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I was browsing around and wandered back across an old question of mine, and wondered if there would be any value in providing an update on how things turned out.

If so, what would be the best way to update it? Editing the question to provide the status update, or adding an answer, or even just commenting on the question?

On one hand, providing an update may help other parents in similar situations come to a decision based on the outcome.

On the other, a good answer was provided and accepted. An update on how my own child turned out is an extremely localized anecdote.

However, are there other questions where parents "checking back in" would be valued?

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Absolutely! Feedback on what worked and what didn't is very welcome!

Perhaps the best way is to edit your original question to include an update. This not only puts questions back on the front page for those who didn't see them the first time, but with an update, we have new appreciation for what might work for someone else.

I think it would be a very valuable addition. Thanks for asking! I hope more people consider doing this.

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It's not very unusual for new posters on Parenting.SE to post an "Answer" that is essentially, Is there any update? I am in a similar situation and want to know what worked! While this gets dealt with as a non-answer, it's also clear that users are interested in not only getting suggestions (the various Answers to a Question), but also feedback on effectiveness of the different ideas.

If no answers exist, then I'd post an update as an answer; but since a good answer does exist, an edit seems most appropriate. Here are a couple (randomly selected) questions for which the OP provided a later update...

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    I wouldn't post an update as an answer unless it actually directly answered the question - "how it turned out" isn't an answer, but "Here's the different approach that I actually tried" is an answer. – Joe Apr 22 '15 at 19:03
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    Good point and clarification. – Acire Apr 22 '15 at 19:07
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As a user, I read a lot more questions than I ask or answer. It can be very useful, after seeing a problem and the solutions people have suggested, to know what the original questioner decided to do and how it worked out. Sometimes the most appealing-seeming answer turns out not to work, and this can be extremely useful for people who come back to the question later, especially if they are dealing with a similar issue of their own.

In short, I am in favor of edits with long-term updates.

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Update early, update often. Just like votes.

Since parenting is not an exact since, anecdotes are important. The way to learn is by experience and experience is gained by sharing. Please inform us, even if it took a while to figure out what to post. This is a Q&A site after all, who knows how many people will look up the question or answer in a year or so and find your update most valuable.

Note: Whatever you do, make sure the question itself stays intact. Either update your question with a very noticeably 'UPDATE' header on top of the update or post it as an answer. As long as the original text is still available.

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I've posted an update answer twice:

Parenting is very much something you learn by experience. Many problems seem much easier in hindsight that seemed intractable at the time. My personal criteria for posting an update are:

  • It's still receiving attention, as evidenced by upvotes, or new answers, or being linked as related or duplicate from a new question. I don't like to bump old threads that no one but me cares about.
  • I can write an answer that would have been useful to me at the time. Obviously, a parent who faced the exact same problem but has two years of experience solving it can offer a lot.
  • I can write an answer that might be useful to others now facing a similar issue. I think of the people for whom my question is brand new, who caused the recent views or upvotes.
  • That answer is sufficiently different from what others offered. In other words, I'm not just saying, "I tried what user X suggested, and it worked."

If I never managed to solve the problem, I don't write an answer, but would consider making an edit to the question if there is new information. Hopefully I've at least learned some things that don't work. Maybe I've noticed new correlations. I think my criteria would be to only make the edit if I thought the new information could spawn a new, more useful answer. If the only purpose is to bump it in hopes of getting more views, I don't really see that as okay.

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