I have asked a question in Workplace Stack Exchange, and it received good up votes and significant number of answers. The question is How can I learn from Senior team member who has fear of being replaced?. Then it is put on hold and closed. Then I have initiated a discussion thread in meta to get to know feedback about my question and to know reasons for closing. The discussion thread is Closed a question. Need help to reformat the question. I got constructive feedback and areas of improvements for my question. However if I modify the question as per the feedback the focus and question will be changed drastically and I am afraid all answers might become irrelevant to the question.

Now my specific questions are as follows:

(1) In such situation how can I edit the question. Is it OK to have answers which seems to irrelevant to the question. Will it forces all answers to modify or delete?
(2) Is it suggestible to post altogether brand new question?

  • It might be better to just ask a new question. Technically you're not supposed to make edits that invalidate existing answers, though in this case I'm not sure much would be lost. The problem here was people answering before it was clear what you're asking. – Monica Cellio Jul 25 '13 at 1:27

It looks like you're question was put on hold, edited and improved, and then reopened. However, there are 3 close votes, so some edits may help.

In general, on posts that are put on hold, I advocate that we focus on bold edits that help improve the post and make it awesome. The easiest questions to be relentless in our edits on are those that are downvoted and which have no upvoted answers. On those, the sky is the limit because when you hit rock bottom you can only go up.

But what about when there are answers?

But this does get a little dicey when there are answers. In general, if the post would likely be deleted if no one edits, then I'd say be bold in your edits, but when there are answers this gets a little tougher.

I can't say there's really a right or wrong answer to this. Me personally, I'd love it if we could just edit anyway and put the responsibility on the answerers to edit their posts, as it was them who decided to post answers on a question that doesn't quite fit the format. However, realistically speaking, this isn't always possible because the entire community must be 100% behind the idea that the answers need edits, and that can create problems if we're not unified. So in the interests of maintaining the cohesiveness of the community, if any answers have more than roughly 5 upvotes, I'd say you should try to edit your post so their answers don't become useless.

In this case, there are 7 answers, with 1 deleted post that only 2k+ users can see. Only one of those answers has any up votes. Therefore, I'd say make your edits, but only so far as to address concerns in the comments that make the community reject your post. Rewriting the entire post wouldn't be cool, nor would unnecessary edits or drastically changing the meaning of your post. But editing to keep it from being put on hold again would be awesome. Since no one has really voted on most of the answers, the edits wouldn't create any awkward situations where the top voted answer doesn't make any sense.

In summary, it just depends on the situation; use your best judgement to improve the question without creating unnecessary work for those who have already posted. Hope this helps!

Should I post a new question?

In most cases, I don't see this being necessary. That also includes this case. In most cases, if a post can't be edited, it most likely will never work out on Stack Exchange. In situations where I've seen new questions asked, either a significant amount of time went by and another user asked the question, or the original question actually contained more than one question and needed to be split into two, such as Matt Harrison's question, Is job-hopping bad for a developer's career?, and How can I use my leverage at my current employer to help create an environment with less, direct hands on management of my work?, which originally were a single question.

But, this is just based on my experience. It's entirely possible, but not always necessary. Again, I wouldn't suggest it here, as most Stack Exchange communities frown at just reposting a duplicate question, and I don't want to see your awesome efforts taken negatively. :)

Hope this helps!


I agree with @jmort253, but wanted to put it differently.

The Stack Exchange system is seen as a living thing. It has a historic quality - it's a body of knowledge that should be there for everyone, with old posts often being timeless. But it's "living" in the sense that the goal of each question is to get a helpful answer that can help others.

If the question is too open ended, opinion based, or too specific to a given case, it won't be useful to the community and should be edited. Regardless of the presence or absence of answers. If the question can't meet the goal of generating useful, votable answers, it won't survive - it'll get marked for deletion, at which point, any relevant answers will disappear along with it. And even if the question should survive, if the answers aren't helping you, then they aren't helpful answers, and the question needs to be updated to clarify what you are looking for.


(1) In such situation how can I edit the question. Is it OK to have answers which seems to irrelevant to the question. Will it forces all answers to modify or delete?

Edit the question.

If there are some answers that you find helpful, tune your question to preserve and align with these useful answers. But if you aren't getting helpful answers, clarify the question, the answers will take care of themselves.

Answers can be flagged and edited by users with a certain reputation level, and posters can delete their own posts. When a question is updated, it bumps up to the top of the list again, so it won't linger in obscurity.

What generally happens, is that the useful answer set gets upvoted, and thus rises to the top of the page. Irrelevant answers get downvoted and often deleted - so the community prunes this information, much like the first attempt at a question.

(2) Is it suggestible to post altogether brand new question? discussion

If you can save the question, I'd recommend it. The edit to the question is viewable, so those of us that read the site frequently can put it in context and understand how it's evolved.

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