I occasionally come across a question asking "How do I X in Y?" from several years ago, where the answer marked correct was "You can't, because Y does not have feature X". However, that was a long time ago, and since then feature X has been added.

There are a lot of cases where a product / program / programming language / law /game / etc. has changed, making a previous answer no longer valid. However, at the time, the given answer was correct.

Answering an old question with "That answer used to be correct, but has changed to X now" seems like a reasonable thing to do when I come across a case like this that I can answer. However, what do I do when I come across such a case, where I need an answer?

Should I just ask exactly the same question again, and note that I expect the answer to have changed?

If the old question has already been answered and had the answer marked correct, and no one has added anything new to it in several years, it seems unlikely that a new answer will be posted without some way of drawing attention to it.

On the other hand, consider this question, where the old answer was marked correct but the new answer (posted ~2 years later) now has 3x as many upvotes. Maybe this is just how the system works, but it seems strange to me. Perhaps there should be some mechanism for changing which answer is correct?


You can do several things:

  1. Leave a comment on the answer stating that it's now wrong in the hope that the poster will come back and correct it.
  2. Down-vote the answer if you think it's that wrong it deserves it. In most cases that won't be the case.
  3. Add an answer with what you think is the correct solution now.
  4. Edit the answer so it's now correct again (only in cases where you're not effectively rewriting the answer)
  5. Add a bounty to the question asking for a more up-to-date answer.

In your case you can't do 3 or 4 so you'll have to do 1, 2 or 5.

All the acceptance means is that the answer helped the questioner the most. It should not be seen as marking the answer as "correct". That's what votes are for.

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  • Ah yes, I keep forgetting about bounties! Although, I don't think down voting is really appropriate - the answer was correct when they wrote it, why should they lose rep because something outside their control has changed? – Benubird Jul 26 '15 at 12:19
  • @Benubird that is true, which is why I said only down-vote if you think it deserves it. In most cases it won't. – ChrisF Jul 26 '15 at 12:21
  • @Benubird Downvote any answer that is not useful, irrespective of the age of it. The answer was correct at a time, which means it was useful. It may still be considered correct considering the history but if it is no longer serving the purpose (i.e. being useful at all now), then downvote should be the preferred choice with an optional comment. Remember that if something is useful, upvote it; if not useful, downvote it, which is what the voting originally is meant for. – 286110 Jul 27 '15 at 0:11

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