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Hello, I recently added a question to the site and then after getting 3 answers realized I wanted to ask another question in the same context that was so similar that I'd prefer the two to stay together. (Kinda like "how does Foo affect Bar" and then thinking "How does Bar affect Foo")

I have seen a feature request for a notification to be sent to all answer-authors when the question is changed. This can add a lot of noise notifications though. For instance, on the Books About Unicorns question with 80 answers, if all you want to do is make a slight spelling correction on the question it would notify 80 people. These 80 people of course do not care.

So I suggest a new feature. The "Notify Answer-Authors" checkbox. When editing, you can check this box and it will give a notification to all answer-authors that the question has changed so that they can update their answers accordingly.

I suggest these rules though:

  1. Only the question-author can check it (or maybe a new 5k rep power?)
  2. If an question is owned by the community, then it is not available
  3. If the question has more than 15 answers total, or more than 5 answers with 2 or more votes then the box is not available(which implies that they should make a new question since there are "good" answers on this one already)
  4. Answers owned by the community do not get notified.
  5. Possibly provide an opt-out checkbox for answer-authors(either per-answer or in their profile). I can't see any real use for this though other than people like Jon Skeet who would get 10 of these notifications per hour.
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I like this. Although I would lower the rep requirement to something like 1 or 2k. At that point you've invested enough time on the site that you should be able to use the power wisely. –  Holocryptic May 14 '10 at 1:42
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@Holo I mean the OP would always be able to do it(or maybe at like 100rep or something) but when people edit the question they won't see the option to notify until 5k or something like that –  Earlz May 14 '10 at 1:45
    
Maybe I'm just being dense right now. If the OP can always do it, why introduce a new rep barrier? Right now other people can edit questions at 2k. Am I totally missing the point? –  Holocryptic May 14 '10 at 2:11
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If this gets implemented without an opt-out option, I'll leave the site forever... FOREVER! –  jmfsg May 14 '10 at 2:30

2 Answers 2

Not just "No.", but "Hell, No!".

This is a matter of etiquette: you owe the authors of the existing answers a reasonable chance to profit from their efforts. Providing a tool to facilitate bad manners is strongly counter-indicated.

If you wrote the wrong question and don't fix it instantly, you have two choices:

  • If the change is small, go ahead and change it. But, don't change the text so that the original question is no longer evident, and do admit to the change upfront. Plus, you are now obligated to defend the people who answered you original question from spurious downvotes.
  • If the change is large or would render some answers completely wrong, you're stuck with the original version. Let that be a lesson to you on the value of asking questions carefully in the future. You can ask a followup, though you'd be well advised to link the first version and explain that you asked the wrong variant the first time.
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About the first choice. If you added a secondary closely related question, it'd be really handy to be able to notify the few answers you already got so they could update their answer to include the secondary one. –  Earlz May 14 '10 at 7:42
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@Earlz: No. No push content. You don't get to draw my attention to your questions. You never have any kind of claim on another users time, effort, or attention. None. –  dmckee May 14 '10 at 14:08

I completely agree. I have often edited a question slightly, enough to change the meaning a bit, and wished the answerers would change their answers.

I'd upvote this question except I have no up button.

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High contrast mode? –  Earlz May 14 '10 at 7:40
    
@Earlz: Opera Mini :) –  uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN May 14 '10 at 16:19

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