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  • Meta comment re new questions posted as followups to old threads

    Several times recently, I've noticed new questions posted as followups on old (sometime quite old) threads. A recent example would be this .

    Without intending criticism and recognizing that this practice reflects that questioners have made a laudable effort to search for relevant material, I find this confusing and not useful. (On the humorous side, I've more than once spent 30 min. writing a response to a posting early in the thread only to discover that the next page has the rest of the thread with the *new* question <grin>.)

    I wonder if such followers to old threads are perhaps responding to something in the FAQ? I'd find it more useful to encourage people to make a new posting but include a link to any previous relevant thread. I'd prefer this even when the new question is nearly identical, e.g. "I have this problem that I tried to solved per ThisOldLink, but I'm running into difficulties, ... ."

    Any reaction to this, including ideas of how to prompt the link-posting approach, if you think it preferable?
    Last edited by Mike Lacy; 11 Feb 2019, 10:14.

  • #2
    What people are consciously trying to do is for them to report. I start a new thread if the topic is new and post in existing threads if it is not. I don't see much objection to reviving old threads. New posts always bump a thread to the top of the active list. If a thread drifts a little, so be it. If a new thread on date handling or gravity models or regression discontinuity really doesn't look like a new question to old hands, so be it.

    I would turn it right round and ask whether any advice we're giving in the FAQ is not good advice. Every day people ignore it all and post without enough information on their data, on exactly what they did or on exactly what happened, and often all (or more precisely none) of those, but the advice is there.

    Filtering posts in advance to weed out unanswerable questions isn't practical, and would be widely be found obnoxious. (Imagine the social media flak: Statalist wouldn't even let me post my question claiming that it was unclear. It's unclear to me!.)

    Similarly filtering posts to allocate them to new or existing threads doesn't seem practical either.