Our field is pretty dynamic and things are constantly in change. What the "right way" was to fix a problem in 2009 is completely wrong today. For example, a recipe to install Ruby on Mac OS X from 2008 - using ports - is probably not the best solution today. I see some answers being downvoted today, because their solutions "don't work" anymore or they aren't the best approaches nowadays. Is it fair for those to get downvoted because they're old? How can we solve it?

Maybe we could:

  • Highlight the age of a question/answer
  • In our FAQ write that "before downvoting, look back in time, when the question was answered and the solution was available"
  • Don't allow downvotes on old questions/answers
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    The answerers are free to update their answers, if they don't care to do so, they presumably don't care about the votes either so why should you or we care that they get downvoted? – Robert Longson Sep 27 '17 at 6:39
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    It's a big problem, see this. This question isn't really good as you don't focus on a single request so it's more of a discussion. If you prefer to leave it open, it's a duplicate of that older discussion. – Shadow The Burning Wizard Sep 27 '17 at 6:48
  • @ShaWizDowArd thanks you for the link. There were no common tags between both questions – VP. Sep 27 '17 at 8:43
  • No problem. So you agree this is duplicate? Or prefer to edit this question to focus on specific request? – Shadow The Burning Wizard Sep 27 '17 at 8:45
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    @ShaWizDowArd I don't think the older question is asking about the same thing. This question is asking if answers that were appropriate and valued ‘yesterday’ should be downvoted ‘today’. Admittedly VP then asks how this could be fixed and suggests three possible solutions. But the main focus, if I'm not mistaken, is whether DVing "outdated" answers is ethical. – Mari-Lou A Sep 27 '17 at 8:51
  • @Mari-LouA yes, that's correct. I see some overlap between the questions but not completely. Feel free to flag it moderate attention if needed – VP. Sep 27 '17 at 9:12
  • How about making them community wiki post? – Pandya Sep 27 '17 at 14:19

The tooltip for downvoting an answer is:

This answer is not useful

If an answer is no longer useful then I think it should be downvoted even if it was useful at some earlier time.

Then, as commented by @PatrickHofman:

Downvoting might also encourage the author to update their answer.

and thereby encourage them to be re-upvoted (perhaps higher than before).

By upvoting answers which are currently useful and downvoting any that are not currently useful the ranking of answers can change to reflect their current usefulness.

The one exception is when an accepted answer is no longer useful, has already been downvoted, yet is still pinned to the top.

That exception could be resolved by Keeping special status for Accepted Answers without sticking them to top forever?

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    Downvoting might also encourage the author to update their answer. – Patrick Hofman Sep 27 '17 at 8:04
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    What happens if the user is not active? And an answer that was perfectly acceptable in 20014 might still be useful to a person who is interested in fixing an outdated system. – Mari-Lou A Sep 27 '17 at 8:10
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    @Mari-LouA I would not expect users to downvote answers that were once useful to oblivion. I would expect to see them remain on the question forever, just at a ranking where someone knowing they are fixing an outdated system would be prepared to look but most users would not need to. – PolyGeo Sep 27 '17 at 8:13
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    Unless you refresh (edit) old questions and bring them to the front page to be evaluated, newer answers will never rise to the top. Why not separate answers according to the date they were submitted, starting with the most recent? The "active" button is flawed in the sense it includes edits, so a post submitted in 2010 could be at the top of that list because it was edited (not necessarily updated) two months ago. – Mari-Lou A Sep 27 '17 at 8:23
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    @PatrickHofman I don't think that encorage. In the opposite. I think it make people to answer less questions, to avoid a life sentence maintaining old answers. – VP. Sep 27 '17 at 8:40
  • @PatrickHofman specially "no feedback downvotes" – VP. Sep 27 '17 at 8:40
  • @VP I often see old unuseful answers that I have downvoted updated very quickly - conscientious users see it as a blot on their record that they want to remove ASAP. – PolyGeo Sep 27 '17 at 9:10
  • @PolyGeo I see it is however something bad to do without any feedback. It maybe that for the author somebody just forgot to see that it is an old question. Maybe for old questions, downvote just with comment? – VP. Sep 27 '17 at 11:55

In your case a product tag on the question could help. As the tag is there to categorize the question.

What macOSX version it's ? el captain, moutain lion, etc..

A answer for a product version x can't necessary work on version y. To give an example a answer for windows-xp can't necessary work for windows-10.

As such I often see old question on serverfault, like "how to push my printers to all computer ?" A product tag of windows-server-2003 help, as we know that its a answer to keep in the archive, an answer for a end of life product, but its a question that can be easilly find by newer users that search to resolve similar problem. (or by user still having that technology)

PolyGeo's answer would perfectly apply if the generic tag would had been used, and no text from the OP allow us to edit the tag

  • To downvoter, does that mean we, as a community, we don't want to keep old answer about old product? if that mean all old question can potentially become useless, that mean we can vtc all question about end of life product ? – yagmoth555 Sep 27 '17 at 13:37
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    We absolutely want to keep questions and their answers about previous versions of a product. We just don't need a tag, for every version of, every application that exists. When a question was asked can be used to determine the scope of the question with regard to the version of an application. A question asked in 2009 isn't going to be about Windows 10, even if it uses the windows tag for instance, so answers that only apply to windows 10 couldn't typically answer the question that was asked – Ramhound Sep 27 '17 at 14:20
  • @Ramhound Thanks for the feedback, I now understand. :) My answer is too specific. I will edit – yagmoth555 Sep 27 '17 at 15:09
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    macOSX? It is either OS X (if you don't approve of Apple's constant renaming of their operating system - note the space between "OS" and "X") or macOS. – Peter Mortensen Sep 27 '17 at 17:33

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