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This is perhaps a concern largely unique to questions about MMO's, and other multiplayer games that see major game-balance patches released on a regular basis, but how should we address content contained on the site that is, by being out-of-date, no longer correct?

For example, this World of Warcraft question, and it's resulting answers are entirely premised upon mechanics that have just changed radically, and anyone attempting to follow the advice presented is going to be steered very wrong as a result. This isn't a case where a 'close as too localized' seems appropriate - if we go down that route, any question about MMO's or games with frequent balance patches (I seem to recall SC II just got a major one) become fundamentally off-topic, which is clearly not a desirable way to resolve this.

Should we simply retag these questions as [Out-Of-Date] until/if a corrected or updated answer is provided and accepted? Or is there some other solution that I'm missing?

  • Maybe we could move them to the wiki? – GnomeSlice Oct 20 '10 at 12:51
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    @Gnome I'm not sure how "being outdated" constitutes a good reason to have the community take over a question or answer. – Grace Note Oct 20 '10 at 14:03
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  • If the question still makes sense after the patch, edit this into the answers.
  • If the question no longer makes sense after the patch, edit this into the question.

Warning!

This was valid for version foo.bar of the game. Patch spam has however changed the way eggs and bacon frooble.

(edit the correct values in...)

↑ I no longer agree with this

In either case, revisions show in the owner's notification bar. This is a good enough prompt for them to update the answer.

This will, however, bump old questions to the top. That's not awesome...

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    Darn, I loved the way the eggs and bacon froobled in the old version. – Kevin Yap Oct 21 '10 at 2:32
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I'll begin by stating that I don't believe we should use tags for book-keeping purposes. Tags are intended to help categorize what people are looking for to find the questions that have their answers. The problem with book-keeping tags is that unlike the categorical tags we use for identifying questions, these are only meant to last until the problem is solved. Tags are traditionally permanent and changes to tags are typically done because of incorrect tagging as opposed to a changing status of the question. This is a similar reason as to why [upcoming-games] is not a good tag, since what constitutes an upcoming game changes as games become released or advertised. Another issue is that adding a book-keeping tag typically doubles the necessary number of revisions.


The better course of action for book-keeping is to alert the appropriate people. In the scenario of out-of-date information, you want to alert the people with the out-of-date information - the post authors. Fastest and cleanest way is a comment, which won't bump the question but will still alert the author. If you're in chat or otherwise in communication with other users, also consider requesting comment upvotes in order to ensure that it is immediately visible.

As mentioned by badp's answer, you can also opt to edit in the fact the information is out of date. This bumps the question, which means that new eyes can see it, recognize the out-of-date information, and possibly provide updates themselves.

Which highlights the remaining course of action, which is skipping the book-keeping and just administering the corrections yourself. If you know the new information yourself, you needn't always have to wait for the existing content to be updated. The Necromancer badge doesn't just reward people who target questions which have decayed in obscurity, but also rewards people who provide a more up-to-date answer to an old and/or formerly solved question. Of course, providing up-to-date answers is mostly applicable when the question still makes sense post-update, which is also noted by badp.

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    We do have one book-keeping tag, [untagged], but that's created mechanically in the case that no tags at all exist. So it's a bit necessary for that scenario. Most any other scenario has a much better alternative (flagging, voting to close, just downvoting, or writing comments) than tagging. But there needs to be at least one tag. – Grace Note Oct 20 '10 at 13:26
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The 'standard' such as it seems to exist across other SE Sites, as I understand it, is as follows:

If the question is no longer relevant or no longer makes sense, (i.e. asking about a game mechanic that has been removed) it should be CLOSED as **Too Localized*.

If the question is still relevant, but in some way no longer accurate, it should be edited to reflect the current reality. Answers can then be edited, or a new answer written as needed.

If the question is abandoned, and the accepted answer is inaccurate and it is unlikely for the accept to be moved, editing it to add a disclaimer notifying readers about that fact and pointing them to a newer answer is considered the Right Thing To Do.

I personally see no problem with this method, and don't see any reason that we need any sort of special mechanics to revoke acceptance or any such beyond the tools we already have.

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