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Old questions: Should you answer them? How old is too old?

  1. Jun 4, 2012 #1
    I just realized I answered a question which was asked two days ago. If it were me, I would have definitely found the answer within that timespan, and the asker may have too. In this case, the answer will probably not benefit the OP, but perhaps it will help if future people have that question.

    How do you decide if a question is too old to be worth responding to?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2012 #2


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    You ought to check "latest activity" of the OP.
    If you find some week-old question from OP, but he's still around today, it moght be worthwhile in answering the question.
  4. Jun 4, 2012 #3


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    Some people also setup notifications for their threads and if they do get a response, they will find out, so unless the thread is like 4 months old, I would still reply :)
  5. Jun 4, 2012 #4


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    Please remember that if the question looks to be for schoolwork, we do not directly answer the questions. We can provide tutorial help, but we do not provide solutions.

    If it's obviously not a schoolwork question, and is in the general technical forums, it's usually okay to answer away... :smile:
  6. Jun 4, 2012 #5
    The question in mind was clearly a schoolwork question, which is why I was questioning the worth of answering a few days later.

    My answer just gave an overall solution pathway with no details.
  7. Jul 25, 2012 #6


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    when i started out here some years ago, i was so hyped, i wanted to answer every question i knew an answer to, and searched back years. I quickly became known as a dumpster diver. On another site i frequent there are actually badges for creative dumpster diving, or "necromancing" as they term it (which i think means raising the dead). You get points if you resurrect a question more than 60 days old and still get 5 positive votes for your answer. (I have 19 necromancer badges.) It was fun for a while, but now that I am up to speed, I don't need to research old questions, as I have already seen most of them. But unless there is a premium on space i see no harm in it. Knowledge is useful forever.
  8. Jul 25, 2012 #7


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    Remember, that you are not just answering the OP. You are helping everyone else who comes along too. PF gets a LOT of Google hits.

    Two days is definitely within the zone. Two years, not so much.
  9. Jul 26, 2012 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    One consideration that members should take into account is that the rules for the site have developed over time. If you're thinking about posting in an old thread have a quick run through to check if the thread would be within the rules if posted now. If not, best to leave it.
  10. Nov 15, 2012 #9
    I second that! I shall try to answer the questions for which I feel that I have a good answer, regardless of posting time. Provided they are generally useful (meaning that someone could have a similar problem in future)
  11. Nov 15, 2012 #10


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    Or, you can just sit tight, and wait, because inevitably, the same question will pop up again soon enough!

  12. Nov 15, 2012 #11


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    How long do you have to wait to answer before you can get necromancer points?

    (Just curious, for no particular reason, but is three months long enough?)
  13. Nov 16, 2012 #12


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    You could send a private message to the OP to see if the OP is still waiting for an answer.
  14. Nov 16, 2012 #13


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    Just be sure that you do not give answers to homework!! no matter how old the thread is, answers are not allowed, as the same problems could come up. The the answers should help guide a member, not spoon feed them.
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