If there is an old question that has received no or inadequate answers, it is likely not going to get an answer without intervention, as it is not appearing high enough on the lists of new or unanswered questions to get the attention of people who may be capable of providing an answer. If someone wants to see a particular question answered, what are the different methods they can use to get it the attention it needs? Is there a way to bump questions up these lists? Are there different methods available for those who are the original poster vs those who aren't? Are there any rules of etiquette that should be adhered to as well?

  • 17
    You could add a bounty to the question. – samcarter Jul 27 '18 at 9:40
  • 5
    The 'official' way would be a bounty as samcarter already mentioned. I guess it would also be OK-ish to edit your own question to bump it up the front page provided the edits are not insignificant (correcting typos and a few commas would be a bit puny), after all a significant edit can make sense, there might be a good reason why the question has not received an answer yet, an edit might remove one of these reasons. If it's not your question, significant edits seem a bit wrong to me. I don't know how many people look at active vs. new questions, so I can't tell you if edit-bumps work at all. – moewe Jul 27 '18 at 10:32
  • 1
    I think it would be fine to re-ask a question if it did not get adequate answers: Link to the old question and explain why and how the answers were inadequate and you should be good. – moewe Jul 27 '18 at 10:42
  • 7
    @moewe -- a new question pointing to an old one with inadequate answers sounds reasonable, but pointing to one with no answers seems to be adding dross to the site. only if the new question explains the problem (perhaps much) more clearly does there seem to be significant value. but in that case, is the original question worth keeping? – barbara beeton Jul 27 '18 at 13:41
  • 1
    @barbarabeeton Agreed. If the old question has no answers, the issue is slightly more tricky. If the new question gives the question a new spin or makes it easier to understand or answer I think it would be OK to close the old question as a duplicate of the new afterwards. – moewe Jul 27 '18 at 13:49
  • 2
    @moewe But that just adds to the list of unanswered questions. If it is really the same question, it shouldn't be duplicated. – cfr Jul 27 '18 at 22:35
  • 1
    @barbarabeeton I agree up to a point. However, if the answers are really inadequate answers to the original question and this question is really a duplicate, deliberately adding a duplicate seems bad. If they are adequate answers to that question but no longer work or don't work for some case somebody needs, that's obviously very different. – cfr Jul 27 '18 at 22:37
  • 5
    This is not a way to 'bump' the question at all, but asking in chat if anybody can answer the question is an option for getting it some attention. – cfr Jul 27 '18 at 22:38
  • 3
    Note that some old questions are not answered because there are no good answers to them. Depending on how questions are phrased, we see questions such that no answer would constitute a satisfactory response, so nobody answers. (Sometimes questions are phrased in a way which rules out the answer, 'cannot be done', for example.) – cfr Jul 27 '18 at 22:39
  • 3
    So to summarise the different options: if there's nothing inherently wrong with the question, the best option is to add a bounty. If there are issues with it, AND it is my own question, then I should edit it to remove those issues, which will both enable people to better answer it and bump it so it can be seen. If there are issues with it, but it's not my question, then it would be poor etiquette to edit it significantly so I should instead just post a new question that is better phrased, and maybe also link to the new question on the old, once it's answered. Does that cover everything? – Ulysses Jul 30 '18 at 6:12
  • @Ulysses I would link to the old question in the new and explain how your question is better/clearer. Probably less likely to get closed as a duplicate. – cfr Aug 26 '18 at 3:35

The right answer would be, as several comments say:

  1. adding a bounty to the question, and

  2. significant improvements to the question (if any exist).

It is questionable what to do with a question that has some answers, and they are all inadequate. It might be best to flag/downvote the answers appropriately, adding a clarifying comment, since the answers are the real culprit, and leave the question as it is.

As opposed to the above, certain actions could go against you in various ways:

  1. making insignificant edits simply for the purpose of bumping, and/or

  2. posting a new, duplicate question (whether it points to the old one or not).

Such actions could potentially be considered as harrassing the community and/or abusing the site, and could hypothetically lead to the community reacting via downvoting, question closing, putting the question on hold, question deletion, etc. Your reputation could suffer. Instead of 3. or 4., it is probably better for you to leave the question as it is or even remove it altogether (if possible) to let the search engines search elsewhere for solutions in the long run.

  • If you do decide to downvote or flag (what flag, though?) an answer, be sure to leave a comment explaining why. Some questions turn out to be XY problems and in that case the question-as-asked (in the title) was not actually the question-as-intended and need not always fit exactly to the answer. In that case a new question that avoids the XY problem and links to the earlier question (possibly mentioning why the solution there is not an option) seems more productive than silently downvoting old answers ... – moewe Aug 8 '18 at 13:50
  • ... which will not significantly encourage other people to add a good answer to an old question because they don't know about the downvote in the first place. – moewe Aug 8 '18 at 13:51
  • @moewe Right. Answer improved. – user49915 Aug 8 '18 at 15:15
  • 1
    harrassment etc. are too strong words for TeX.SE. For SO maybe, for here never the case. For example, we don't downvote that often. We comment a lot. We hardly ever delete any question and so on. – percusse Aug 8 '18 at 21:54
  • @percusse I wouldn't say "never". My impression is "seldom". That's why I wrote "could be considered", not "will be considered". Still, if your perceived reputation is negative, the folks here simply won't answer your questions. There are not too many experts here around anyway: they would know you sooner or later. – user49915 Aug 8 '18 at 21:58
  • you have to work really hard to find an example. Hence virtually never. – percusse Aug 8 '18 at 21:59
  • @percusse I don't have a score high enough to provide a hard proof, but I recall that some ill-posed or off-topic questions were removed by the mods. As for 3. and 4., the community and the mods definitely have a range of hard weapons at their disposal; the fact that these weapons are seldom used nowadays shouldn't promote provocative/unfriendly behavior of users. – user49915 Aug 8 '18 at 22:01
  • @percusse E.g., you can easily flag me for some comments of mine which you perceive as "not nice", and I'm sure you'll find some. Vice versa, I'm sure I could find some of your comments that could be perceived as "not nice". Still, I neither feel any need nor any wish to do it, and I think everyone here feels more-or-less the same. Having said that, still, the technology for handling low-quality content and/or users is readily available here. – user49915 Aug 8 '18 at 22:07
  • That's my point. We don't do that. – percusse Aug 8 '18 at 22:22
  • @percusse Still, this friendliness (or laziness ;-), depending on your viewpoint) should not be abused. But you are right, of course. I used a more mild language in my answer now. – user49915 Aug 8 '18 at 22:27

This might sound strange, but just upvote the existing answers!

If the authors are still around this works remarkably well to trigger an update of outdated answers because many of the users will have a look at their post if they receive an upvote to an very old answer and sometimes within a couple of minutes they will update an outdated post.

Even if this does not work, it certainly is worth a try - you can't lose anything.

  • Certainly works with me in some cases. But usually I will only update questions to user newer (better) interfaces introduced in the meantime and will fix the odd typo or deficiency in an explanation. So if you are unhappy with what the old answer did you will probably be unhappy with the updated version as well, so in that case a comment would be appreciated (you can upvote if the answer is update the your satisfaction afterwards). – moewe Aug 25 '18 at 13:04

You must log in to answer this question.

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