15

It is a given that, with time, questions and answers will become out dated. Good answers will not always apply to future patches, and questions may concern issues that simply do not exist in newer patches.

I have been linked to a few meta posts regarding the appropriate action. The consensus here is that out of date answers should be edited to be up to date.

The same mod has answered a similar question, showing a markdown method to keep the original authors intent, but since has steered towards "leave a comment, alert the author" and "post your own, up to date answer".

There is another similar question, however it does not appear to have had as much traffic, and the accepted answer appears to be a reference to the first question.

This is where my question comes in. Is it appropriate to add completely new content to a question, where there is a new solution due to newer changes to the game?

What defines the difference between updating an answer to be current, and going against the authors intent?

  • 1
    See: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/181513/… for the Q/A that gave rise to this question – Aequitas Aug 4 '15 at 1:12
  • 1
    Also things like this where a comment is left which adds to the answer, I think it should be edited into the answer, as a visitor is far less likely to read a comment. – Aequitas Aug 4 '15 at 4:06
  • Another thing I agree on, but have been told previously is not appropriate on arqade. If its my answer I usually put in "<username> also reports that.. " – user106385 Aug 4 '15 at 4:34
  • yeh it's a different thing altogether if the users are active and change things to suit, but this is not always (rarely) the case. So as a community we should be working to improve all the answers on this site and thus the site itself – Aequitas Aug 4 '15 at 4:40
  • 4
    This recent network-wide meta question looks very relevant here. – murgatroid99 Aug 4 '15 at 14:40
  • @murgatroid99 Thank you, I was looking for that link. Support for legacy is important too. I wonder if OP even knows what legacy means in this context. – ydobonebi Aug 5 '15 at 3:53
  • Something I had already seen, @murgatroid99. Someone posted the same link in one of the questions I linked too. A really great solution, but its answer relates to a feature that has not been implemented, yet. Or atleast, is still in its suggestion phase. – user106385 Aug 5 '15 at 23:51
8

Answers are our bread and butter. They're the whole reason the site exists. We also provide our strongest rewards for answers: 10 whole rep per upvote, along with perhaps an accept.

There's lots of incentive for answering a question. In fact, that's our heaviest moderation task; sorting the chaff from the wheat. We get plenty of contributions, but not all that many of them are very useful.

Which leads me to my suggestion:

If an answer is out of date, post your own, up-to-date answer. We're kind of making a mountain out of a molehill here. Unless the update is incredibly minor, such as the UI was updated to move the button or something, the process is straightforward, and has several advantages of doing so:

  1. The question now has an up-to-date answer, and can help (potentially) many readers.
  2. You get rep for doing so, which will reinforce the whole cycle nicely.
  3. More importantly, the original answerer won't get more rep (or, at least, not as much. Accepted answers tend to garner additional drive-bys.).

At the end of the day, whoever has answered a question has tried to add some useful content, and with games continually updating, still has a useful answer for an older version of the game. As time passes, the answerer may not even play the game anymore, and may not even be able to keep the answer up to date. It seems counter productive to reward them some more because they happened to be the first or accepted answer.

The SE network tends to have a self-reinforcing cycle for this behaviour. We're in a bit of an edge case, as most of what we play can exist in multiple versions, and every answer potentially has some utility to a fraction of the playerbase.

The one issue we run into for this, though, is for MMOs and online games; these are games where you can't play older versions. It's the latest, or you're not playing. This is where the M.SE feature for obsolete answers would come in handy, but until then, the steps would be generally the same, except add one more to the end:

  1. Downvote the old answer, and comment that it's now out-of-date, and doesn't work anymore.

Depending on how old the answer is, it might even be eligible for deletion; the answerer got their rep from helping, but without keeping it up to date, it's no longer a useful answer. But the rep won't go away, and deleting those old answers keeps the site much cleaner.

But deletion only applies in those cases where the answer is completely obsolete; MMOs and other online games that require specific versions.

  • Thank you. I was crafting an answer to say just this. The only thing I would add is we have two Suggested Edit rejection reasons for edits that change the post: 1. clearly conflicts with author's intent This edit deviates from the original intent of the post. Even edits that must make drastic changes should strive to preserve the goals of the post's owner., and 2. attempt to reply: This edit was intended to address the author of the post and makes no sense as an edit. It should have been written as a comment or an answer. – Robotnik Aug 6 '15 at 4:16
  • I'm encountering the same exact issue here, except that I had originally upvoted the answer that is now out of date. So, I can't downvote it until someone edits it... and any edit that I could possibly suggest will be rejected on review (and have had one rejected already). So, there's still some weakness with this path. – Ellesedil May 11 '16 at 21:02
4

It depends. Yes, posting your own answer gives you more reputation (any reputation for users above 2k). But that's not really why we're here, no? We're here to provide expertise on a subject, not just to earn imaginary internet points.

With this in mind, it absolutely depends on what the edit entails. Remember the actual text of the "radical change" suggested edit rejection criteria: "Clearly conflicts with author intent". To me, this implies that an edit should be rejected under this criterion if it unambiguously conflicts with the intended meaning of the post: If your edit changes an answer's meaning entirely, for example, changing an outdated no to an updated yes, it should be a new answer. If your edit is describing a wholly new process by which a user can accomplish what they are asking about, then it should be a new answer.

But if you are merely updating basic information in an answer, or adding some minor information to an answer that is now incomplete after an update, that is absolutely acceptable. It doesn't do us any good to have 3 separate answers saying roughly the same thing because some of the details may have changed slightly.

Edits are not and should not be just for the express purpose of fixing grammatical and spelling errors, especially here on Arqade, where details are often subject to change on a monthly basis. We should be fixing minor details, where it doesn't clearly conflict with the author's intent, and posting new answers in cases where the original answer no longer applies.

2

Having recently updated one of my own answers and also having stumbled upon this post, I feel compelled to give my two cents on the issue.

Some backstory: I noticed an old answer of mine having received some upvotes and also a bounty prizing my contribution. When I checked the answer, despite still valid, misses some mechanics that were added a long time after posting the answer. For completeness' sake, I updated the answer.

The answer itself is phrased as a reference list, which makes updating its content relevant. Being the original author, that gives me the responsibility to care for the answer I posted, which is why one of the suggestions when handling obsolete posts is to inform the author. Who better knows what to change, add or remove, than the human who wrote the text in the first place?

Now, authors eventually stop paying attention to their posts. When this happens, it means the responsibility of keeping the posts on-par with the current state of the topic relies on the community and hence the problem of changing an author's intent.

Since there are several kinds of answers, it might be hard to not modify an author's intent when editing (in short, there's no one rule to edit them all).

  • For a reference answer, where most or all of the text is comprised of references to sources, it may be easy to edit the answer while updating the content.
  • For more textual answers (descriptions of mechanics, strategies or walkthroughs) it may be hard to modify the answer while reflecting newer content. This is due in my opinion to two factors: the usefulness of older strategies for historical or game version related reasons and the difficulty of analyzing the content of the answer (a strategy in v1.0 might be 90% effective but in v1.1 it might be 80%, which doesn't invalidate it).

There is also one relevant factor in play here: reputation. Editing while under 2000 reputation gives +2 if the edit is accepted. And a good edit might give a lot of upvotes to what would be a poor post. This has happened to me on Superuser, where I formated an answer that later went on to get more than 50 upvotes. If an edit to what is an outdated post is substantial, it might be more beneficial to create a new answer, thereby preserving the older answer for anyone interested in it, while contributing with an up-to-date answer.

In short, when dealing with outdated posts:

  • Inform the author of needed changes and allow for some time to happen.
  • If the author does nothing in some time:
    • If the edits reflect on short (new) references, add them, indicating when they stopped working.
    • If the edits are substantial, write a new answer.

Is it appropriate to add completely new content to a question, where there is a new solution due to newer changes to the game?

Answering your question, it depends on the kind of answer you are editing. In my opinion and as you phrased it (assuming that the solution is substancial), add the new solution as an answer. If the older solution isn't invalidated, leave it be . In any case, feel free to indicate whether an answer has a more efficient solution or if it has been invalidated (as a comment or, in last resort, as an edit indicating an up-to-date answer).

-2

Changing an existing answer is a tricky and even dangerous thing with regards to old questions. In the case of games, you can never assume everybody is using the latest and greatest version. I know people who still play MC 1.2 and 1.4

At the same time, new information exists and a new answer therefore exists. Where, then, do we put this?

Scenario 1: Original answer-er comes in and updates their answer, preferably using some chronological meter.

As of version 0.2
.
.
.
As of version 0.1
.
.
.
etc.

Sadly, not everybody on the site bother keeping track of old answers, and frankly who has the time? Especially when everybody else can do if for you.


Scenario 2: Somebody else updates answer with new information, likewise keeping older answer(s) in chronological order.

In this case, the top answer and accepted answer is still seen as such, and now has the correct/updated information. Good?

It seems the main reasoning behind this is a top answer should always be the only correct answer because it is the top answer. (or replace top with accepted, you get the same meaning).


Scenario 3: You make your own answer with the current information.

What happens next? The original top answer get downvoted over time and your answer, assuming it is the new correct answer and well written, becomes upvoted and the new top answer.

Naturally, this could take time, but I have seen it happen. On my older account where I was using the original SO almost since its start I have an answer that has something close 5k downvotes because it is no longer the correct answer and I was too lazy to update it (actually, I went to update it one day and notice that) It had originally received over 2k upvotes when I stopped noticing or caring. A new answer was given, and was now the top answer. My answer was also the accepted answer.


So the real question is what is the preferred method?

For me it really is a matter of context. If I can say that at least 98% of the players are using the updated version then the original answer is merely historical. If the game is still widely used then I would create a new answer because people would still be looking for a solution.

If the game is outdated but the answer was even more outdated then I would update the original accepted answer (or highest voted) because a new answer would be unlikely to get any attention.

In either case if the original answer-er returns they can do what they want with their answer. But if the game is still played and the original answer is updated, then I see no reason to post a new answer or even edit in an answer.

  • 1
    While I agree that this is how things should be handled (I'd also like to point to the bounty system, which has a specific use for calling out outdated answers), it doesn't help with the question that sparked this meta. The change that has invalidated my answer there was done on the Minecraft website. The entire answer is just not useful to anyone any more, it's not even a 98% thing. A button was implemented, and afaik works for every single Minecraft version that supports skins (it definitely works for all versions my workaround worked for). – MrLemon Aug 4 '15 at 18:02
  • Correct, in this case the old answer is outdated and in fact obsolete. However the problem itself is not outdated. People still wonder how to reset their skin. Therefore under my own reasoning, I would create a new answer as it would still be searched for and found thus allowing a new top answer (unless of course the original answer-er updates it themselves). So yeah, in this case editing the original post was unnecessary. Just create a new answer. – ydobonebi Aug 4 '15 at 22:47
  • This appears to be the same answer other users have given.. I also don't agree with adding multiple answers to cover different versions. We should assume users are using the current version. The only reason I could see the user being unable to update would be having a pirated or illegal copy of the game, in the first place, and games like the one in question are updated by the game, itself, before users can log in. – user106385 Aug 4 '15 at 23:11
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    @Timelord64 Then you are not very experience in gaming. I didn't update my Diablo 2 game in the past, for example, because they nerfed my necromancer and I didn't want to play with the updated version. And you should go and read the comments on the YT video about the new version of Minecraft....a lot of the comments are people saying they will refuse to update for a variety of (imo, stupid) reasons. Somepeople play offline and don't have time or care to update. Others are not allowed to update due to comptuer restrictions and I could list about 20 other reasons a person would not be updated. – ydobonebi Aug 4 '15 at 23:16
  • And in the software industry, you NEVER assume people are using the most up to date reason. For example, when they announced WinXP would no longer receive support many people were furisous. Current version at the time? Windows 7 (they extend the support time frame). NEVER assume people are using the most up to date just because YOU think they do. As for hacking/cracked versions...I always cracked the latest version myself (when I used to do that stuff) because ME, I do like using the most up to date version....but not everybody. – ydobonebi Aug 4 '15 at 23:19
  • Trust me, @ydobonebi, I likely have more experience with gaming then you. But to clarify, you can update, you just refuse too. We do not post answers for the individual. We post it for the masses. While I have no problem with posting an answer with different versions, we should not be expecting it. Take diablo 2, for example. There are over 20 different versions. Under your logic, each answer should have 20 different versions, in case those few users out there do not want to update from the original patch. – user106385 Aug 4 '15 at 23:24
  • My whole point is that you provide answer for the masses. Not everybody updates so destroying an outdated answer is foolish. I would concede if it's obsolete then sure. In the case of the question were talking about, the answer should be edited by the original poster ideally. Otherwise create a new answer. But this isn't a game related topic because the solution lies outside of the game. Also, most people hate change, that's a fact of psychology so assuming majority update, no. And by the way, I've been gaming long before you were born and probably own and have owned more games than you son. – ydobonebi Aug 4 '15 at 23:33
  • @Timelord64 Btw, if you actually read what I wrote, you'd realize I actually agreed with you entirely. Just sayin'. And yes, where an update isn't required there should be a track list of answers related to version. People DO STILL play MC 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 In fact I could find you 3 LP series currently being played in those versions (vanilla, not modded). Personally I do update most of the time. I'm already playing the newest snapshot of Minecraft and have been playing Everquest Next long before it was a public beta and long before most even knew it was being made. – ydobonebi Aug 4 '15 at 23:50
  • @Timelord64 which if you read my post, and my comments, you'd see that I agree that a new post and not an edit should happen. Essentially I completely agreed with you. – ydobonebi Aug 5 '15 at 23:59
-2

I disagree with the other answers. It really depends on what sort of editing you are doing.

TL;DR Edit if you're just updating old information, post a new answer if you're adding content.


I believe edits should be used if you are updating the existing, obselete information. You're not adding anything; just updating. Look at the below example:

Q: [Minecraft] How can I make a golden apple?

A: You can make an 'enchanted golden apple' with one apple surrounded by 8 gold blocks.

For a normal golden apple, you need to surround the apple in gold nuggets, which are dropped by Zombie Pigmen. However, this is less powerful than the enchanted version.

As of version 1.6.1, normal golden apples are created by surrounding an apple with 8 gold ingots.

[please note the history of golden apples has been simplified]

This is a good edit as it updates the answer to the current version of the game without adding any additional unnecessary content. Any new content that you add yourself is going against the author's intent.


However, if you are adding new content (such as a new strategy/procedure, or correcting the answer since it is wrong) it should be posted as a new answer.

Take the previous example; if I were to add that chickens now drop golden poop [they do not, ignore this example] and explained how to turn this into ingots (hence into golden apples), this would be a bad edit since it adds new content to the answer, which goes against the original intent of the answerer.

Anyway, posting a new answer will give you more rep than simply editing the existing answer, so you've got nothing to lose.


So really, it depends what your edit is. Avoid overwriting the original post, but make sure that it is up to date.

If your new answer is up against a highly-voted answer which is out of date, edit in a notice stating that this content is out of date as of version X.X to make users read on.

Also, remember to never edit completely incorrect answers to be correct. A question in the Meta.SE FAQ has already decided that incorrect content should not be edited to be correct.

  • 2
    No. Corrections are exactly what you should not be doing. – Frank Aug 4 '15 at 12:18
  • @Frank I think I used the term 'correcting' wrongly. I really meant 'correct out of date answers so they are up to date'. I know it is a decided policy that wrong answers should not be edited or flagged; only updated. I have updated my answer to make this more clear. – angussidney Aug 6 '15 at 11:46
-3

I think it's best to edit the information into the answer.

One option is to add an answer with the new information. This is only good if the Question asker, changes the accepted answer. This is unlikely to happen though. So the problem is that the new (up to date) answer will be below the outdated (possibly incorrect) answer.

This means that visitors to the site coming from a search engine with the same question will first see the old accepted answer and then be given incorrect/outdated information. It's unlikely that they will go through all the answers before leaving, having been disappointed by the quality of our answers, this, I think, is bad for the site's reputation.

This is evident by this answer where a user added another answer likely because they did not find the information already in the top answer.

If new information becomes available then it should be added to an already accepted good answer. This allows for the best answer delivered to future visitors in the shortest amount of time.

The point is to give the best possible answer to questions, if we need to edit in more information then what's wrong with that?

As to the argument that it's "going against the OP's intention", I don't think that it is because they did not know about the new information at the time they posted. I would not mind people changing my answer so that it continues to be up to date and relevant. It means that the answer will provide even better information to anyone looking to answer a question.

This I think will also discourage downvoting of a good answer that has become outdated in an attempt to change visibility.

  • 2
    Edits should only be used to clarify meaning or update old info. For example, if the answer on changing the skin was originally "go here and edit your profile", and you update is "go there instead and update your profile", it should be an edit. If instead you're adding "Don't bother going there, you can do this from the launcher", it should be a separate answer. For example, here - The answer with 25 upvotes was first, and the original accepted answer. I added a new answer once Silk Touch was added to Minecraft. – Robotnik Aug 4 '15 at 7:20
  • @Robotnik your example doesn't hold up because I already stated that that would be the ideal case however it's far more likely that the question OP would not go back and change the accepted answer. With the reset skin question, the updated answer has been out for nearly a year. Before someone edited the question bringing it to the light. I don't think the answer would ever have been accepted and I don't think it makes sense to wait a certain time either before editing in the information. I don't think it's beneficial to not make the best, most up to date and visible answer possible. – Aequitas Aug 4 '15 at 7:54
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    Question acceptance is a trivial thing and is only of use to the OP - votes are what matter the most. We should not be too worried about whether the answer is accepted or not, instead we should be focusing our efforts on upvoting correct content, and unvoting/downvoting obsolete or out-of-date info. Whether or not my answer was accepted or not is not the point here, the point is that we should add new answers instead of completely changing the meaning of old ones – Robotnik Aug 4 '15 at 9:27
  • @Robotnik, if the old answer is still valid, albeit not the easiest way, should it be included in the new answer, or simply ignored? – user106385 Aug 4 '15 at 11:20
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    @Timelord - you should just reference the other answer(s) if that's the case. Something like "Timelord's answer will work, but an easier method is to a,b,c" – Robotnik Aug 4 '15 at 11:27
-5

Outdated answers without any possible use are bad and should not exist

Ideally, we want users that come to this site to find an answer to a question, to find the best answer immediately, right on top, accepted and/or highly upvoted.

However, this does not mean that the entirety of an answer should be changed in order to turn it into the correct answer. For example, take a look at the answer currently in question, as it stood before the updates:

Simple Fix

You can get the Steve Skin on Minecraft.net

  1. Log in, go to Profile
  2. Download the reference skin
  3. Upload the reference skin

In this case you will have a Steve skin.

Problems

Uploading the reference skin still counts as there being a skin, because, well, it is there. The problem here is that skins uploaded to the skin server take precedence over skins included in Resource Packs (e.g. the default skin in Sphax PureBDCraft).

Unfortunately there's no way to remove the skin from the skin-server completely.

At the time, it was a good answer, presenting a semi-decent workaround to the issue. It garnered upvotes and was accepted by the OP. At some point after this answer was posted, this workaround was made completely obsolete for anyone (by a change on the Minecraft website, not a game or even launcher patch!). This makes everything written in it utterly useless. It has no redeeming qualities. Really, no one needs the information in this answer any more, and it is very highly unlikely that anyone in the future will.

That said, it is obvious that this information should not be there in the first place, and current information should be added. This would turn the answer into:

You can reset the skin on Minecraft.net

  1. Log in, go to Profile
  2. Scroll down to "Reset your skin"
  3. Press the "Reset" button

In this case you will have a Steve/Alex skin.

That's not an edit, it's a re-write, and should not be done, no matter how useful it would make the answer again.

Coming back to my title, outdated answers without any possible use are bad and should not exist. In my opinion, the single best solution in this case is to delete the answer. The only reason I have not yet deleted this answer is because I can't, since it's the accepted answer.

  • Part of the issue is this sites mantra. THey favor great answers for great questions only... and they care not at all who wrote the question or the answer. But to that point they should then make it so there is only ever 1 answer to any question, taking the best answers and merging them and updating them. This is the same site that once apon a time wouldn't even let me see answers unless I paid my penance first. – ydobonebi Aug 4 '15 at 22:51
  • @ydobonebi - "They favor great answers for great questions only... and they care not at all who wrote the question or the answer Terrible questions can have great answers too, it just doesn't happen often. "...they should then make it so there is only ever 1 answer to any question, taking the best answers and merging them and updating them" This is called Community Wiki, and has fallen out of favour in recent times, with a focus on having different answers being voted upon based on their usefulness rather than an all-encompassing one. – Robotnik Aug 6 '15 at 1:42
  • "This is the same site that once apon a time wouldn't even let me see answers unless I paid my penance first." - What? We have never restricted questions or answers on this site at all - even anonymous users and users with 1 rep can post questions and answers. The only restriction to this is if a user posts too many low quality questions/answers, they may be restricted from posting for a while (or until they improve their current Q&As) – Robotnik Aug 6 '15 at 1:45
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    @Robotnik I believe he's referring to his answer here, where constructive criticism led to what looked like a ragequit, but turned out to be a username change. Not sure I'd really call that penance, more like passive aggressive behaviour. – Frank Aug 6 '15 at 3:59
  • @Frank - Ah ok, that makes sense. – Robotnik Aug 6 '15 at 4:13

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