyone, and a good answer already exists
Seems immoral to start voting down because of changes made over time.
It's not any more immoral than it would be for the Ruby project to turn off the link to the old repository and turn on the link to the new repository. Old information is not sacred.
If you are truly worried about getting downvotes due to out-of-date information, you have two choices - review your answers on a regular basis, or avoid answering questions where the technology changes over time.
How can every answer be expected to be managed
Once you submit your answer, the community manages it for you by supplying new answers, and upvoting and downvoting on a continuous basis due to each answer's validity and usefulness at any given moment.
In other words, once you contribute an answer to the community, you are no longer expected to maintain it - you can if you want, but the community is there to do it for you.
If you pro-actively maintain your questions, you will be rewarded by the community. If you let the community do all the work, then chances are good you may be penalized.
Keep in mind that the reward (10 rep) is 500% greater than the penalty (2 rep) so the penalty is insignificant compared to the reward you originally got when you answered the question.
a comment is surely suffice?
Honestly, I go in and edit the top answer if it goes out of date due to a change in technology, and let that person reap the benefits of my maintenance on their answer. It helps future users the most if the top answer is actually correct, so I go straight to editing rather than voting.
If the answer seems comprehensive, and I don't want to touch the masterpiece, or another user posted the latest and greatest info as an answer, I may leave a comment. The primary purpose of the comment is so that future readers will not be mislead - it's not to penalize the answerer, or to get them to change their answer.
I'm here to help those people who are looking for answers - they are the primary audience for the site.
I'm a special case, though, as I never downvote (I'm subverting the system! Wooo!) - More often than note I'll simply upvote everything good in an answer, and that will tend to push things up above the bad stuff.
But the voting is there for the users to use, and while we give them general guidelines, we do not tell them how to vote. The users get to guide the site, and if they determine that out of date information should be pushed down the stack, then that is their right.
Don't feel bad. I get a lot of downvotes on my old answers. I don't recall ever getting so many downvotes on any one question that the total reputation gain was negative, given the upvotes it originally received.
Further, the downvote shows up in your inbox, so you have a chance to address it. Once fixed, you may more than make up for it if someone else comes along and upvotes it.