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When a user finds an old unanswered question that refers to a problem he/she currently has, at what point is it acceptable to open a new question?

Although this may be duplication of sorts, I can see a few situations where this might be necessary, for example if the original asker did not supply sufficient information and has since abandoned the question, (or even left the site).

Thoughts?

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    You can offer bounties to renew interest in an old, unanswered question, or suggest an edit that significantly improves it (so it appears on the front page). – Daniel Beck Dec 23 '11 at 17:39
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I think that's good enough reason there. If you are experiencing the same issue as another user, but their question is written horribly, and can't be resurrected by editing, then you should make your own question. Optionally, you may want to link to the other one, so that if the user searches his question and finds yours, he/she may find the answer too

Having said that, direct copy-paste questions should be avoided

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You should open a new question if your problem is different from the existing question. If you're aware of similar existing questions, it's a good idea to mention them in your own question and briefly explain why they don't help you (e.g. highlight a different symptom).

There's an edge case where the existing question is a troubleshooting question with too little detail to get helpful answers. If you're going to stick around and answer requests for further information, and the existing question looks abandoned, I think it's best to ask a new question, and mention that the existing question may or may not be about the same problem but it has too little information to tell. Furthermore, such a situation is an indication that the older question should be closed as “not a real question” (if it is too vague or incomplete to be meaningfully answered).

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