Forums are a different beast than Stack Exchange. Forums encourage and promote discussion. Stack Exchange actively discourages discussions (see the "Ask questions, get answers, no distractions" section) and noise. Bumping old topics on a Stack Exchange site should be actively providing additional information that helps solve a problem.
On a forum, discussions flow over a period of time. People come and go and the discussion thread slowly resolves itself. Bumping a topic that has been dead for months or years is not doing anything except raising a very old discussion to the top. It is entirely possible that the people involved in said discussion have either forgotten what was going on or simply left the community.
Your question on technical problems and bumping old topics falls into the same type of category. However, this is one additional thing to consider in a technical discussion: relevance to the current version. If you are bumping a topic created years ago about a version that is years old, are you really in the right place? Your old version of the software falls into one of three categories at this point:
- It is still the most current version of an active community
With an active community, it makes much more sense to create the new topic and ask your question. Feel free to link to previous discussions about the topic, but provide relevant updates. This cuts down on the noise that the people you are asking for help from have to read through. It is much easier to read a concise problem statement explaining what you've tried based on previous discussions than it is to re-read an old thread and all of the previous troubleshooting steps that someone else took. Additionally, by showing that you've researched the problem, it should make it clear that you are attempting to solve this by reading old threads.
I am having a problem with AwesomeApplication version 22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2. When I wiggle my mouse over the "Do awesome stuff" button, I get an error message that says "Awesome sauce not found. Error occurred in the Sauce() method. I've attempted to research this and found previous discussions from years ago [here] and [here]. I've attempted the solution of wiggling the mouse slower and switching to Klingon, but neither one solves my problem. Both present the same error about the Sauce() method. I would like to do awesome stuff. What additional troubleshooting steps can I take to solve this issue?"
- It is an old version of software
If you are bumping an old thread, chances are that either the old topic is about a version you are not utilizing or you are running an old piece of software that isn't supported any longer. In either case, the first question you are likely to see is:
Why are you asking about an old version? Try upgrading and check if it is resolved.
Did that help anyone here? No. An old question about a previous version of software is possibly irrelevant at this point. Especially the longer ago the question was posted and the greater the difference in versions.
If you are running old software and it does still have support from the developer, the next question to ask yourself is whether or not you are on the right community. Should a random internet community be able to provide help for a version of software that is years old or should you be going to the vendor/developer for help?
- It is an abandoned piece of software
If you are using a piece of software that has been abandoned by the developer and the community, you are adding noise to a dead or dying community (or sub community).
It all boils down to reducing noise and relevance to the original topic. Bumping an old topic forces a couple things to occur for users of the community. First they have to re-read a least a portion of the discussion to get context. This is especially true if you are adding a comment like:
HI! I am having this problem too. Did you ever solve this?
Second, they need to determine your ability to help them help you. The above comment provides no context on your ability to help. The first example I provided does, as you have provided your current version, your error message and solutions you have already tried. Now they can skip a couple rounds of questions since they have this information. In the first example, you've also reduced the noise of previous discussions to a couple links. The community can go reread those at their leisure, and don't need to scroll through pages of old discussion to get to your question.