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I'm seeing newer users occasionally posting answers to old questions that have already been marked as answered. I'm thinking of this particular example. It was asked and answered last year, but was now bumped to the front page by another answer posted by a newer user.

This seems to encourage clutter, and as the question was long deemed answered, seems to serve no purpose. Is there something in place that can be done to discourage this kind of activity? Or should it be?

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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Remember, this isn't a web forum discussing the news of the day. Contributions are intended to not only help the OP, but anyone with the same or similar problem (that's why we like more general questions better, in general, than specific ones). Obsolete topics are deleted, everything else always benefits from new information or alternative ways to achieve a goal. There are also several badges for answering questions late and getting upvotes (Revival, Necromancer), as well for editing old posts (Excavator, Archaeologist). – Daniel Beck Feb 28 '12 at 21:00
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    When you review these answers, and you'll find a "I know this is an old thread, but here's my answer …", just delete it. Imagine you're a random visitor – would you care about that? At least I, when browsing for help, always try to read all answers, regardless of when they were posted. – slhck Feb 28 '12 at 21:39
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What, exactly, is wrong with that answer?

There's no reason to close off questions to new answers. New information might come along. Someone might have a more elegant solution. Things might change, rendering the old answer obsolete.

If a question is getting way too many low-quality answers, it can be protected, which prevents users with <10 rep from answering it. This can be done by mods, users with 15k+ rep, and by the Community user automatically when a post exceeds 3 deleted answers by users with <10 rep.

If you think a question is getting too many bad, late answers, by all means flag it for protection, but in this specific example, it was a valid contribution. There's nothing inherently wrong with late answers.

If you want to help curate the quality of answers to already-solved questions, check out the Late Answers tab in /review.

  • I suppose I felt that, with a Q&A type of discussion (at least on a site like this one), once something has been answered, then there's no need to add new answers. Especially since doing this will bump old questions to the front page when new unanswered questions may end up getting pushed down. I suppose that's what the "Unanswered", etc tabs at the top are for, though... – Ben Richards Feb 28 '12 at 20:59
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    I can see why you might think that @sidran32, but remember: we want the best possible answer to that question, so that even if the person who originally asked it is long gone, future visitors with the same problem can get if solved quickly and easily. – nhinkle Feb 28 '12 at 21:17
  • That makes a lot of sense. – Ben Richards Feb 28 '12 at 21:20
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    15k users can protect questions, not just 20k users. – kiamlaluno Mar 3 '12 at 17:50
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There is nothing wrong with this system and in fact is encouraged. If an answer comes along that absolutely answers the question, doesn't matter when it was asked, why shouldn't they be allowed to offer their answer?

If it means that a question with an accepted answer is no longer helpful to anybody else, case closed, nothing to see here, and that others should not bother posting competing or conflicting answers, that question would qualify as too localised.

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