Sometimes when answering or reviewing questions on Ask Ubuntu I can find a duplicate question to some degree, but the proposed duplicate question is very old and its main accepted answer is for a completely different version of the software.

A good example is a question is asked about how to do something basic like manage a keyring. There are existing questions with answers for Gnome 2 and sometimes there are answers in those questions about Gnome 3, because the OP never specified what version of Gnome they were using, despite it being asked before Gnome 3 existed.

Assuming that the correct answer is that the new question is Gnome 3 specific and deserves it's own set of answers, does this also mean that the old question with Gnome 3 answers to a Gnome 2 question should be removed or considered off-topic?

EDIT Here is the Gnome 2 keyring example:

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    Why should the old question be removed? People do still use GNOME 2 and its derivatives. And as you said, people have answered the old keyring question with updated answers. That's how it's supposed to work. It would get kind of messy having a different Q&A for each applicable version of some software. If all the answers are in one place, and they say which version they're for, it's much easier to link someone to that post than to ask for which version they're using and then properly link. Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 12:50
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    Also "accepted" answer merely means it's the answer that OP found useful, it's not the answer to the question. Often other answers are more useful to others than the accepted one. Even OP is allowed to change the accepted answer.
    – pomsky
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 13:48
  • @pomsky Thanks. I understand that OP's accepted answer isn't the "right" one. What I'm trying to figure out is what's best for Ask Ubuntu, voting up the Gnome 2 answer, Gnome 3 answer, both? Should the question title be modified and the version of Gnome 2 inferred so the question becomes "How do I do XYZ in Gnome 2?" and if not should we be marking "How do I do XYZ in Gnome 3?" questions as a duplicate? Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 13:58
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    I understood that, my comment was for the "its main accepted answer" part. Often users, especially newcomers don't realise that and complain that the duplicate suggestion doesn't work without referring to other answers.
    – pomsky
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 14:24
  • If another versions requires completely different answers then we should add tags for major s/w versions? Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 12:53
  • Sorry for my late arrival. I think this question is an important one, but I find it a little unclear (I'm tired, but this is my second attempt to read the question and its answer) what exactly is being asked. I think you are asking whether old questions should be closed against new ones in order to draw visitors to up-to-date information. Is that correct? Your title here suggests something different to me - whether new questions should be closed against old ones despite version differences. It seems to me that the answer addresses that question and not the question I think you intended...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 21:43
  • Can you clarify this at all? If I became sure of what you intended, I would make an edit to your question (of course you could roll the edit back). I might also post an answer advocating closing old questions against new ones in some cases as I did here in answer to a related question.
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


Most of the answers are applicable for newer versions too. But if the OP never specified which version he is using, in my opinion, it is the fault of OP. Whenever a question is answered, the one who posts answer generally reproduce the problem by asking some questions from them like Ubuntu version, GNOME, etc. But if they don't answer that questions, then the question becomes unclear and are closed as unclear what you're asking. This might mean that OP never returned and at some point of time the question may become abandoned (unless it is highly rated).

If the OP never returned then we won't have someone to confirm the problem and what worked (if the problem is not widespread) until a person with similar problem visits the site and he have enough reputation to comment. And I strongly believe assumptions are avoided while answering.

If there's a answer of GNOME3 on GNOME2 then it would be less voted since at that point of time people were using GNOME2 and then shifted to GNOME3. If the same problem occurs on GNOME3, it may get votes if the answers work. But if it doesn't work, OP can always edit his question and elaborate what errors he encountered and why that question's answer didn't work. That's why comments always say "Possible duplicate of xyz" and need 5 votes to confirm (unless you are a mod). I've seen many a times people edit their questions if the suggested duplicate doesn't work and yes their questions are reopened.

To be noted: If the OP tried the answer on the target question (the question of which OP's question is a "possible" duplicate) and edits the question, the question appears on reopen queue where reviewers can think of opening the question again. This queue is visible to 3k+ reputation users.

PS: I crossed 3k reputation just a month ago and this answer was based on my personal experience. If readers find anything contradicting feel free to edit the answer or leaving a comment :)

  • The "unless it is highly rated" part becomes pretty important here because this usually happens with questions that have existing well explored answers, such as with install Nvidia drivers or very popular Gnome programs that have changed significantly over the years. Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 14:00
  • @KristopherIves Actually I was referring to highly rated questions which aren't duplicate or closed but are unanswered till now. They can't be considered as abandoned, I believe. The highly rated answer in the example you gave above about Nvidia are generally updated time to time or a new answer is posted.
    – Kulfy
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 15:21

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