Plenty of the questions on this site are such that the correct answer changes over time. A typical example of this is the acceptance of credit cards as a means of payment in certain countries. We may often have a case where there exists an old question (which got good answers at the time of it's writing) which unfortunately now (a few years or months down the road) are no longer accurate or true or convincing enough for someone and they ask themselves "what is it like now?".

  • The gold-way to do this would be to place a bounty on the old question asking for more recent answers.
  • Alternatively (especially new users without much rep to share or knowledge of how the site is intended to work) might ask a new question.

The first case happened for CC-acceptance in Germany while for the case of Japan we are having this new hot question even though there is basically the same question a mere one year old.

Now a lot of things could or should have happened:

  • The new Japan question could or should have been closed as a dupe of the old one. There is not a single such vote however even though the older question has been linked in a comment from the beginning. In this case the new OP however would not have gotten their desired information even though we have it readily available.
  • Since by now we have a newer question on CC-acceptance in Japan, should the older one be closed as a dupe of the newer one, to direct users finding us from the deep of the web, to the most updated information?
  • In the case of Germany / the bounty, the accepted answer still is an old one as the OP has never bothered to come back and accept another answer and the most-upvoted recent answer is on the third place and thus hardly seen by any visitor to the Q. (Disclaimer: that answer is mine.) Another problem here is that the question at the time was hot (it appears), so that even with a community effort to up-/downvote recent/outdated answers, more recent answers will always be less visible.

My question now is what is the best approach to similar questions? as well as which of the above approaches is right or wrong? and should action be taken on those examples mentioned?

I am aware that there is not a simple bar an easy solution, and I am also aware that I am touching a Pandora's box about duplicates, but I nevertheless feel the need to discuss this.

  • 2
    FWIW, I don't think the Japan questions are dupes. Amex is an edge case with very spotty acceptance / coverage, even in countries where they are "generally" accepted e.g. UK. In short I'd consider Amex to be a special subset of credit cards worth of its own question. The "credit cards" question is more about card payment acceptance (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, UnionPay, debit cards, prepaid cards, Amex and so on).
    – Ankur Banerjee Mod
    Aug 31 '16 at 16:17
  • That is a good point, @AnkurBanerjee, do you think it also invalidates the more general questions I am asking?
    – mts
    Aug 31 '16 at 16:17
  • Diners Club cards fall into the same category as Amex but they seem to be a lot rarer. Sep 1 '16 at 14:34

Bring attention to the old question. We don't need historic artefacts by any principle.

What I do is vote down any answers which have become wrong and add a comment to say so and maybe how I know so.

If that answerer is still active they may update their answer and then I will vote it up again. If they are no longer active the downvote will help the now wrong answer sink so that any new, right answers can rise to the top.

If this alone does not get enough new attention to the question, or if you want to ensure more urgent attention, then add a bounty. It feels good!

(I shall now go back and read the long body of the question in its entirety...)

Apologies for being a slow reader.

In principle when a new question does get asked because the old answers are stale I do agree it should be closed as a dupe. Somebody closevoting should comment that this is policy, that new answers should follow, that old answers should get updated, and that it's acceptable to downvote any answers that are no longer correct.

Now when it happens that a newer dupe gets useful activity before it is closed as a dupe, that presents more of a problem.

In principle I dislike closing old questions as duplicates of new questions but it has certainly been done before. I suggest some of us interested look into that case on SE meta.

Wasn't there a way to actually merge questions back in the day? That brought the answers from the duplicate over to the original question? Is there still a way to do this or is it all in my imagination?

  • 2
    That is a good answer but you see yourself that you are raising even more questions ;) Also, there is only so much that can be done to vote correct old Qs and in some cases I find it hopeless and would rather close the old one as it would make life easier and the world a better place, but is against SE policy.
    – mts
    Sep 1 '16 at 15:20
  • Is it against SE policy? Can you post a source on that? I know it's been discussed multiple times over the years. Sep 1 '16 at 16:41
  • 2
    ahem, that's what I assumed. I have no source tbh and currently not the time to research one. That makes for another open question!
    – mts
    Sep 1 '16 at 16:48

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