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What should you do if a question has already been asked and answered, but both the question and the answer are now out of date? (in this case due to updates to jQuery).

Is it okay to make a new question if you need an up to date answer?

If you know an up to date answer is it okay to make a new question and answer it? Or should you answer the out of date question?

If you answer the out of date question, won't your answer just be buried and unnoticed because of the already upvoted/selected answers?

EDIT:

The problem is, sometimes a question and its answers will be so hopelessly full of out of date stuff, that it seems crazy to try and put up to date answers on the page. The page is pretty much worthless once the information is out of date, so would it not be better to start a new page?

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Short version: edit the answer or question to improve it!

Even anonymous users can suggest edits. Users with 2k+ reputation can edit directly.

Answers:

Edit the existing answer to update it. If you feel an edit is insufficient, or worry that your edit suggestion will not be accepted, write a new answer to the question, then add a comment to the existing answer pointing to your new answer. Indicate in your comment if you feel the answers could possibly be merged.

Questions:

Edit the existing question to update it. If you feel an edit is insufficient, or worry that your edit suggestion will not be accepted, ask your own question, link it to the other question, and explain why you ask again. Flag the question for moderator attention and ask if they can merge the questions.

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  • Fantastic, thanks for the advice! In regards to answering. What should I do if the question has out of date information in it too? Simply comment on it? And when you say "Ask others to merge them", do you mean ask a moderator as with merging questions? And to ask a moderator, should I flag the question for moderator attention? – Acorn Apr 27 '10 at 10:54
  • @Acorn: out-of-date: If you can't edit, commenting should be suffice. Ask moderator: flag for mod attention. Ask others: Just comment the post and ask: "Could you [which means the post owner here] or someone else please add what I've written here: ..." – Ladybug Killer Apr 27 '10 at 11:10
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Summarise the old Q&A, to make clear why the old answer doesn't help you, and to highlight what new information you are looking for.

Rewritten postscript - As Jeff indicates, you shouldn't worry about your new question being neglected: it is true that new questions don't attract as many views as older answers, but:

  1. Problems with questions stop them from generating better answers;
  2. The new, good answer will be the last thing visitors to the old question see (if they get that far), so misinformation doesn't get corrected; and
  3. the fresher activity on a new question generates interest, especially if you point to your new question in comments on the old page.

The effort of explaining the problem with the old question will probably be worthwhile.

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  • Did you mean to write "answers to old questions being neglected"? Also it wasn't just the fact that they might not be noticed as much, it was also that the question itself contains completely out of date things. – Acorn Apr 27 '10 at 11:06
  • @Acorn: Three edits each fixed a problem at the expense of unravelling coherence - I've rewritten the postscript now. – Charles Stewart Jan 9 '15 at 19:16
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In the event that:

sometimes a question and its answers will be so hopelessly full of out of date stuff, that it seems crazy to try and put up to date answers on the page.

then I think your first step, upon concluding that neither the question nor its answer(s) are useful, should be to downvote them, like the downvote tooltip advises.

If enough users think the same then you can push that Q&A into the path of the Roomba, and provide a clean slate for a similar and more useful question to be asked in the future.

On the other hand I think it would often be better to try and heavily edit such a Q&A in order to turn it into something useful, which could happen much sooner.

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