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When I browse through old questions I usually find myself reading the question and maybe the top few answers. Same thing when there is an old question appearing on the front page.

From what I've gathered other people must be proceeding similarly. Even when there is a good question (many upvotes) and the top answers do not resolve the problem, but an answer that was written much later does, it seems to go largely unnoticed.

So two questions:

  • Is there anything the site can do to improve this? Or is it only a problem in my mind?

  • What can I personally do if I am writing such an answer?

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If you notice a good answer down the list, you can offer a bounty to reward the existing answer if you think it's worthy. When you put up the bounty, make sure to point out the answer in the bounty message. Leave the bounty up for the full duration of 7 days to maximize exposure.

When writing an answer... just make it good, I guess. If appropriate, you might comment on one of the highly voted answers pointing out a flaw and referring to your answer, or comment on the question.

That's about all I've got for ideas...

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    $\begingroup$ Keep in mind that under no circumstances will a bounty be assigned to your own answer. Even if after the bounty grace period has ended and there are no new upvoted answers aside from your own, the bounty will disappear. In other words, if you're putting a bounty on a question you're answering, you're sacrificing that amount to draw attention to your answer. $\endgroup$ – NauticalMile May 24 '16 at 5:45
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    $\begingroup$ The problem I have with this approach is when the bounty incites others to answer the old question as well, as I have found out when I tried this approach when answering this question and this other question. In both cases there were other new answers which received enough upvotes to qualify for half the bounty amount, answers which I do not endorse. I don't really care so much about the rep, but the fact that attention is now drawn to those answers does not sit well with me. $\endgroup$ – NauticalMile May 24 '16 at 5:58
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    $\begingroup$ @NauticalMile I'd intended the bounty suggestion mostly for drawing attention to good answers by others, though it can in principle be used to try and draw views to a question you've answered as well. YMMV, but I've never "made back the rep" via upvotes from offering a bounty (I've always used it on questions I've asked, rather than answers, though). Also, if you see answers that are wrong, I hope you comment and/or downvote accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Oman May 24 '16 at 7:04

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