This question is in line to be closed: How do I decelerate the ripening of bananas?

The reason for closure is that it's a duplicate of this question: How can I accelerate the ripening of bananas?, because you can simply do the inverse of the answers there, so it's a duplicate.

The problem I have, is that in the process of making the question a duplicate. The question asking how to accelerate bananas ripening was edited to have it include the other question. It is now: How can I accelerate/decelerate the ripening of bananas?

That seems to me like it's changing the intent of the original question, and invalidating the answers that were given to that question, just for the sake of closing a different question.

Should we be editing questions to combine them? To what extent can we be editing questions?

  • 1
    vandalism? really? possibly a bit strong of a word, no? Would "necessary" work in that tile? "acceptable?". "worthwhile?" vandalism to me is putting up junk that is simply to reduce a site's integrity.
    – Phlume
    Dec 12, 2014 at 16:53
  • @phlume You edited a question so that you could close another question. That to me reduces the sites integrity. But if I'm wrong, I would like to know, which is why I posed the question. Dec 12, 2014 at 16:56
  • 1
    Since when does a question being the exact opposite of another question make them duplicates? These look like two separate questions to me.
    – Sterno
    Dec 12, 2014 at 16:58
  • so if i go through and add a series of questions like how do i make water boil over, how do i slow down the boiling process, how do i make my hands stickier while eating apples, pomegranites and oranges... no one's gonna complain because they are all different questions, and NO ONE is going to say i'm reducing the integrity of the site? Where does it end?
    – Phlume
    Dec 12, 2014 at 17:02
  • @Phlume That's a problem with the scope being undefined then. Dec 12, 2014 at 17:04
  • I have rolled back the change and retracted my vote.. but others in the community ALSO want to close it as a dup of that so, where does that leave us? Maybe i'll stay away until scope is defined
    – Phlume
    Dec 12, 2014 at 17:04
  • 1
    "Vandalism" would be, of course, quite a strong word to use. But remember that if you are changing its title, you are making the current (posted before) answers incomplete. Thats is not fair, deviates from the OP's intent and by doing it you let all the answerers down.
    – nicael
    Dec 12, 2014 at 17:06
  • 2
    I'm still failing to see why people think that if one thing will speed up the ripening of a banana, all possible answers of slowing down the ripening are "do the opposite of that".
    – Sterno
    Dec 12, 2014 at 20:22
  • Is this a specific-question question?
    – Shokhet
    Jan 1, 2015 at 23:34

2 Answers 2


How can I accelerate the ripening of bananas? should not have been edited to expand it's scope, even if it to collapse two questions into one.

Edits aren't intended to change or expand the original intent of the question, not without the authors consent at least. Such edits should definitely be avoided after the question already has answers, which that one does. The expanded scope now makes all the current answers obsolete, which isn't a good thing.

Additionally, merging two questions into one which are asking opposite (although possibly related) related questions broadens the scope of that question. This might seem like a perfectly fine idea at first, but results in a few problems.

First, the broaden scope means each answer to be larger to be considered complete (aka address the whole question). This can result in useful information being lost if a user can answer part of the question, but not all of it.

The broaden scope can also make the answer harder to find, instead of easier. Consider the case where a user is only interested in one of the sub-questions of the merged question. In the event that each answer is complete (addresses every question in the merged question), they will need to search through a large answer in order to find the answer to their specific question.

Another possibility is that users will just post incomplete answers, which only address part of the merged question. In this case the user may not need to search through a larger answer to have their problem solved, but instead needs to search through several smaller answers to find the one answer which addresses their problem.

If the question were kept separate than the above problems go away. The user just looking how to ripen their bananas faster will come cross the relevant question and will quickly find the solution to their problem. The users who only know one answer, but not the other, will feel free to post their answer (resulting in no information being lost).


From Stack Overflow Blog:

It is OK to edit a question to make it more general. With the power of editing comes the power to take someone’s selfish, very specific question, and edit it a little bit until they’re asking the more general question that hundreds of people encounter.

  • But combining two questions? Dec 12, 2014 at 17:41
  • 2
    "Control the speed at which bananas ripen" could cover both. That said, I have no opinion on whether these should be combined or two separate questions, just wanted to provide an answer to contrast Wipqozn's, which asserted that "Edits aren't intended to change or expand the original intent of the question"; some of the best answers implicitly expand the scope of the questions they answer, and it would be silly to hide them behind a falsely-narrow question. Dec 12, 2014 at 17:44

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