This question on cellphones and cancer was recently asked. Now it's clearly a duplicate of this question, which was very well answered and accepted, and ordinarily the new one should be closed as a duplicate. The only problem is that the previous question is months old, and significant new information has been made available since then. Essentially the old answer is not really correct.

So how do we make sure that the best information is provided to our readers? It makes no sense to have two active and identical questions with different answers. It's going to be hard to get a new answer to the old question upvoted enough to displace the old one.

Some options:

  • Close the old question as a duplicate of the new, and let a new good answer arise
  • Let both run for a while, and then close the old if the new one ends up with a better answer
  • Encourage people to downvote the old incorrect answer.

2 Answers 2


I don't think this is really a duplicate, the newer question is about a specific study while the older question is about the topic in general.

We should generally allow this level of duplication, I think questions about specific studies are useful as they are often presented in the media as some kind of final truth, disregarding everything that came before them. Answers in a question about a specific study can go into more detail about methodology, while the answers in the "big picture" question can give an overview of the current state of science.

I also disagree that the new information necessarily invalidates the old answers. This is only one relatively small study, that doesn't mean the old studies are all wrong. We certainly could use a better and more comprehensive answer in the old question.

  • I agree with this. The extrapolation would be a new question on skeptics for each new study on cell phone cancer. Is this cool?
    – MrHen
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 14:38
  • @MrHen I think a new study that is explicitly mentioned in the media can be the subject for a new question. It doesn't have to be, but I don't expect to handle any of the big topics in only one question.
    – Mad Scientist Mod
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 16:03
  • Works for me. :)
    – MrHen
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 16:22

Don't count on highly-voted answers being correct.

Add a new answer to the old question, saying, "But wait! Recent studies etc."

Expect someone who cares about the topic/question to at least read every answer (including the new one).

If the older question has a (really) canonical answer, you could also edit that answer to add the newer information to it.

See also Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping! which while not directly applicable is motivated by a similar problem: that specific products (and therefore answers which recommend them) become obsolete.

You can also edit the original question: add a cross-reference to the newer/related question.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .