There's a seemingly obvious solution, one that escaped myself for years:
Ask a new question!
You can always ask a question as long as everything needed to answer it is in there, making it self contained. That doesn't stop you adding links to older questions to provide context though.
Benefits of this:
- Solutions unrelated to your original problem can be provided, giving you new insights and approaches, as well as being more useful to other people
- If it's more useful to other people they're more likely to upvote
- A new question means a new chance to mark an answer as accepted and earn rep!
- More opportunities to upvote
- More avenues for interesting things
- It's a lot clearer what the issue is as it's a new question, and answers can be left as answers
- Your new question shows up on the frontpage etc, it doesn't get lost in answer comments
If you can turn a follow up question into a full question and make it well written and interesting then that's a win win situation for all
A Final Note On Preventing These Situations
Sometimes you realise you're trying to beat the level 5 boss but you've not seen level 4's boss yet, that's okay, we all had to learn somewhere and answers are a great learning opportunity, by answering a question while providing context and leads to other things.
Sometimes though, the real problem is an XY problem, and needing to answer further clarifying questions can reveal that the question isn't about the original problem. Keep that in mind when asking questions, and make sure you provide enough context that somebody can figure it out if needed