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Asking a previous question again. Isn't it useful?

Like all good citizens of stack overflow I do searches for for the answer I am looking for before posting. As well, in the cases where I don't find a matching answer, I usually get a comment from someone saying it is a repost if it is.

Perhaps it is just me and it is more relevant because I generally tend to ask questions about Ruby on Rails, but I think there is a lot of value in asking a near identical question if it was answered over 6 months ago. With young languages and frameworks like Ruby on Rails there could be a new best practice or new gem out that answers your question in new and better way.

Maybe include a link to the already answered question with a comment along the lines of "I realize this has been answered but since I am undertaking a massing project I wanted to see if this is currently the best way of going about this topic."

What are other's thoughts on this? I realize this could lead to a lot of duplication and I know you can always click on the newest answers of already answered questions but I doubt a lot of people search through old successfully answered questions to give a different answer for it. I also know that you can put up a bounty on an answer question but not everyone has the ability to put up bounties.

edit: To sum up the comments I have made to the first two answers, and to ask my question in a more succinct way, my question is what is the proper way to ask "I know this has been answered but is the answer still valid?"


2 Answers 2


Sometimes it makes sense to ask the same thing. For example, asking already asked c++ question for the latest c++ standard version c++11. The responses would most likely be different for c++03 and c++11.

  • That is exactly the point I was trying to make about Ruby on Rails, thanks for saying it in a clearer way.
    – user168046
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 19:18

No, questioners are expected to do their own research before asking for help. It is one of the downvote reasons: "This question does not show any research effort". Hover over a question's downvote arrow to see it.

You will need to show evidence of having done that research. Most of all by showing that you've used the provided answer and concluding that it is no longer accurate. Document your findings to get an up-to-date answer.

  • I don't know if I agree. Isn't that the point of asking a question, because you have searched and can't find the correct answer or you don't know if an answer is still correct? Also, by referencing the prior, correctly answered question shows you have done research. Using the RoR example that I did, if someone posted an answer that was a year old it likely would be on rails 2.3 and not the current framework which is Rails 3.
    – user168046
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 19:14
  • 2
    @Sean if you mean re-asking questions for new versions of frameworks and such, that is a different matter. But in general, I agree with Hans that there is no need to re-ask a question that has already been asked.
    – Pekka
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 19:42

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