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Given the huge volume of questions we get here, it's likely that some newer version of MMA may greatly simplify some answers to questions about improving/refining/avoiding some built-in MMA functionality. One thing in particular that comes to mind is the whole legending issue (), where everyone (rightly) recommends avoiding PlotLegends whenever humanly possible. I think it's probable that Wolfram will fix their terrible legending in future releases making many of the (excellent) answers (and questions) obsolete. Do we then need to go back and re-tag all related questions with the tag? That's just one example. With every continuing release, volunteers would need to go back through increasing numbers of questions to check if a new answer can, and should be given of the form "Use the MMA function FooBar to simply solve this." or retag with .

One way around this is to tag every question with the version number of the asker. But this doesn't make sense, either, because if functionality isn't fixed/improved the question would still be relevant for later versions, too.

Any other ideas?

tl;dr How do we deal with new MMA releases making some questions RTFM questions retroactively?

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    simply post a new answer saying that this functionality is now built into the system. That way, existing answers have the necessary context and the newer one keeps the information current. Another option is to simply edit the accepted answer (since it has high visibility) to add in this info. I don't think it is necessary to retag them. – rm -rf Jul 17 '12 at 15:57
  • @R.M So, why have version tags at all? – Eli Lansey Jul 17 '12 at 16:00
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    I would re-tag them if the question does get touched and updated, and there's indeed a significant change in the new version. Otherwise I wouldn't bother digging the question up and editing it. Let it happen naturally: when a related new question comes along, someone will probably dig up the old one anyway. I don't think it's necessary to make an effort to keep everything updated. Version-8 info will still be valuable and will (probably) still work. – Szabolcs Jul 17 '12 at 16:22
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    @EliLansey I look at it this way — if the question is "How do I do X in version Y", where Y is clearly an older version, then it requires the tag if the behaviour has changed in the future versions or newer functionality is available in future versions. On the other hand, if the question is "How do I do X", where the version is understood to be the current version, then it doesn't require the tag. Simply writing a new answer/updating the accepted answer should be sufficient. – rm -rf Jul 17 '12 at 16:26
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    @R.M Probably all previous answers should be updated with a note to say that they're for v8 then ... or simpler: add the [version-8] tag and only mention in the updated answer that the new solution is v9-only (less work). – Szabolcs Jul 17 '12 at 17:01
  • @R.M. What you suggest is known as append-only data model in the database world, and seems to be gaining momentum. I like your suggestion, FWIW. – Leonid Shifrin Jul 17 '12 at 20:48
  • @R.M What you're saying makes some sense. Which is the better approach -- new answer or update top/accepted answer? – Eli Lansey Jul 17 '12 at 21:04
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    I guess either... Editing can only be done by 2k+ users and it relies on the approver agreeing with the change. Alternately, you could leave a comment urging them to update their answer, or simply just leave a new answer yourself. I don't think there needs to be a hard and fast rule about it, but I would think that if the current answer is a one-line/short answer and not highly upvoted, then you might as well leave a new answer so that it can be judged separately. On the other hand, if it's a highly upvoted and big-effort answer, then maybe edit it so that the update has high visibility – rm -rf Jul 17 '12 at 21:09
  • Does anyone more knowledgeble in the stackexchange system know if it's possible to add a input box to the ask qeustion form that has selections for "version-7" "version-8" etc. potentially making it nessesary to post the question. While not a feature the site can't be without, it would be a nice addition to ensure proper tags distinguishing which verion was being questioned. Of cause tags for workbench, and some catch all could be added. – jVincent Jul 18 '12 at 9:11
  • @R.M, the last comment could be an answer I think. :) – J. M. will be back soon Jul 20 '12 at 1:54
  • @J.M. I will write that up as an answer later in the day (perhaps tomorrow, even). I didn't initially write one because I didn't have the time to expand on it then (and I don't again now) – rm -rf Jul 20 '12 at 2:13
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This is a summary of my comments above (they seem to have some approval).

I think the simplest and easiest way would be to post a new answer saying that this functionality is now built into the system. That way, existing answers have the necessary context and the newer one keeps the information current.

Sometimes, it might seem silly to leave such an answer either because it is too short/too insignificant or the accepted answer is highly upvoted and hence very visible. In such cases, one could simply edit the accepted answer to add in this info. However, editing can only be done by 2k+ users and it relies on the approver agreeing with the change. Alternately, one could also leave a comment urging the answerer to update their answer with the new info. I don't think there should be a hard and fast rule about this though — depends on how significant the change/new function is, how visible the question/answer is, how important the question is, how rep hungry one is, etc... too many variables to arrive at a sensible consensus.

As for retagging with a version specific tag, I don't think it is necessary in all cases. For example if the question is "How do I do X in version Y", where Y is clearly an older version, then it requires the tag if the behaviour has changed in the future versions or newer functionality is available in future versions. On the other hand, if the question is "How do I do X", where the version is understood to be the current version, then it doesn't require the tag. Simply writing a new answer/updating the accepted answer should be sufficient. But there might be some disagreements on this and we'll have to wait and see how things go.

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