I'm looking at How can I manage a remote team member who appears to not be working their full hours? where the question was edited and rewritten to the point that a 160 voted answer seems to be completely out of date and a new answer with significantly less votes was accepted.

The rest of the content now seems rather messy - people are talking over eachother because they entered their posts at different points of time and the signal has gotten really muddled.

Would it make sense to revert these questions?


The benefit of this site is that we encourage people to ask questions, but also often recommend that they refine or narrow the focus. Out-of-date answers are just an unfortunate by-product of that process.

One way to protect against that is by quoting specific passages of the question to provide context for your answer. That way it doesn't look like your answer is completely bonkers, or worse, offensive.

People always have the option to revise or delete their answers, but we can't penalize the question for the mere benefit or convenience of the answers.

We could ask the OP to re-ask the question in a different post, but that's problematic for a number of reasons: we lose the context of all the answers and comments, lose the revision history, and risk that the new question will receive less attention.

The goal is to answer a question most relevant to the OP's need. If the OP has accepted an answer, then we've achieved that goal. And the other answer still gains ~1600 rep. :)

  • 2
    Yep, helped the OP, thats the main goal
    – Kilisi Mod
    Nov 15 '20 at 4:18
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    "The goal is to answer a question most relevant to the OP's need." While I agree with this, it is a point of contention that I've had in past interactions with mods. This isn't a help forum, it's a Q&A site so quality of answers for future users supposedly supercedes solving OPs problems.
    – Myles
    Nov 16 '20 at 19:01
  • Agree it's not a help forum, because we don't accept just any questions, but I would think part of the quality of answers involves revising them to fit the current question. I've seen questions have been edited down to almost nothing, and then reverted by others, so there are some cases where it makes sense. But if that started to become more common, then I think we risk discouraging people from asking questions.
    – mcknz
    Nov 16 '20 at 21:26
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    On Code Review, if the question is edited thusly that part of answers no longer apply, the edit is rolled back. We consider such edits to be invalidating the answer. This is not a problem on Workplace?
    – Mast
    Nov 19 '20 at 9:40
  • @Mast I can see how that practice makes a lot of sense for Code Review. Answer invalidation is a problem here, but I would say not to the same extent. One main difference is we work with OPs to help ask a good question, which can involve editing. On CR, the code is the code, and it doesn't make any sense to edit once posted. Not sure what the etiquette is, but I would think revised code should be a separate post. There's no perfect solution, but in my opinion, on this site at least, we should favor answering the OP's question as it evolves, and roll back edits on a case-by-case basis.
    – mcknz
    Nov 19 '20 at 9:53
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    Ah, yes. We help the OP with their question and which code to post until it's reviewable. Premature answers (posted before question is ready) should not be posted, edits to the code are no longer welcome after answers arrive. Explained here, here and here. With links to the original question, the lack-of-context problem you described is largely alleviated.
    – Mast
    Nov 19 '20 at 10:26

It depends on the source of the massive edit, and the purpose of the massive edit.

  • If the massive edit takes a off-topic question and brings it firmly into scope, then I see the benefit of the edit and see no need to rescue an answer. Though I can see adding a comment to the answer so the author can make an adjustment if they want to.

  • If the edit is done by the person who wrote the question, and it is an attempt to remove the question, then I would roll back the edit.

  • If it isn't done by the original writer, and it results in a change in scope to a question that was already on-topic, then I think about how would react if it appeared in the suggested edit queue. If I would reject it because is goes against the intent of the original writer then I would also want to roll back the edit.

  • I'd slightly modify your third point (or partially disagree with it)... If the edit results in a change in scope to a question that was already on-topic, such that it's basically asking a different question, then such an edit should probably be rolled back regardless of who the edit is by (assuming at least one answer has already been posted, at least). Nothing prevents the question author from asking a new question, if they have a question about a different aspect of the issue than what they originally asked (e.g. if the answers to their first question prompt other followup questions).
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Nov 28 '20 at 8:19
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    That is, if the question author asks about topic A, and they get several answers that address that point, maybe the question author then realizes that they actually should have asked about topic B instead. They shouldn't edit the initial question to suddenly ask about topic B instead (whether they're replacing their original question entirely, or just tacking a new question onto the same post). Even if they wrote the original question, totally changing what the question asks invalidates the existing answers - and everyone's better served by them asking their new question separately.
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Nov 28 '20 at 8:24

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