What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 128 Stack Exchange communities.

Questions often get edited after you answer them. Some edits are insignificant, but there are edits that change the question significantly enough to warrant a change of the answer.

It would be nice to get notifications of edits that could potentially change the relevance of your answer. This would give you an opportunity to improve your answer in response to an edit.

However, there is a clear danger of "false positives" here: too many notifications reduce the chance of spotting the relevant ones. That's why I think that notifications should be added only when

  1. The edit to the question is done by the author of the original question1,
  2. The edit resulted in creation of a revision, and
  3. The edit is posted after your last edit to the answer.

The first condition makes sure that the edit could be potentially significant; the second rule reduces the chance of duplicate notifications; the third one removes notifications when the system is nearly certain that you have seen the edit (because you updated your answer after the edit to the question)2.


1 This rule can be bypassed for community WIKI questions.

2 I admit that the heuristic approach above may not be ideal, so an alternative way of identifying "significant" edits could be designed. For example, the site could offer the OP an opportunity to notify authors of the answers of the change to the question with a dialog box or something similar, for example, like this:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Should the authors of the answers be notified of this edit to your question?

       [Yes, please notify them]   [No, this edit is not significant]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

As much as I would like to be notified, I can see a lot of problems with this in actual practice. I could see a lot of OPs sending out notifications for trivial edits (because it seems important to them, or they just choose a button to click) or not sending a notification for significant edits ("I won't want to bother everyone"). If posters could be trusted to use this notification properly I think it would be a great feature, but I just don't see that happening.

Also keep in mind there shouldn't be edits made that entirely invalidate answers. If such an edit would be that dramatic it likely means it should be a new question. This means that, even with the heuristics you've given, most of the edits to the OP shouldn't be invalidating your answer (even after the filters you've listed).

All in all I imagine the rate of false positives being greater than the rate of legitimate positives, or at least high enough that this feature wouldn't be all that useful.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .