Consider this SO question: Why is !true ? 'false' : 'true' returning 'true'?, even though the OP hasn't accepted a "correct" answer, most of the answers here are (pretty much) correct.

We get a new SO user who decides to answer the question anyways (granted he cannot see deleted answers) hopefully to get points.

How can we prevent redundant answers to be posted to a "simple" question? This would be especially useful to questions that are old and gets answered years later.

If there is a similar question, just feel free to close this.

  • Answering late is fine, the issue I would have with the answer is the glaring syntax issues within the conditionals (one = sign)
    – ಠ_ಠ
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:03
  • Related: What is the policy on very late exact duplicate answers? and Duplicate answer as late answer from new user (but not exact duplicates, assuming your'e actually feature-requesting a block on new answers) Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:09
  • 2
    – Arjan
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:09
  • 1
    Why are you suddenly protecting a question because a new answer is posted? Is it because your answer given so long ago was never accepted by the OP? There should be a way to prevent THAT, if you asked me... Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:11
  • Not really. I don't want that 10 years later, the answer gets answered due to "opportunity" of getting answered closed when the answers already there suffices. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:12
  • 2
    The answers already there might NOT suffice for everyone. Here is an example where there is a huge variety of potentially different solutions that could work for different people.
    – gitsitgo
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:18
  • @gitsitgo, agreed, but this is regards to a question that is as simple as the one mentioned above. I do understand questions that has many solutions to branch out to. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:26
  • What is truth?
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:35

5 Answers 5


We shouldn't prevent it. If a user is repeating answers that are already there, you can simply vote as you see fit. But just because a question is old and answered, that doesn't mean that a user can't come up with a great new answer to the question. Granted, that particular question will most likely not see that happen, but it should never be prevented.

  • should we prevent new answers not even in cases where the existing answers are known-forever-optimal? Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:05
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    known-forever-optimal is a new phrase for me. What does it mean, @Jan? Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:05
  • Why @JanDvorak? So you have a duplicate answer...who cares? Downvote it if you must. That should be enough of a prevention.
    – Bart
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:05
  • @CodyGray as an example, that would be any trivial answer to a typo question (these should be closed, I know, but that's because they're useless to googlers) Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:06
  • What harm does the late extra answer do to the site @JanDvorak?
    – Bart
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:08
  • @JanDvorak: Whatever reason they are closed for, that would fix the problem of new answers. But more than that: is there really a problem of new duplicate answers to old typo questions popping up? Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:09
  • @DavidRobinson do you consider free rep and unneccessary bumps a problem? Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:10
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    All reputation is free, the challenge is earning it through upvotes. Posting duplicate answers to old questions is not likely to earn you more than a raised eyebrow. It might even earn some downvotes. So no, I don't really see the problem. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:13
  • @JanDvorak: I said on typo questions. The rep-farming you're referring to tends to happen on extremely popular questions with already-existing interesting answers. What's the last time you saw a question answered two years ago with "You forgot an end-parentheses" draw a new duplicate answer, much less the new one being upvoted? Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:14

Questions can be "protected" to address such concerns. The linked question was actually just marked as protected 10 minutes before you posted this. The text for that notice reads:

This question is protected to prevent "thanks!", "me too!", or spam answers by new users. To answer it, you must have earned at least 10 reputation on this site.

  • The question was protected by the same person asking this question here.
    – Stijn
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:08
  • 3
    In that case it would not have prevented either of those. Protecting a question if there's not a handful of deleted posts already seems like abuse of the privilege to me.
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:09
  • 2
    @slhck But there are a lot of deleted posts. (well, 3, specifically). This seems like an appropriate use of the protection privilege.
    – Servy
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:09
  • Alright then, in that case it may be warranted. Your answer however reads like this is the appropriate measure to take if someone just doesn't want a popular question to get new answers ("such concerns"), just because it's already answered.
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 16:10

I'm not sure this should be stopped. For example, what if the new answer mentions that previous answers have been rendered obsolete by deprecation or the like, and provides an answer that is now the most correct? This isn't the sort of thing we should prevent.

That being said, users with >=500 rep can review answers from new users to old questions, and flag/downvote etc them if need be.

  • s/view/review. Anyone can view those Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:07
  • @JanDvorak That better?
    – StephenTG
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:09

There is no way to automate something like this, since it doesn't follow a consistent set of criteria. Sometimes new answers to old questions by new users are helpful. Sometimes they're helpful even when another answer has already been accepted. Sometimes they're even better than the accepted answer. Sometimes they add relevant information about something that has changed since the question was posted, and this is more likely to happen if the question is old.

It's a case-by-case judgement call every time. Fortunately, there's a solution already in place that takes into account both the fact that there is a greater likelihood that an answer to an old question by a new user doesn't really need to be added, and the fact that this can only be determined by human judgement on a case-by-case basis. It's called the Late Answers review queue.


Consider this related tangent: What if it's an obscure, difficult question that only a few people might encounter, one which does not lend itself to "me too" answers. Those kinds of problems can be as tough as HeisenBugs. Maybe the question goes tumblweed ... If answers arrive so much later, they won't likely help the original poster, but maybe it will those that hit the same problem later.

As several have mentioned, time should only matter for stale technology. And adding to what Adi Inbar says, on finding a question with (now) obsolete methods - regardless the of answers - it could be helpful to chime in and explain why its outmoded and what to do instead. One real instance you'll see on Stackoverflow: android cursor-related functions, such as


Contacts.People is deprecated, the better way to do it is:

{ enter *newer* code here }  // and the reason it's better is { ______ }

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