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I was wondering—if we find an old question without an accepted answer, are we allowed to answer? Or should we expect down-votes for that?

I don't know if it's a stupid question but I didn't find anything referring to this matter either in the FAQ's section or in previous questions

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    Erm... Why restrict this query to unanswered questions? What if new posters think they have better answers or useful additional information for old answered questions? I suppose OP may never revisit to reassess in light of changes, but every subsequent visitor has the chance to vote up, no? – FumbleFingers Apr 6 '11 at 2:13
  • If it weren't allowed, why'd it be possible? – rightfold Apr 23 '15 at 11:03
  • @rightfold This is a very old question, I think I was still starting back then. :D – Alenanno Apr 23 '15 at 12:55
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There is nothing wrong with that, quite the opposite. In fact you can even win a nice shiny badge by reviving and answering an old question!

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    @Alenanno, like z7sg said, there's a Necromancer badge for answering an old question. Generally, you can assume that any action/behavior that can earn you a badge is encouraged - they don't make negative badges. – Marthaª Apr 1 '11 at 13:25
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    Hmm, but to earn that elusive Necromancer badge (silver), you need at least five upvotes for any such answer... – Jimi Oke Apr 1 '11 at 22:40
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Indeed, it is OK to answer old questions. And it does not at all matter whether the question has an accepted answer. You should only expect to be voted down if your answer is generally misinforming, inappropriate, or simply not up to accepted standards. Normally, the worst case would be no vote at all.

If you post an answer to a question over sixty days old and you are able to garner five up-votes from that answer, then you will be awarded the silver Necromancer badge. If you fall into the happy situation of being the first to answer a question that is more than thirty days old and you gain two up-votes for this, then you receive the bronze Revival badge, which is even rarer, as most questions get answered within the hour.

Thus, you are encouraged to provide answers to all questions, however old they maybe, and especially if you have a fresh perspective or new insight into the matter at hand. I often dig deep into the site looking for old questions to answer and I recently got rewarded for one such answer. Even then, I had to wait for almost three months for the reward.

In closing, I will point you to this evergreen question. If you feel so inclined, definitely post an answer, and you may well be rewarded for your efforts!

  • Too bad, Albeit was taken – mplungjan Apr 3 '11 at 6:20
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You can always answer a question, even if it has already an accepted answer.

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Excellent! You might also be interested in

https://english.stackexchange.com/review
https://english.stackexchange.com/unanswered/tagged/?tab=votes

In general, I suggest answering any questions, even old ones, that you feel are interesting and can be interesting to others. There is value in answering questions that have nad no recent activity -- this bumps the question naturally, and if I see a good answer, I will always upvote it, regardless of how old the question is.

However, this assumes the original question is interesting enough for me to click on in some way -- if it's a really bad question (title, etc) or an extremely obscure topic. However, this can often be fixed with editing.

Thus, now that we have anonymous and low-rep edit suggestions, I would "punch up" the question as well when answering, to maximize the chances of people seeing both the question and your (excellent, of course) answer.

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