Following on from the now 2 year old question here:

What to do if an out of date question+answers already exists?

As a new SO/SE user, frequently Googling & searching on SE sites for answers, what is the best approach to deal with the growing pile of inadequate/out-dated answers regarding topics, 2 more years growth, thousands more questions, lots of very bad "answers" due to out of dateness and general change in the world. How is a new user to address them? .. wait till i get enough rep to do actions of some consequence on the old questions? Ask new ones and hope I dont get told its a duplicate?

At this point in the age of SE, some clarification is going to be more crucial, as a new user I feel particularly frustrated with balancing the obligation to be a good SE member and stick to the policy of not re-asking questions already asked, and the desire to re-ask a question hoping for a "new" answer be it due to the old one being out of date or wrong.

@Mystical has provided a good response, unfortunately not as an answer, meaning I cant accept it as an answer.

In addition I have already done exactly what was suggested by Mystical, I linked to the previous question and stated that I feel the advice is not entirely applicable to new users arriving to a now 2 years older Stack Overflow, with even more old questions some of which are out of date by as much as 4 years now. When coming to a question via Google and finding it grossly out of date, what can a new user do.


If you have the power, edit the existing answer and update it. If you do not have edit privilege, write a new one and add a comment to the existing one, pointing to yours. Ask others to merge them.


Edit, if you can. If not, ask your own, link to the other question, explain why you ask again and ask a moderator, if he can merge the questions.

This doesn't help a new user without the power to edit anything. It pretty much hammers home the very reason I asked this. Am I really just stuck in the SE equivalent to the new Wikipedia user phase where your edits are automatically untrustworthy & get reverted by a bot. Because the usefulness of that approach has been demonstrated wonderfully in countless threads online discussing how new users give up Immediately when this happens to them on Wikipedia. I figure SE is a bit better than that.

How about some more of this Could we please be a bit nicer to new users? with regards to my question?

EDIT 2 Just realised that last line seems argumentative/antagonistic, its not meant to be, its just meant to highlight that I would like to see some of what was discussed in that link regarding approaches to new users, applied to my question here.

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    If you decide to re-ask, make sure you link to the old one and state clearly that it is out of date and the answers are no longer applicable. Depending on the situation, it may be better to just put a new answer on the old question. – Mysticial Mar 30 '13 at 15:02
  • Such as this question... and linking to the 2 year old 'canonical source' (so to speak). And here I am... having linked to the likely out of date Q/A, and yet I have no less than 5 people who have already flagged this as a duplicate, thus proving my point and failing to heed this meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9953/… – Techdragon Mar 30 '13 at 18:36
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    new and even anon users can suggest edits just fine -- your claim that new users can't edit is just plain false! – Jeff Atwood Mar 31 '13 at 6:50
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    @Jeff, somehow I managed to miss that detail while reading for an answer. If you post that as an answer, I can mark this answered so it doesn't show as unanswered. Since thats pretty much a perfect answer. You pointed out a feature I had failed to find that does exactly what I was hoping to do. :-) – Techdragon Mar 31 '13 at 6:56
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    I'll update the answer here meta.stackexchange.com/questions/47984/… because it is not really correct, it does not explain that anons and new users can suggest edits. I will edit it. – Jeff Atwood Mar 31 '13 at 11:24

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