The following old question, probably off-topic by current standards, has attracted a couple of posts which, in my opinion, don't provide an exhaustive enough answer.

What would the more appropriate way to proceed be in this case if I wanted to have more answers and attract more attention to it?

I don't like the idea of placing a bounty given the "poor" content of the question, so I could probably ask a new one providing more details about what I am looking for, citing the current question.

So, what is the best way to go?

  • 1
    Reminder: please don't use Meta to answer main-site questions which are referenced here. Go to the referenced question and write an answer there.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 27, 2018 at 8:53

3 Answers 3


My personal preference for resurrecting old questions like that is to write a new question, referencing the old one, but with your research and specific criteria for a satisfactory answer. You will probably also want to include the usual explanation of why your question isn't a duplicate (your additional/different criteria, reasons why the answers there aren't satisfactory even if they do adequately answer THAT question, and so forth). I especially prefer this approach when, as here, the OP is no longer around to edit the question or accept an answer.

Certainly you could edit the question, and add a bounty to generate greater attention. But without any possible input about your changes from the OP, whose original question was fewer than thirty words including the title, you will likely have changed the question to the point where it's more yours than the OP's. And no matter how great an answer might be generated in this way, it will never get a green check.

If you want to be extra-conscientious, you could ping the (upvoted) answerers of the old question and invite them to answer your new, related-but-different question.


Whether it makes more sense to edit an old question (as Lawrence recommends) or to write a new one (as 1006a suggests) depends on the particular circumstances involved.

If the old question is in danger of closure and your additions are true to its original intent (which is not as difficult to ascertain as some EL&U participants seem to think), I believe that bringing the question up to current standards does everyone involved—and the site as a whole—a service.

If the old question is not in danger of closure, I favor answering it as is, and trusting in the good sense of EL&U site participants not to close a perfectly good question by retroactively imposing anachronistic standards to it. My impression is that people on this site do not ignore new answers to old questions—and good answers receive a surprising number of upvotes over time. The many Necromancer badges (1,659, at this writing) that site participants have received for "answer[ing] a question more than 60 days later with score of 5 or more" support that impression.

A further consideration is the benefit to readers of consolidating answers to the same question in a single place. Anytime an old question has already attracted some reasonably good answers (which is most of the time), answering the old question on the original page is a major convenience for future site visitors, because it keeps the good answers together in one place instead of scattering them across multiple pages. Bear in mind that questions about usage and word or phrase origins often draw multiple useful answers—it's one of the things that distinguishes our subject from subjects in which a given question tends to have only one correct answer.

If I want to answer a question that is tangentially related to the original question but is not closely enough connected to it to justify parking my answer there, I either post a new question that focuses on the issue of interest to me or I give up on my planned answer. Whether the connection between the question I want to investigate and the question that actually exists is sufficiently close to bear critical scrutiny is a judgment call, of course, and it's tempting—very tempting—to try to shoehorn intriguing information into a question that doesn't exactly ask for it. Still, at some point, even I have to admit that material I've dug up belongs somewhere else, or nowhere at all.

  • There's one vote cast in favour of closure, despite the dictionary definition and link which is now included.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 27, 2018 at 20:28
  • @Mari-LouA: Now the counter shows two close votes, although when I voted just now to keep it open, only one close vote was noted on the results page. Meanwhile, the question is 7 years, 4 months old; has 16 upvotes and no downvotes; and has been viewed 179,964 times. The zeal around here to close questions that lots of people care about and may benefit from goes off the rails sometimes.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jul 28, 2018 at 4:24
  • It was not, and it is not my intention to CV the question. If it were put on hold, I’d VTR to reopen it. I think it is just a waste that potential better answers and better research remain unexpressed just because the question was asked years ago the way it was. My issue is, how to best revive a question which, for whatever reason, didn’t get, in my opinion, enough attention. –
    – user 66974
    Jul 29, 2018 at 17:13
  • @user070221: I never doubted that your motive in citing the old question about "jonesing" was merely to illustrate the kind of question you might be interested in highlighting/asking about. I think that the questions you ask in your post above are good questions to ask.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jul 31, 2018 at 6:39

The old question is clear, but it lacks ‘research’. You could add some. The editing would bump the question to the top of the queue, attracting attention and possibly better answers. That’s probably the least invasive method.

The next step would be to add a bounty to the beefed-up question. You can “express what [you’re] looking for” in the bounty’s notice.

If the heart of the question is satisfactory and you just want to add the trimmings to make it a ‘good’ question by today’s EL&U standards, I don’t recommend posting a new question unless your intent is to eventually have the old question closed as a duplicate of your new question. That can be tricky to accomplish and you might end up with your new question closed in favour of the old.

Editing questions to improve them is firmly within the norms and design intent of Stack Exchange.

  • I agree, but the point is that the material presented in the answers is the "base" on which a new question could actually be asked, but that would be a bit "too much" of an improvement to do on the old post.
    – user 66974
    Jul 26, 2018 at 14:13
  • Once you’ve incorporated the old question and its answers, is there more that you’d like to see? If so, then a new question is appropriate.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 26, 2018 at 14:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .