There is a Star Wars question Was the thermal exhaust port on the Death Star really a design flaw?, which was written in 2011. The top few answers, aside from a joke answer that doesn't actually answer the question as intended, all involve Legends continuity sources, which makes sense given that at the time Disney canon hadn't happened yet, so that was canon.

But with the recent release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, there is now a new Disney canon answer that directly contradicts the Legends answers. What should we do about this given that the answers were valid at the time of the question being asked and the definition of canon has changed?


4 Answers 4


The best way to deal with the arrival of new canon information is to post new answers that offer answers from the new canon and allow those answers to (eventually) rise up above the older answers.

Over time the newer (and arguably righter) answer will gain more upvotes and hopefully surpass the older (obsolete) answer. Unfortunately, in the meantime you have to suffer the indignity of knowing that a wrong answer is sat above yours.

You might also want to give the OP a prod to see if they'll reconsider an acceptance of an older answer in favour of your new and shiny one.


Personally I think the least disruptive option is to encourage existing answerers to update their answers via comments. This will let people update their existing answers, and should be unambiguous. Otherwise we can end up with highly voted contradictory answers, or correct but buried answers because they haven't had a chance to bubble up to the top yet.

Duping a bunch of existing questions feels really abusive like Valorum mentioned in a comment. Similarly, editing a bunch of answers just to say the answers are wrong feels really abusive as well. I know we wouldn't stand for that kind of behavior for a new answer so I don't understand why we'd allow it on an old answer. Down-voting answers isn't always an option either if the answer wasn't edited since your last up-vote, and fixing an answer's grammar just so you can down-vote the answer IMO is a slimy move.

Another option I haven't seen mentioned is for someone to create a Meta question where questions with only obsolete answers that aren't being updated are highlighted. I don't really think this is a great idea because people good enough to put Q/A on that list are good enough to add a new correct answer, and finding the questions would be a good deal of the work. What I do like about this option is it would serve as an additional spotlight for people who have already answered the question to update their answers.

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    That's a good idea. A simple "Please specify whether this answer applies to Legends, Canon, or both" comment on each potentially-obsolete answer would likely do the job, assuming the answerers still use SE and care about their answers. Dec 21, 2016 at 1:59
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    @JustinTime I agree with you, but I think your suggestion is too subtle for people like myself. I think it should be a bit more pointed. "I know that your answer was correct when you posted it. In the intervening years the powers that be have adjusted the levels of Canon <insert authoritative link>. Please consider updating your answer to reflect this change." Using this verbiage it is clear to everyone that the complaint is that canon has shifted underneath the OP.
    – Erik
    Dec 21, 2016 at 16:34

There's really no good way to handle this.

  • The way that's arguably most in-line with the SE design philosophy is to downvote wrong answers (even answers that are wrong through no fault of the answerer) and upvote correct answers.

    The problems with this are:

    1. New answers to old questions typically, though with exceptions, get less attention; it's much harder for a new question to float to the top of the page. This leaves us in the situation where the "right" answer and the "best" answer (according to community votes) aren't necessarily the same, making the whole site a more complicated thing to use and rather undermining its purpose
    2. We can't do anything about the acceptance mark. In some cases this isn't a problem, because some of our long-time users are still active and open to moving the tick to the better answer. But in other cases (such as the one you linked to), we wouldn't expect a response
  • The other way would be to intentionally post duplicate questions, answer them with the new canon answers, and then close the older questions as dupes of the newer.

    This has the advantage of more effectively promoting the new content, but isn't without problems; in addition to the ones I've railed about before:

    1. Some people object to the practice of closing old questions as dupes of newer questions. If we were to do this en masse, I expect a lot of arguments in meta
    2. It sets an uncomfortable precedent that may get out of hand; this is admittedly a slippery slope argument, but then building on precedent is most of what Meta is about
  • The final way would be to edit the existing answers to say something like "As of the Great Disneyfication, this answer is no longer correct. See [link to correct answer] for the correct answer."

    This is a nice middle-ground, but will result in a lot of edit spam, and probably some backlash from people who object to their answers being devalued


My philosophical inclination is to go with the first option I posted; I've whinged mightily against the second option previously on Meta, and I stand by those arguments.

However, in this specific case, of Star Wars Disney canon versus Legends, I think it would be more effective to ask and answer new questions, and close the older ones. My biggest reason for saying this is in response to a point I made in my Cursed Child meta answer:

It stratifies the canon in a way I'm not comfortable with (in most cases). There's little intuitive reason why a question like "Why is X a thing in Harry Potter" and "Why is X a thing in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" should have different answers

After the canon reorganization, there really is a stratification of the canon, imposed by Disney. So much of the basis for our older answers is now out the window that I think it will be simpler and more effective to "pull a Disney" and declare many of our old Star Wars questions to be non-canon.

I'm not opposed to any of my other suggestions being implemented, and I feel really icky about even suggesting this one, but I think it will ultimately be more effective in helping us fulfil our purpose of being a useful repository of facts.

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    Wait, I forgot option 4: pool our resources to develop a time machine, and then go back and kill (or kidnap; whatever) whoever suggested the Legends/canon split. I vote that option Dec 18, 2016 at 16:52
  • I vehemently disagree with the idea of posting a new question/answer set (and then closing the older one as a dupe of the new question) solely out of sour grapes that an older question/answer set is now wrong.
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2016 at 18:17
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    I vehemently disagree with the idea of vandalising older answers in an attempt to publicise a lower-voted answer that happens to be newer.
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2016 at 18:18
  • @Valorum I don't disagree with you. But as much as I prefer updating old questions with new answers, I'm not convinced that the new and correct information will bubble up as effectively as you think. It's not a matter of sour grapes, it's a matter of enhancing the visibility of the new information Dec 18, 2016 at 18:25
  • There's a perfect example here of an answer doing precisely that.
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2016 at 18:27
  • @Valorum Yes, and here's another. But are those examples (and the others like them, as I'm sure there are) exceptions or the rule? I don't know, but I suspect the former Dec 18, 2016 at 18:30
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    I don't know. I do know that if I went around asking/answering older questions with newer canon, then used my dupehammer to close the older questions as a dupe of the newer one, the user-base would scream blue bloody murder at me for weeks.
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2016 at 18:34
  • @Valorum On that, we agree whole-heartedly; as I said, I don't think there's a perfect solution here Dec 18, 2016 at 18:44
  • What astounds me is that if I did do it, I could hide behind this answer from meta
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2016 at 18:45
  • "As of the Great Disneyfication, this answer is no longer correct. See - [link to correct answer] for the correct answer." - if memory serves me right, I once proposed this, and was harshly and publicly spanked for the idea. Dec 19, 2016 at 16:26
  • @Dvk-in-Exile - Bizarrely though, Himarm's suggestion that we intentionally dupe older questions received a pretty decent response.
    – Valorum
    Dec 20, 2016 at 9:01

A feasible option, would be to add the ability, (after a certain prestige), to flag answers or questions as obsolete. Or a similar process to closing could be used. If we began intentionally posting duplicate questions, many people would not realize the purpose, and they would be flagged as duplicates, essentially achieving nothing. If new answers are submitted, many would sit unnoticed, especially if the new canon answer wasn't as exciting as the old canon answer.

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    You already have this ability. It's called commenting.
    – Valorum
    Dec 20, 2016 at 8:59
  • @Valorum, Commenting doesn't result in the eventual removal of a question, it just voices displeasure. A good example is your comment on my answer, you don't like my answer, however your comment won't lead to the deletion of my answer. Dec 20, 2016 at 22:52
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    If you comment that it's obsolete (and explain why) then people visiting the question will be less tempted to upvote that answer.
    – Valorum
    Dec 20, 2016 at 22:54

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