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This question came up in chat: If a question has a fundamental flaw that is not caught (or at least pointed out) right away, is it better to:

  1. Edit the question to fix the flaw, possibly invalidating answers.
  2. Should the question be closed so a new question can be asked with the flaw fixed?

Points of consideration:

  • The person asking the question can't see the flaw until it's pointed out to them.
  • Not everyone that answers the question is going to catch the flaw either, and some might not think of it as a flaw.
  • The flaw might not be caught before people start answering.

The question is NOT should the Question have been put on hold before people started answering it. The question is, is it better to possibly invalidate answers (that often can be repaired) or have duplicate questions on the site?

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Don't do either.

Invalidating answers is not appropriate, and will cause way more harm than good. Editing a question to change its meaning makes it a chameleon question, which may be okay in small increments (clarification, correction of a small fact, etc) but is frowned upon if the edit completely invalidates answers' content.

Closing won't work, either. Flawed content does not sort into any close reason, and the general consensus is that answers should make note of the flaw if they find it. It isn't necessarily a bad question, after all.

As a general rule of thumb, if the flaw is so great that a question must be asked again, the meaning is almost definitely different enough to stop it from being a duplicate.

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    $\begingroup$ My thoughts exactly. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 12 '17 at 23:23

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