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What was (or at least at the time appeared to be) a correct answer to a question of mine is now (possibly due to software changes by Apple) no longer resolves my question. I've already accepted this answer as the correct one. How should I handle the fact that what it suggests no longer works?

Should I un-accept it? Is that sufficient?

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  • In this specific case - do you feel you want to document how things were - or have an up to date answer to the question?
    – bmike Mod
    Apr 22 '12 at 16:52
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    I generally just un-accept the answer, and leave a comment explaining that this is no longer applicable (because it may have a high positive score). Jul 27 '12 at 1:02
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Two things work very well.

1) Edit the question to remain historically significant - answer at time. You can edit the answer if needed or just comment that this is no longer true.

1a) If the basic need is still there, re-ask the new question and link the two explaining how the old question isn't the answer since X, Y, and Z have changed.

2) Edit / comment the question to indicate how old answers are not relevant with new X arriving.

So - here are the guiding principles as I see them.

  • preserve value and votes on an old question - the more popular the old question, the more inclined I am to just leave it and move on (option 1).
  • edit / comment to add commentary when things change and old content is stale and needs further explanations.

It's really your choice - neither is wrong to choose. The only wrong move is to allow the incorrect content to sit without at least a comment explaining the new circumstances. Again, you don't have to do even that, but from a "how should it be handled" ideal situation - always addressing things that need help is the correct answer.

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    You can edit the question to read something like ".... this happens in Mac OS X 10.1.2 (include the minor revision)... " -- or otherwise describe the conditions where the answer remains valid. Then you can ask another question which is based on your old question but with the conditions updated (say, Mac OS X 10.2.3). Remember to link the new question to the old one so that it doesn't get marked as duplicate.
    – adib
    Apr 23 '12 at 9:55
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I would say that if your question and the posted answer remain accurate for some context, but not the latest context, keep it as the accepted answer, and edit the question to indicate the limited context. For instance, if you asked "Can I run apps so they take up the full screen" under Leopard, the answer, in general was "No, there is no generic full-screen mode." Lion comes out, and now there is. Your question and its answer are still useful for someone running Lion, so edit the question to indicate "prior to OS X 10.7, can I run apps so they take up the full screen."

For released, versioned software, this strikes me as far and away the most appropriate way to go. On the other hand, in your case, the software you describe is an online service; the fact that something worked or did not work in previous versions is sadly not helpful, as the current behavior of the system applies to all users. In this case, the answer is no longer correct. Were it me, I would not un-accept until a more current answer arrives to replace it, but I would point out in a comment the changing circumstances, and perhaps edit the original question also.

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