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I noticed that people have the ability to edit (and even completely change) their questions after answers have been received, which may make those answers no longer relevant. For example, someone posts a question, and while someone is writing up an answer to that specific question, the question's author completely changes the wording, unknown to the person who is currently writing an answer. Then when the answer is posted, it may not make sense any more because the wording of the question has changed (and consequently everyone votes the answer down because it now looks stupid and off-topic, etc).

Any ideas what, if anything, can or should be done about this? I think the ability to re-focus your questions is an excellent feature, but not necessarily if it invalidates what others have answered. After all, somebody did take the time to answer the question, why should their work be invalidated due to a change in the wording of the question?

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I don't think this is a problem.


  • The edit history for the question is always available. Everyone can see that the question was changed, and they can see what changed.

  • If the Q changes drastically and things are going badly for the answer, I believe the Poster of the Answer (AP, parallel of OP? :) can delete it. They could then choose to post another answer aimed at the updated question.

  • The AP can also edit their answer. Editing a Q or A unlocks the votes. So people who voted can circle back and change their votes after the edit. (Normally your vote locks in after a very brief window of time.)

  • Furthermore -- and this is probably the sharpest tool of correction -- the NE community is fast and pointy with it's comments. If someone really destroys their Q, or writes a really vague Q, people are all over it. For example, people commented on these in minutes:
    https://networkengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/819/what-are-some-good-networking-crash-course-materials-out-there
    Need some standard configurations for Cisco 1900 series router
    ...those aren't examples of what you are asking about. I'm just pointing out how fast the commentary and moderation happens on here.

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  • Additionally, I believe it would be acceptable for the AP to vote for close the question, if the OP changed the question so drastically it becomes a new question. Do you agree? – jwbensley May 22 '13 at 22:22
  • I wouldn't agree. The process of allowing the editing of Q's and A's allows the content to get better over time, even if the OP didn't really know what they were asking and the resulting question ends up being drastically different. If the new question is off-topic or otherwise out of the scope of the site, then yes, it could be closed. – YLearn May 23 '13 at 0:39
  • Do mind that edits are always reviewed, radical changes normally do not get approved. – Lucas Kauffman May 23 '13 at 8:11
  • The corollary that follows is the AP can edit the Q to fit his A perfectly! And we can't prevent that. – generalnetworkerror May 24 '13 at 6:58

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