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Arqade is unique in SE in that our subject matter is in constant flux. In they last several years, more and more games come out that patch out old problems and introduce new ones. Despite this, our duplicate policy discourages asking cosmetically similar but fundamentally different questions while ignoring that our normal metrics for controlling qualify are totally subverted when the subject matter changes.

The sad truth is well written questions and answers, that were deservedly up voted and accepted, are rendered obsolete or even flat out wrong by the passage of time. This is, in general, unprecedented in other SE sites. Imagine the problems Physics would have it someone categorically disproved general relativity. Thousands of questions and answers would suddenly be wrong, with established scores that can't be wiped out easily. It would take a massively coordinated effort to fix the site. This kind of thing can happen to Arquade at any time (though admittedly not nearly as far reaching)

Our current metrics for determining quality are the voting system. Ideally, users upvote correct answers and downvote incorrect and/or low quality ones, allowing the cream to rise to the top. This system works wonderfully for static subject matter; the answer is correct today, and it will be right in its essentials a thousand years from now. Games aren't static. Patches change mechanics, close and open loopholes and exploits, expansion packs introduce new level caps, mechanics and content. What was true today may not be true tomorrow or a week from now.

What we need is a VTC/deletion reason to reflect this reality.

Whoa, do we really need to delete content? Yes. The whole mission of Stack Exchange is to ask questions and give answers to make the Internet a better place. Questions and answers that are wrong don't serve that mission, and when community members use their existence to prevent new, valid questions from being asked, they become actively detrimental.

Why not just write your own up to date answer on the old question? Because answering an old established question isn't effective. This is different from answering a new question, where all the answers start at zero. You have to compete against established, possibly accepted answers that are well written and were at some point correct. Correcting the answers requires getting enough views to push the new answer to the top and downvote the old, now incorrect ones. If a past upvoter sees the answer, they answer must be edited before they can change their vote.

That also requires the user to actually KNOW the correct, up-to-date answer, which is by no means a given.

Why not just write a new question? Because the duplicate policy is (correctly) blind to questions of relevance. It doesn't matter that the previous question and its answers aren't helpful anymore, the question has already been asked and answered.

Why not just edit the question/answer to be up to date? Two reasons.

One, like it or not, the gamification of the site deincentivizes comprehensive edits to someone else's questions/ answers. If user B's edit draws more votes to user A's content, user A gets "free" rep. It's easy for high rep users to forget how precious 30 rep is when there aren't any commas in your score.

Two, comprehensive edits violate the edit policy. This is less of an issue for questions, which are much less likely to be rendered false by a patch or update, but it's a minefield for answers. Many outdated answers would need to be completed rewritten to be correct. Editing in a disclaimer that "this answers is incorrect as of patch x.x.x" is simply vandalism, and if you're willing to allow that, just skip a step and delete the thing.

Isnt this exactly what bounties are for? No. You shouldn't be required to place a bounty to get a question answered. Pointing a user at a "duplicate" which is concerned with a game that, for all practical purposes, no longer exists is bad enough. Suggesting they then place a bounty in the vain hope that someone will come along and give them a relevant answer is beyond the pale. And if you find an incorrect answer you want to fix yourself, what are you supposed to do? Award a bounty to yourself? Bounty the question to attract views to your fix and then take it down? Is that really the kind of behavior we want to advocate.

Why not just leave it to the mods? That's not what our mods are for, on this Stack or any other. It isn't their job to determine if a question is factually correct.

What about all the rep? Rep changes are permanent after 60 days.

Ok so what kind of games would this apply to? The proposed VTC reason would ONLY apply to games that cannot be played in previous patches. Games like World of Warcraft and Diablo III can only be played on the latest version, and content about these games would be fair game. Games like The Witcher III and Bloodborne have patches, but can be played on older ones. Content from games like these should stand.

How would the reason read? This question/answer is obsolete. The game in question has since been updated, and this content is incorrect and out of date."

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    Same thing happens over on Stackoverflow with programming questions that become obsolete with new version of languages because new, better ways of doing things are made possible. Those questions are not deleted neither closed and people asking about the same thing in the new version will get their question closed as a duplicate of the older one... happens every day. – Jonathan Drapeau Feb 2 '16 at 20:59
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    @JonathanDrapeau right. Exactly. That's a problem. If you ever find yourself going "this is a duplicate to your question, I don't care that the answers don't help you," the system is BROKEN. – Dallium Feb 2 '16 at 21:02
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    No, the system works well, Stackoverflow is not losing members (arguable) or generating less questions. If there's no answer then you put a bounty on it to attract that needed answer. If you don't want to put a bounty, you wait till someone does or someone answers with an up to date answer. It's not rocket science and that's how the Stack Exchange network works. – Jonathan Drapeau Feb 2 '16 at 21:04
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    @JonathanDrapeau No, it objectively doesn't work. Stop being elitist. – Dallium Feb 2 '16 at 21:14
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    You're the one being elitist thinking you know better than the people running the SE network for years and having put in place those mechanisms. I'm stating that the tools we have to deal with this are fine and enough. – Jonathan Drapeau Feb 2 '16 at 21:29
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    @JonathanDrapeau "You don't deserve to have your question answered if you aren't willing to put up a bounty. It's not MY problem that you have a question that has been asked 3 years ago on a game that changes every 4 months." But I'm the elitist one. – Dallium Feb 2 '16 at 22:20
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    @JonathanDrapeau - SE team are not gods, and the [feature-request] and [support] tags exist to be used, especially if a user has a suggestion to improve the site. Having said that I disagree that we should be deleting old content: it runs counter to the SE community's "update and maintain" ethos. IMO there should be a feature to vote a question as 'outdated and needing revision', kinda like Wikipedia's 'this article requires maintenance' style banners, or a review system of older content so that fresh eyeballs see them and updates can be made. – Robotnik Feb 2 '16 at 22:50
  • @Robotnik I could get behind something like that, but I somewhat doubt it would ever be developed, even if it can be potentially applied to more SE sites than just us. – Trent Hawkins Feb 2 '16 at 23:39
  • @TrentHawkins - Oh, it's a pipe dream to be sure, I'm just saying that in an ideal world something like that would help solve the OPs problem. – Robotnik Feb 2 '16 at 23:42
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    Also related: How should we deal with out of date questions/answers? – Sterno Feb 3 '16 at 3:34
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    I never said your question didn't deserve to be answered, I said your question as already been asked. If you're unwilling to use the tools provided to you, that's, indeed, your problem. – Jonathan Drapeau Feb 3 '16 at 13:33
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I have several problems with this proposal. Both personally, and from a feasibility standpoint (regarding closing questions and deleting answers, respectively).

Let's begin with the deletion of outdated but upvoted answers. The only people who can delete answers with 0 score or greater are moderators. And by only I mean only; 20k users can vote to delete answers with -1 score or lower, and if a post goes through the low quality queue with a verdict of delete with a score of 0 or greater, it is turned over to the mods. In other words, the deletion of outdated and upvoted answers is necessarily in the hands of the mods. There is no way around that, from a technical standpoint. And, since you correctly point out that moderators are not arbitrators of correctness, the deletion of outdated answers becomes impossible. The correct course of action if you should encounter such an answer would be to downvote, leave a comment, hope visitors notice your comment and the timestamp on the answer, and post your own up-to-date answer if you can.

The closure of outdated questions, particularly outdated questions for games that can only be played in the latest official version (World of Warcraft etc) is a little weirder, for me. It is possible to do from a technical standpoint, so we have that, and in fact, it has been done in the case of a few questions like What are Daily Commendations? and Why are droid parts so rare?

I'm not a huge fan of these closures, however, I am not completely opposed to them. These sorts of questions would pretty much fall under the old "Too Localized" close reason that used to be a thing on Stack Exchange, the problem for me is the "used to be" part. The question then becomes "do we want these questions to be off-topic". I don't have an answer to that question, honestly. I think the main issue for me is the fact that out-of-date questions aren't as big of a problem, from my observation, which is why I don't have a strong opinion on closing them.

To conclude, since the deletion of upvoted answers requires moderator action, and moderators are not arbitrators of correctness, the deletion of outdated and upvoted answers is not possible. The closure of outdated answers is possible, however, I have no strong feelings whatsoever about it, mainly because outdated questions that meet the "only latest version" criteria are fairly rare.

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Delete them? Certainly no -- even if the game isn't playable in the patch for which the content is up-to-date, the question still has historical significance.

Close questions that no longer make sense because the game can't be played in the version for which it makes sense? I would be against this. Why should we? What would be the reason? Plus, closing it pushes it to the front page. What would be the reason to push it to front page?

However, there is a huge general SE problem of answering very old questions and earning rep with them (you are unlikely to get enough attention, especially if the top answer has high score), and it feels to be even harsher on Gaming.SE for the reasons you mentioned.

Bounties may work, but not everyone can afford them -- plus, as you mentioned it, you can't award it to yourself.

However, rep isn't the biggest problem. If you answer an old question with an up-to-date info and edit the old answer to reflect that it's old and no longer up-to-date, it will be pushed to front page and get some views.

The biggest problem is that an outdated answer is already accepted, and the asker may even have his account deleted.

  • Accepted answers are a chronic issue across SE. Its never meant to be the best answer, just the one that helped the asker the most. – Frank Feb 10 '17 at 18:26

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