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keobooks's avatar

Is it better to ask a new question or use necromancy on a very old question?

Asked by keobooks (12732 points ) June 18th, 2012

I remember a few years back someone asked a question about plot twists in movies. I JUST saw a little known documentary that had a major plot twist in it. I thought that was very unusual. I was tempted to bring up the very old question of plot twists and put it in there, but no new people would see it.

Is it better to bring an ancient question years old to the top so you don’t ask what’s been asked before? Or is it better to ask a new question so that people who signed on after the question was asked can get it in their feeds if it might interest them?

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17 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

I’ve often wondered about this. There are some people on here who always know exactly when and where a question was asked before… readily providing a link to it.

It seems there should almost be a statute of limitations on such things. I shouldn’t be expected to search through years of archives for a question, however, I see the wisdom in avoiding duplicate questions.

You’re right. You probably won’t get many responses if you post at the end of an ancient question.

I’m curious to see how others respond.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It sometimes feels like a no-win situation, doesn’t it? My understanding is that if the original question is old enough, then it’s okay to go ahead and post it. The only questions I’ve seen moderated are ones where they duplicate another question that has been recently asked, like late-breaking news or Jelly Lurve parties for a member who reached a milestone.

Personally, I’d rather see the new question in most cases. It gets tiresome when older members post a link to an old question with what can be construed as a snarky remark saying, “We’ve already talked about this.”, particularly when it is directed at a new member. The link might be helpful, but it depends upon the content. It can also be shared politely. A couple of members do this very well.

If someone sees a new question that is a duplicate to an old one, they always have the option to flag it, send the OP a PM letting them know, answer it politely, or ignore it. How hard is that?

wundayatta's avatar

Ask a new question. Sometimes people are still following old questions, but not very many. It’s best to get a new audience. But you can acknowledge the old question to show you’ve done your homework. That’s always impressive.

ETpro's avatar

Great Question. Perhaps it’s self interest. As one who is ancient of days, I find the idea of resurrection or of getting your second wind a very appealing one. But there is also the practical interest of keeping the answers to that question consolidated so that someone searching for info on that question finds the whole gold mine in one link instead of multiple ones that they may not click through to. So I say necromance away—let the zombies arise.

And congratulations for asking a question that, at this point, has twice as many Great Question awards as answers.

@digitalimpression I often post links to past questions. I don’t bother to spend time going through archives of old questions unless there is some vital interest and a search fails to find the oldie. I just use the search bar and a list of keywords I think will bring up the prior discussion for me.

SavoirFaire's avatar

There’s a difference between answering an old question and trying to get an old conversation going again. There’s nothing wrong with adding your answer to an old thread—that’s one of the reasons for the “related questions” box we have over on the right side. If you’re looking for responses, however, asking a new question is the better bet. We do ask that people not ask questions that were just asked recently, though. “Recently” is typically understood as “within three months” these days as far as I can recall.

jca's avatar

I vote for new. There are so many new users on here that weren’t here years ago, and the question would be hidden if you just answered an old one. I always ask again, and I will say I know this has been asked before but etc.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I vote for NEW if the old question is a year or more past.

Paradox25's avatar

I’d asked a very similar question to this, about two years ago. I’ll say that if the question is more than six months old than just ask a new one about the same topic. You can make a reference to the older version of the topic, but you don’t have to.

Symbeline's avatar

I’d say it’s better to ask a new question, if the duplicate is a few years old. On forums and stuff, you can bump a question so it pops up again and everyone will see it, and old members and new alike may respond. On Fluther though, that doesn’t work as you know. Only the people active in the question will know if you post something in it, and chances are, if it’s a few years old, a lot of those members aren’t even around anymore…and people who have already answered may not want to re answer, even if their opinion or tastes have changed since then. The fact that we can’t bump questions like you can on regular forums or places like AnswerBag I think is a justified initiative to ask something very similar on here, if the most recent one is old enough.

There are people coming in and out, and tastes, views and stuff change. I’ve asked a few duplicates, and never had any problems from the mods. I even look up to see if my question has already been asked. Of course I understand the issue behind frowning on this, but it seems to generally be accepted, within reason. This might pertain more to questions that seek stories, opinions and stuff. For technical issues, like how to fix something or whatever, if there’s already a definite answer, it’s probably best to look it up, if an answer was indeed provided.

nonexpert's avatar

The necronohomonancy one.

keobooks's avatar

Thanks for answering this. I’ve wondered about it. I may ask a new question or not. But I’ve often wondered which was the better route.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Ok, good, now we’ve got that settled.

So, what was the documentary?

keobooks's avatar

“Dear Zachary.” It’s a free download on Netflix. It’s a warning as well as a recommendation. The film was very “change your life” right from the beginning, but the plot twist came out of nowhere and almost made me sick to my stomach because it startled me so much.

The reason I’m not posting it yet as a “plot twister” is because when I think of the “best” ones I’ve ever seen, they came because I had no idea there was a plot twist involved. So then I wonder if you’re the kind of person asking for plot twists, do you really want to know? Because rather than getting that BANG feeling, you’re waiting for it to happen.

hearkat's avatar

On Fluther, you can have the posts filtered by activity so old posts will get “bumped” – but I don’t think many people use that feature.

My answer is the same as @wundayatta‘s – search for the original post and reference it in the question.

Since my speciality is rather specific, I did get a bit tired of typin the same reply to questions about how to get your ear unclogged, etc., which is part of why I wasn’t around much for a couple years. It can be a bit annoying when new people come to the site and simply ask a question, without first researching to see if the answer already exists.

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