Though only being around for a short while, I noticed that sometimes people edit the question they asked, even after one or several answers have been given. In some cases, follow-up questions that are important to answer the question correctly have been asked in the comments, and I understand that in those cases it is a good thing to clarify the original question so people can give valid answers (and I have done so too).

However, it feels like a thin line. It is possible that with the new information, some answers are no longer valid. I wonder where the line is drawn. Is it, in such a case, the one who wrote an answer 'at fault' because he/she (for example) made too many assumptions, and should have asked for clarification? Or is it perfectly fine that some answers are not really valid for a(n) (edited) question and the author is right to do so? And does it matter how much the meaning of the original question is changed?
I was wondering what is considered good practice, to take into account when or when not to edit my questions.

Related: On editing questions and invalidating answers (especially first part of the answer)


1 Answer 1


It's not considered kind or polite to invalidate existing answers by altering a question

Responders have spent time and effort to answer a question. Changing a question to invalidate their time/effort is rude and disrespectful of their time. That said, there are times when a clarification needs to be made and that same clarification causes some answers to be fully or partially invalid. Avoid invalidating answers as much as possible but it's sometimes unavoidable. Fine.

If answers are invalidated, in whole or in part, the kind thing to do is leave a comment on the invalidated answers to let the responder know about the change. This indicates that the asker respects the responders time and effort.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ There's probably something about the extent of the answer, too. Invalidating a two-sentence answer and invalidating a long, carefully-written answer full of MathJax feel like different cases. $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2017 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ You make a good point about leaving a notification comment regarding the changes. Many people do not do that even after substantial changes in their question. $\endgroup$
    – Olga
    Nov 1, 2017 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio a two-sentence answer should probably be deleted as VLQ, so not really a problem at all. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Nov 6, 2017 at 12:36

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