Our current policy is that if there is a question with an upvoted answer, the asker should not edit that question to clarify his intention if it invalidates the answer. In my experience, when that happens, someone usually rolls back the edit.

But what should we do when there is an answer to a question that "answers" the question by pointing out how the question never really gets started. This might be the case for the specific example that the OP is asking about; nonetheless, the question might still be an interesting question regardless of the situation. Can the OP edit the question in that case to invalidate a positively-received answer, or should the OP ask a new question?

The example that triggered this question is this revision which was made after this answer. I was about to roll back the revision to the question, but since the answer circumvents the question to begin with, I wanted to ask the Meta community first.

  • 2
    In that particular case the edit to the question came in 41 seconds before the upvote. I think removing the answer is hence not in violation of the standing policy.
    – Double AA Mod
    Mar 8, 2016 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


Here are my thoughts, which I took my moderator cap off to think and post. (The cap restricts thought, as various users have long suspected.)

The Meta post you link to has been accepted by the community, and the criterion is that the post is [net-]upvoted. I didn't upvote the sacramental-exemption answer, and don't think it was a great one (because, as you note, it deals with a particular situation mentioned in the question rather than the more interesting, more general question). But the community disagrees with me sufficiently to trigger the criterion for disallowing question edits. So that's it.

In other words, you ask whether a answer of this sort should be an exception to the usual criterion, but I say that the usual criterion (votes) already takes into account the fact that an answer is of this sort.

If that situation is unsatisfactory, try to get the criterion changed.

  • @DoubleAA put a comment pointing to this meta-post. I think that putting a comment on the original answer pointing to the edit is a good policy. Often the edit is done while the answer is being typed. I edited the answer in order to address the edit and marked the original. I think that the new answer now addresses both situations. I also edited the question on Law to be more general (that question asked if there were exemptions in various jurisdictions). Mar 8, 2016 at 17:32

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