So I had a question and couldn't quite see why I couldn't picture someone's answer but then I realised I hadn't said the fleet was moving slower than light (I definitely meant to, I know the information is key).

I've editted it to add that info in...but I feel bad if it invalidates people's answers. (Admittedly they assumed...but then again why wouldn't you with a fleet covering interstellar distances?)

What should I have done/do?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You should try not to invalidate existing answers with your edits. I don't know much about the topic of your question, but if that edit would invalidate an answer it might be a big change and maybe you could make a second question like "Similar to my previous question BUT: x, y and z apply here". You should try to use the Sandbox if you want to go with that approach to make sure your question won't be viewed as a duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 14:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I tried to generalize the title a bit, to make this more useful for any future similar situations. If you feel my edit changed your intent, by all means feel free to roll back or better yet, edit further. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Thats fine, thank you :) I'm slowly learning but welcome any edits. $\endgroup$
    – FreeElk
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


I agree with Secespitus' comment.

You should always strive to ensure that edits don't invalidate existing answers.

Sometimes, that means to swallow your pride and accept that the question turned out differently than you intended. I've had that happen to myself on more than one occasion, not just here on Worldbuilding.

Rather than making an edit that invalidates existing answers (even more so when you know it does rather than just that it might), you should leave the question as it is, maybe even add a point such as (in this case) "if you feel FTL drive makes this easier, then you may use that in your answers". Since you have already edited the question in this particular case, this likely means either rolling back or changing that part further. Then, post a new question, which posits from the beginning a universe in which FTL drive does not exist. Link to your previous question. Point out the difference. Highlight it, put it at the top, as a heading, whatever it takes, but make sure that people know about the difference of the two seemingly very similar questions up front. By having such a key difference, the two automatically are non-duplicates, because answers valid to one are not valid to the other.

Alternatively, if you have received answers to your current question that (inadvertantly) do match your criteria, then you can simply accept such an answer, and ask follow-up questions based on the choices made in that answer.

  • $\begingroup$ Should I go back and change it back? $\endgroup$
    – FreeElk
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 20:32
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @FreeElk I can't tell you what you should do, but if it was me, I would most likely change the question to specifically allow for both FTL- and non-FTL answers, and treat it as such; then later post a new question (showing what you've learned from the previous one!) specifically asking for non-FTL answers only. Or, you could take one of the non-FTL answers (if any; I haven't checked) given to your current question, and ask follow-up questions about implications of that. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 20:37

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