I guess such question may have been asked before, but I was not able to find it using search field on meta.

What should we do if a user edited his/her question after it was answered?

  1. Edit your answer so it fits the new question?
  2. or gently suggest OP to rollback his/her edit,
  3. or if (2) does not work, rollback the edit yourself (?),
  4. or do something different..?
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ See meta.stats.stackexchange.com/q/2888/17230. I think it's hard to give a general answer to this: it depends whether the edits leave your answer making any sense or not, & on whether your answer to the older version would lose worth something preserving if you changed it. Most OP's will see the point in not making a moving target of their q. & collaborate in coming up with a satisfactory solution. $\endgroup$ Jul 20 '16 at 16:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Leaving it untouched seems contrary to the goals of CV. I would be inclined to delete the answer rather than get involved in toing-and-froing with the OP. $\endgroup$
    – mdewey
    Jul 20 '16 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ I've deleted an (upvoted) answer on SE because the OP changed the question to something quite different. That left the question referring negatively and cryptically to an answer that almost no-one can see, but life is short. But this is exceptional: many more times OPs have improved their questions by giving more detail and clarifying obscurities, which is more than fine. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Jul 20 '16 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ It's a personal rule of thumb never to rollback a rollback, even if you are convinced that it is wrong or misguided. At most leave a firm comment disagreeing. In short, edit wars must be avoided. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Jul 20 '16 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Meta SE has some discussion about it: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/43478/… $\endgroup$
    – Firebug
    Jul 21 '16 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ @NIckCox: With regard to roll-backs - It's perhaps worth pointing out that moderators can lock posts if the OP's unco-operative & won't accept any version of the q. that preserves the sense of existing answers. That's rather a last resort, & I've done it just once, as I remember, for one hour. $\endgroup$ Jul 22 '16 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Scortchi That's helpful. (In the most recent personal experience I improved, as I thought, the OP's style, syntax, spelling and punctuation, but that was reversed. It was evident that the OP wasn't fluent in English. It's possible that they were sensitive or indifferent to such points, so I registered a mild protest and left it there.) $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Jul 22 '16 at 11:48

I've done different things in different circumstances.

  • Sometimes I edit my answer to follow the question. This strategy is good if the updated question/answer is a better pair of posts (more likely to be useful to others) than the originals were. For example if the original answer points out an idiosyncratic misunderstanding in the question, I'm usually happy to move the answer. However, if it continues to happen that the question changes substantively I tend to ask the OP to instead post a new question.

  • On occasion -- especially if the original Q & A were good -- I roll-back and ask the OP to post a new question (or if I have a sense that the OP would respond, I ask the OP to roll-back and post a new question -- it's better not to fiddle with questions if the OP can be induced to do so)

  • a few times I have simply edited some of the original question back in (to the question or more typically as a quote into my answer) -- this makes sense as long as that part of the answer has some value. I sometimes do the same with comments I respond to.

Sometimes I have done other things.

Where possible, good questions/answers should be retained and questions should correspond to answers. As long as we try to make reasonable choices I'm not sure there's much value in dictating a single policy.


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