I am asking about advice, because after a strong comment-battle with JBH in this and this question I am completely puzzlled.

The story goes like this:

  1. I have asked a question about killing all humanity, but leaving buildings intact.
  2. This question received two good answers of pulsar radiation and alien invasion.
  3. I have then asked another question. It is bad, because it includes five separate questions.

We agree with JBH that second question must be deleted as of a very poor quality.

We completely disagree what to do with first question:

  • JBH insists on editing this question into first of five asked second question and asking four more separate.
  • I am more than sure that first question shouldn't be touched at all and five separate questions must be asked instead.

Doing what JBH suggests is completely against what I was told in SE for past 5-7 years of contribution. We will end up with upvoted question asking about lava flood which has upvoted answers on pulsar radiation and aliens invasion. This is pointless for me tottally.

Please, advice which descision here is good? Is it OK to run into situation, in which reedited question asks about something completely different than already posted answers?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ (a) Who are "we?" (b) Your story has changed. (c) What I said in my last comment to your 2nd question was "re-write the first to ask one question, then post four more." (d) The complaint that popular questions should not be closed is, itself, popular - and the Stack's consistent response is popularity doesn't vacate the rules. (e) Editing is encouraged on SE. (f) The point of closing Qs is to edit them before more answers come in. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 3, 2020 at 14:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JBH changing a story in a separate question should not change the original question. If an edit would invalidate answers, that edit would be rolled back. If that is not the case then disregard this comment. $\endgroup$ Sep 3, 2020 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH "We" is you and me. We disagree. You insist on completely rewriting the question even if that will invalidate already existing answers. I disagree on that. We have a different opinions on the same subject and thus we disagree each other. Gosh, I didn't now that even such thing needs clarification. Edit is encouraged on SE, but it was never encouraged to make edits that completely change the meaning of the original question, making it sounding like a brand new question -- what you suggested and confirmed in above comment. $\endgroup$
    – trejder
    Sep 3, 2020 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Renan That is exactly this case. The question asks about general ways of killing all humanity and received such answers. JBH insist on re-editing this question into first of my five-question list and thus into asking about flooding entire planet surface with lava. For me this is a completely different question that should -- by all means -- be asked as new one. JBH insists into editing, so I asked here which one of us is correct. $\endgroup$
    – trejder
    Sep 3, 2020 at 18:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don't believe there's a comment in those chains where I claim you should rewrite your entire question. @Renan's right that we don't prefer to invalidate answers - but we have done so (it's not as uncommon as you might think), especially when the question was closed and (Renan) can't be or shouldn't be reopened until the close reason is addressed - even if that invalidates answers. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 3, 2020 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ I asked who "we" are because your post states, "We agree with JB that...." $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 3, 2020 at 23:07

1 Answer 1


It's really neither "OK" nor "not OK" to "run into a situation". The situation simply is. So I don't really quite understand what you mean by that.

Anyway, I'm not sure if there's an Officially Recognised Rule on the matter, but we (WB.SE) do consider it bad form to so completely overhaul a question, usually by changing a key proposition of the question, such that one or more answers are invalidated.

It's entirely reasonable to request clarification from the editor: is it vandalism or is it enthusiastically misguided editing? It's also entirely reasonable to revert the edit.

I concur that nothing needs to be done with Question 1. It was closed as duplicate and has answers, so should not be fundamentally altered. Though do note that you edited the Title after getting three answers. Possibly because no one answered with volcanoes. Basically, subsequent questions do not have any direct bearing on previous questions.

As for what to do with Question 2. Well, I see six different questions there. The Title is one, and the list is the other five. That's the dictionary definition of a question being "not sufficiently focused" and should be closed until fixed.

I think you have two viable solutions:

  1. Edit the question so that you get rid of the list of five and focus on the Title: Can I do this? Then, ask the other questions in line: 1, 2, 5, 3, 4 is the order I'd suggest.
  2. Alternatively, you could close the main question and edit in such a way that those questions become conditions by which you'll measure any answer. Example: "Can I do this ... ? // The best answer will touch on each of these five criteria: sufficiency of volcanoes; natural or artificial explanations for how they all blow at the same moment; etc."

I'd prefer option 2 myself, as it seems more likely to yield exciting and creative answers that span multiple sub-issues.

Take Away Lesson
Learn and follow the Rules. Alternatively: Learn how to bend the Rules without breaking them.


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