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The question that has made me think about this is What is an inexpensive and non-electric way to warm my sheets before getting in them?

If you look at the edit history, I initially posted an answer to the question before any edits were made. Then after I had left the question, OP added a constraint that directly invalidate my answer, which then led to my answer being downvoted.

My thoughts are that the answerer should not be punished, when the initial question is pretty clear (I agree that the fault lies with the answerer when attempting to answer a vague question, as stated in this meta post).

  • Should this sort of editing be allowed?

  • If so, should it be made more clear that the constraints were added as an afterthought?

  • If not, where do we draw the line between adding clarity, and changing constraints?

  • Would it be more appropriate to leave a comment on the answer adding the constraint, and waiting for a more appropriate answer to accept

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    Look over in Meta Stack Exchange. Your question is more about SE then lifehacks. A little look around and you should find your answer. I think a short answer would be, yes it is allowed, it is really only a minor problem that has no real good solution. Don't worry about points so much, if your active loosing a couple here and there is not a big issue. – Jon Dec 10 '14 at 4:12
  • I'm not that fussed over the -2 rep I lost, I just feel that changing a questions context so vastly shouldn't be accepted. It is a little frustrating when people just assume you haven't read though! I think one solution could be to freeze downvotes for a limited time to allow the answerer to optionally review their answer after an edit has been made, or even just a notification of edit would be nice! – Adi Bradfield Dec 10 '14 at 4:21
  • @AdiBradfield A freeze on votes would be a little much, as this situation rarely happens. And I don't think you want a notification every time an OP edits their post. You'd be getting lots of useless ones :) – Zach Saucier Dec 10 '14 at 4:23
  • @AdiBradfield You can suggest such a feature at Meta Stack Exchange, they would also be able to give you the answer you need. – Jon Dec 10 '14 at 4:34
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OP of the linked question here. This question has already been discussed some on SO's meta, but I think it's good to talk some more about it.


Essentially, this behavior has to be treated on a case to case basis and has a good bit of grey area.

Here are some facts about the situation:

  • The question was still pretty new (I can't see the direct time posted vs when it was edited at the moment). It was a matter of minutes after it was posted, not hours or days later that it was changed.

  • There were 0 (or maybe 1 - I can't remember) upvotes on the question at the time of editing. Thus, the community had not deemed the original question particularly useful before the edit was made.

  • The edit, while it made a category of answers less preferable, did not invalidate any answer.

  • The edit did not drastically change the nature of the question.

  • I did not make the edit in order to discredit your answer in any way. You answer made me realize that my question did not properly reflect my original intention, thus I edited my question to represent my actual intention for the question.

In the end, we usually don't make perfect questions when first posting, regardless of how many times we read over them. Sometimes we don't think of things that others do. It happens.

I'm sorry that someone downvoted your answer because of it, but it's only two internet points anyway. You could delete your answer if you'd like to make your reputation back to what it used to be :)

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  • What if the edit does invalidate some answers? Should it still be done? I'm wondering if I should edit my original questions here based on what I feel will make them better questions to keep around as examples. – liebs19 Dec 11 '14 at 22:12
  • @liebs19 Each case must be handled by the community based on the relevant information. If the edit drastically changes the nature of the question, don't do it for sure. Otherwise it's a judgement call. Most likely, if it's been a while since you posted and there are upvoted answers, you shouldn't change the requirements of the question if it will invalidate any answers. The community has already seen value in it. However, you can edit the question to make it more clear and detailed, just don't change the nature of it. – Zach Saucier Dec 12 '14 at 1:06

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