Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

Here's a situation...

I give a valid answer for a question based on what the OP posted at first. Then OP comes back and tells that this answer is not what he wanted because OP has got some more constraints/conditions (which OP didn't mention in the original question -- posted at first).

If I can update my answer based on additional conditions that OP posted then I'll usually do it. But if I do not have expertise to answer that question with the additional conditions, what should I do? Should I just delete my answer?

What's the best way to proceed in this situation?

share|improve this question
You can edit it and add details to it (with a note that this is an addition based on additional data from the OP). – Oded May 6 '12 at 11:10
@Oded: Not if you "do not have expertise to answer that question with the additional conditions". – Cody Gray May 6 '12 at 11:17
Related: Exit strategies for “chameleon questions” – Cody Gray May 6 '12 at 11:19
So this is a duplicate ... I should have guessed so. – lockstep May 6 '12 at 11:49
It's not a duplicate (as Manishearth pointed out), and I wasn't proposing it as such. – Cody Gray May 7 '12 at 9:15

Of course, this is related to Exit strategies for "chameleon questions" , as noted by TheEstablishment, but unfortunately, it's sort of useless here--since the non-dupe assumes that you can answer the new question, just that you don't want to.

It's happened to me a few times--I answer a seemingly simple question, and then the OP, on seeing my answer, clarifies the intent and makes it much more complicated.

In this case, what I do it depends upon my answer. If I gave a short answer to an exceedingly simple question, it goes down the memory hole. Actually, all short answers go down the memory hole on a change of question.

If I gave a longish answer to a not-too-complicated but hard initial question, I keep it and hat it with "this answered the original question which was blah". Usually, the post still contains some useful concepts and explanations, and while it does not answer the question, it definitely helps.

If I gave a long answer to a simple question, it really depends. I guess the checklist for keeping an answer is:

  • Does it answer the question?
  • If not, is it a significant step towards answering the question?
  • If not, does it explain relevant concepts which may help the OP understand the situation better and/or answer the problem himself?
  • If not, memory hole!

But that's just my opinion--and note that it is based on my experiences on Physics.SE--usually SO answers don't explain concepts so it may be different there.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.