It’s been suggested that you should search the boards, possibly with the new boardreader.com thing, then, if you want, start a new thread which links to the one in which the topic was previuosly discussed. This is an attempt to make everyone happpy.
Here’s my own algorithm, with which some may disagree:
Search the board. Also, search Cecil’s columns, Google, etc.
If you find your answer, stop.
If you don’t, but you find a thread where it’s discussed but not answered, either post in that thread, or start a new one linking to the one you found. Which of these you do depends on the nature of the question:
Factual question (Does water boil in space?), the thread has few replies, and it’s not anwered: Post in that thread if you can add information. Else, start new thread, link to old.
Factual question, argued but never solved: Start new thread, link to old, so that every poster doesn’t have to wade through the old one.
(Mainly applies to GQ, CCC, CSR and some CS)
Tough-to-answer question (Does water boiling in space mean God doesn’t love us?), asked in GD, thread has few replies, no real progress in the debate: Post in that thread if you can add something. If you can’t add anything, let it be*.
GD-style question that has been extensively debated: Start new thread, linking to old if appropriate, as long as you have something new to add. If you’ve got nothing to add, let it be*.
(Mainly applies to GD, some CS)
Mundane & pointless topic, poll, largely unimportant matters, etc. (Who thinks boiling space water is cool? (TMI) ): A matter of opinion. If it’s worth starting a thread over, start a new one, possibly linking to old, unless there exists a very similar thread which received very few replies.
(Mainly applies to MPSIMS, IMHO, some, BBQP, some CS)
Question pertaining to the history of the board, past events of a potentially inflammatory nature, or rough times in SDMB-land: BE VERY CAREFUL what you post. Anyone with a personal connection to those events, even moderators, may not look kindly on it being brought up. Certainly DO NOT RESSURRECT the old thread. Even linking to it is risky. Be very cautious with this.
*Note, some posters feel it can be appropriate to start a new debate again, ewven if it’s been discussed before, so that new ideas can be considered form different angles, etc.