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I recently asked this question because I found answers to previous versions of the question unsatisfactory. I phrased the new question in a way that referred to the old questions and made clear why I was asking again. The answer that I received was better than previous answers and, I believe, would have been considered so by those who posted the old questions.

I stumbled across various versions of the old questions mentioned and I now think that it would be useful for these to refer to my question so that users who encounter the problem are aware of what I think is a better answer.

Is there an established protocol for this situation? Should I comment on the old posts with a link to my own? Or should I let the voting system sort things out naturally?

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In general, such situations should be resolved by suggesting a bounty. That's how the Stack Exchange model has been set up. Understandably not everyone has an investor-mentality nor the reputation to throw at questions they doesn't meet their needs. So, asking a new question might be subject to closure...

Anyway, here are some options (consider OLD to refer to the older question(s), while NEW refers to the newer question):

  1. NEW is similar to, but not a duplicate of, OLD.

    One could refer to these questions as being "related", and therefore post a comment to OLD using the form: Related: <NEW URL>

    This will place a link in the "Linked" portion of the post:

    enter image description here

    There's no need to place Related: <OLD URL> as a comment to NEW, as the link is necessarily established in both directions.

  2. NEW is a duplicate of OLD.

    In this instance, the answers to NEW adds no (new) value to the question and/or is already covered by the answers in OLD.

    Cast a vote to close NEW as a duplicate of OLD. Alternatively, flag for moderator attention, suggesting closure.

  3. NEW is more general than OLD.

    In this instance, answers to NEW cover all of OLD and more.

    I am of the opinion that one could cast a vote to close OLD as a duplicate of NEW and let the community decide whether such a closure is favourable. Perhaps add an explanation (in comment on OLD) why this "reverse closure" is suggestion.

    Those with the privilege to review closures should use this responsibility carefully by examining the two.

  4. Anything else...

    Post a comment using the Related: <NEW URL> to OLD.

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    Moderators can also merge duplicate questions, which allows the new answers to appear with the old questions. – Charles Stewart Sep 16 '15 at 7:13

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