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I've often come across very popular questions (usually on Stack Overflow) whose answers date back as far as 2008, even though the question is still relevant today as 2019 approaches.

It has often frustrated me that there isn't a way to re-open a question for updated answers short of placing a bounty on it, which I feel isn't really the right user action for the situation in question.

I don't think users should have to use up their own reputation just to keep site content updated and relevant. On some level that effectively disincentives people from improving site quality. It also means users without a lot of reputation points can't do it.

Similarly, "flagging" the question doesn't really fit either, at least with the current flagging options: it's not a problem question (neither spam nor abuse) and it doesn't need moderator intervention.

It would be nice to be able to nominate a question for updated answers. I think all users should be able to do this, although of course there would need to be some sort of constraint so that every person stopping by doesn't demand an update to a 6-month old question just because they aren't happy with current answers.

I would personally suggest the following properties and constraints as a starting point:

  • only possible on questions that are more than two years old. Ideally this value would vary depending on the age of the subject matter in question, but that's probably not realistic to do on a tag-by-tag basis.

  • any user could nominate the question for updating, and it would be placed into the Review Queue for other users to verify before approving.

  • users with sufficient number of reputation points should be able to by-pass the review queue for this.

  • once approved, the question should be essentially re-opened and appear in the question queue as normal.

  • the authors of previous answers to the question perhaps should receive a notification informing them of the event and inviting them to update their answers.

  • the author of the question should be invited to select a new answer after a suitable period of time has passed.

  • existing answers should be initially marked with a banner noting that they may be out-of-date, to draw users' attention to the fact that the number of upvotes may no longer accurately imply quality or relevance. This would go away if the answer were edited, although on some level I have to question the idea of an answer keeping its upvotes when its content has changed.

    But that's how the site has always worked, so perhaps there could be some sort of versioning system for answers, some way of indicating that X% of an answer's upvotes preceded its major content update.

marked as duplicate by Ward, Glorfindel, rene, Sonic the Inclusive Hedgehog, Robert Longson Nov 4 '18 at 20:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Your question (suggestion) seems to me like not entirely compliant to some of the basic rules of any SE-site. As an example, "updating a question" could possibly:

  • invalidate existing answers (no matter how old they are).
  • make it a chameleon question (= after the question is answered, the content changes in such a way that some sort of new question is added, instead of posting that as a new question).

Similarly, "updating an (existing) answer" could possibly be considered as a deviation of the intention the OP (of that answer), not allowed either (and a typical reason to reject suggested edits of answers also).

However, as per the spirit of your question, you should use the bounty system for drawing attention to have new answers posted to existing questions (that's part of what it is designed for). Of course, for that it'll cost the user who creates the bounty some reputation points. Except maybe if some user (which could be somebody different from you ...) would give it a try by posting a meta question about it (on the applicable site), similar to this one from meta.drupal.SE, for which this is a relevant quote of it:

... please answer this with links to questions you feel are worthy of some extra attention, one per answer if you wouldn't mind (that'll make it easier to vote). Suggesting your own posts is absolutely fine, just remember the goal is to get answers to questions that will benefit the greater community.

Hopefully we can discuss briefly how important each is, and how many points to award, and get some great new content on the site!

So if you would answer such meta question, and the OP thinks your answer (= suggestion to the user who posted that meta question) is worth an appropriate bounty, then it would be the OP who donates some reputation points to start such bounty.

  • I'm not suggesting the question be changed. I'm suggesting attention be drawn to the question so the answers can be changed. Perhaps I didn't word things clearly enough? I guess I thought "there isn't a way to re-open a question for updated answers" got my point across, but maybe not? as for bounty, I made my argument against that already. – temporary_user_name Nov 4 '18 at 14:35
  • @Aerovistae "... so the answers can be changed ..." (cfr your prior comments): that would only be allowed by OPer of such answer. Maybe my updated answer helps somehow? – Pierre.Vriens Nov 4 '18 at 19:27

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