Sometimes when I want to ask a question, I see it is already exists, but its answers are old and might not be relevant.

Is the best approach to ask a new question, or use the original one by posting a comment?

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    What kind of questions are you asking where you wouldn't be sure if old answers are relevant or not? Can you give some examples? – Bill the Lizard Feb 18 '11 at 17:03
  • @Bill the Lizard: I've seen a LOT of similar questions where although it's pretty much an exact duplicate the previous one was never answered. It seems that most of the time it's usually a dupe of much older questions from 2009... This brings up an idea that maybe mods should try and clear those older questions out of the system somehow. – NotMe Feb 18 '11 at 19:47
  • @Chris: If people flag them, we can close/merge/delete duplicates. It's just a matter of identifying them in the sea of 1.3 million questions (and counting). – Bill the Lizard Feb 18 '11 at 20:03
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    @Bill the Lizard: Yeah. I've been voting to delete these as I come across them. Of course with a delete vote limit of 5 it's slow going. ;) – NotMe Feb 18 '11 at 20:07
  • @Chris: Yeah, I'm pretty sure people are adding new ones faster than that. :) – Bill the Lizard Feb 18 '11 at 20:09

If you see the answers are not relevant for those old questions, you can ask you question stating you have already gone through this old question and found that the answer is irrelevant.

Then, the community will act on your new question and start posting answers if they feel the answer for that old question is really irrelevant. Else your new question will anyway be closed as duplicate ;)


Add a bounty to the old question to bring it back into view and post a comment that you are looking for either:

  1. Confirmation that the answers are still realavent.
  2. New answers that might now exist.

Some things you could try:

  • Research. Have a look at that old answer and read around to see if anything has obviously changed. Google the libraries they use and have a skim of the docs, to see if anything has massively changed. Pay attention to release notes etc that say "now we do such and such", or "such and such a feature has been removed.
  • SO Chat! Prime example of where this is actually exceedingly useful.
  • Try it. Your compiler/interpreter might complain about something if something has fundamentally changed.

In short, it's the same process I think anyone should go through before asking a question: make sure they understand in as much detail what the problem is.

If you get to the end of that process and you've found something that you don't understand or something that looks like it has changed, I don't see why you shouldn't ask.

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