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How to deal with obsolete answers?

I wonder if one final goal of the Stack (that is, to have all-the-time the best answer on the top of the list, even when technology changes) is actually reach from time to time.

Let's say that there is a very funny-weird bug in framework "X", which is clearly explained in an answer which has been up-voted a lot.

Then the framework is fixed by the editor.

The "community" should vote this top answer down and/or should make the "new" best answer (that is "there is no such problem anymore since release xx.xx") going to the top.

But my point is that this particular question won't attract any users anymore, because it has a lot of answers, and one has been voted "the good one". So it's like this "now-wrong" answer will be the best forever.

I'm think about a new feature like "this-is-not-the-good-answer-anymore" button. This will "clean" the status of the answers posted. All this to attract users and focus the gurus of that technology domain on that very question.

Joel? Jeff? What's your opinion on that? (Should have been a podcast user question, isn't it?) I hope I'll get a ton of reputation with that (and a free t-shirt).

  • Not pointed out by the answerers, but also relevant: the edit bumps the question to the top of the active queue and will generally bring more attention to make sure that the newly edited answer is still good. Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 17:09

4 Answers 4


The answer should be edited so that it's correct. Changing old votes wouldn't be allowed until the answer was edited anyway, so someone might as well just make it correct instead of making an edit to allow downvoting.


There used to be a close reason for outdated questions. It has been removed, as it rarely has been used, I guess.

In your case I would say, editing the question and maybe tagging it to include a version in which the error occurs and adding a line to the answer explaining that it has been fixed with version such-and-such would suffice. Not only suffice but really have value add, as there might be users still using this version.

Now, if something really is outdated, not for version reasons, but maybe because it is talking about an event in the past, it might be closed using "too localized", as time is but another dimension of space ;)


If the questions relates to that bug and the answer is accepted, it should stay as it is, but leave a comment on the answer stating the obsoleteness of that bug. Ideally, a tag would indicate the version to which this is specific.


I don't think this happens, because the old question just won't get enough attention for voting to work. But Stack Overflow still has one card up it's sleeve - anyone with 2000 rep can just edit the answer to make it correct. This does happen. I've seen it more than once. Even when it doesn't happen, those who do participate can add a comment on the original answer pointing to the new answer.

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