Today, How to export attribute tables to Excel? was closed as a duplicate of How do I export an attribute table in ArcGIS version 9.3.1 to Excel?. Although the answers point to the same solutions, the questions are not quite duplicate because one is tagged as arcgis-10 and the other refers to ArcGIS 9.3.1 in both the title and the tags.

When this situation occurs, should the tags and title on the older (non-closed) question be updated?

In this specific case, should the still-open 9.3.1 question be re-titled and have tags added to indicate the answers also work for 10.0?


3 Answers 3

up vote 0 down vote accepted

I would say leave the original version number both in header and tag, but include a tag that does not specify version. That way you will get hit if you have a tag filter on the unspecified version.

If the question is relevant for other versions as well, this could be edited in to the question body, and made clear that this is edited in, with a text saying something like "This also applies for versions ..."

Answers (at least the accepted one) can also be edited with test verification that the solution works for a list of versions, that can later be updated if necessary. We often see this on SO for web issues where it is stated which browsers/versions this works for. It also might be OK to say that the solution works for version 9.3+ if it is fair to assume that future versions are backwards compatible.


I think there are several questions which are asked again and again, in different formats. For example how many questions will we have on how to display a WFS service in Openlayers, or on how to use a proxy in Openlayers.

The folks at Server fault have come up with a clever solution for this issue. They have created Canonical questions, which are then protected.

That way when someone new comes along, they find the canonical question and canonical answer. It should be noted that these questions have wonderfully detailed answers which aim to cover all details.

I don't mind if the original, old question is generalized. We shouldn't add the ArcGIS 10 tag. Will you be adding the 10.1 tag as well? or 10.2 when it comes along? No. That is why we should remove the version tag altogether, if it is not relevant, so as to make the question relevant in the future.

If the same questions keep appearing should they and the answers not go into the FAQ and/or the Wiki? – nigellaw Jan 12 '13 at 20:49
I think the version tags should be added as it is discovered that (most of) the answers work in a new version. There may be a point in time where the software changes dramatically, and the answers will only work in specific versions. For example, the significant changes between ArcGIS 9 and 10, which made many 3rd party extensions useless. With the tags, the specific versions are addressed, and questions/answers can be updated if necessary. – user3461 Jan 12 '13 at 21:34
@NigelLaw I don't think that we have a FAQ of questions asked here. We do have a FAQ on how to use These are two different things, and should not be mixed up. The strength of the Canonical Q&A on serverfault, is that not only are the Questions a for of FAQ, but the Answers are also detailed standard and canonical answers meant to help anyone. – Devdatta Tengshe Jan 13 '13 at 6:45
@GeoKevin: I would argue that giving version numbers is an endless task, because every-time a new version comes along, someone would ignore the old question, since it was tagged with an old version number – Devdatta Tengshe Jan 13 '13 at 6:47
I would say leave the version numbers as they are. This shows that the question was linked to that specific version, and someone looking at this later, should keep that in mind, and know that the answers might not be 100% relevant on a later version (although it might be). Leave to the reader to verify if the solution works also for their version if different. – awe Jan 15 '13 at 6:45

The OP would not be aware that the answer to their question is NOT version dependent so I would suggest leaving the title unchanged but update the tags to indicate the answer also works for 10.0? then annotate the question accordingly. I would not change the title as that would skew the results of any search which was version number specific.

Since the tags indicate version numbers (at least in this example), I would think it best to remove the version # from the title since the answers contain relevant info for each version. I realize the OP wouldn't know that at the time they posted the question, but if they're still interested they would see it as an update, with an explanation why. – user3461 Jan 10 '13 at 21:56
@GeoKevin, still not sure changeing the title is the answer. We want titles to questions to be as specific as possible. How often do we see a comment on a question, "What version are you using? " or "Please give us more information so we can help you!" Going in after the question has been asked and removing a specific like a version number just seems unnecessary. – nigellaw Jan 11 '13 at 10:07
I agree that questions should be specific, especially when they're brand new. However, in this and similar circumstances, significant time has past and shown that the answers apply to more than one version. – user3461 Jan 11 '13 at 13:25
@GeoKevin I think 'significant time has passed' is the significant factor, now I agree with you :) You get my vote. – nigellaw Jan 11 '13 at 19:37

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