I came across an older question in which the highest voted answer quotes data from a CIA list which ranks countries by the infant mortality rate. At the time the answer was written the most recent data was for 2011, now 2012 data is available. This new data does not change the answer in any meaningful way (specifically the US is now ranked 173/223 instead of 176/222).

I'm not certain whether it is worthwhile to edit the answer to include this minor revision and if it is, in what format to do so. e.g

  • a) I could simply replace the 2011 data with the 2012 data.
  • b) I could append the new data to the answer to show change over time.

If it is appropriate to edit older answers with this type of minor revision is it something that should be done in all situations where it is possible? Does it improve the answers in any notable way, or does it create clutter in the revision queues with older content being brought back to the front? If this practise were carried out dutifully for the next few years would it be beneficial or detrimental?

  • for a) the answer text could potential become incongruous with the new data (at this point a new answer might be appropriate)
  • for b) answers quoting data that changes frequently could become bloated.

The only related question that I've found is one regarding rapidly changing data in current events, but this seems to be a different situation (i.e steady change over longer time-frames) and the solution there is certainly not appropriate here.


As long as the new data does not change the sense of the current answer I would consider keeping the answer current.

If the new data alters the answer significantly, then I would probably add a new competing answer and ping the OP in a comment so they can remove the now incorrect answer (if they agree, that is).


I'm not sure bumping every old question that involves data updated yearly is really beneficial for minor changes. It may be worthwhile for a few highly voted/viewed questions that really showcase the site.

I guess I wouldn't object to anyone willing to put forth the effort to modernize answers though, unless they get a little too carried away and push new questions off the front page.

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