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OK, I was trying to help this guy answer his question and I thought I gave an okay answer which is basically in line with what his original question title (see question #1114439) and later on got downvoted due to the question title got changed. Granted that my answer was now not an answer to his "altered" title, but nevertheless. Being penalize for some edit just sucks. (See the edit history to see this).

It's like asking a question about bird and got an answer regarding bird then the user change his mind to a question about dog and of course the bird answer will get downvoted. Sucks. Anyhow... I don't know how this can be fixed... Just ranting I guess.

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I feel your pain. I could upvote you, but I fear you would just loose that 8 rep rapidly again. – akarnokd Jul 14 '09 at 8:55
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Perhaps this could be resolved/addressed by putting which version of the question was current when the answer was provided. This would only appear when a question is edited, and would given the version number of the original question and possibly a link to the diff page to show the actual question that was answered.

It might be overkill though, as you could still experience the problem, it's just that it is more obvious what might have happened. Even more so given the frequency of the problem, which I suspect is not that high.

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There's a solution! I suggest writing it up as a recommendation. – Axeman Jul 14 '09 at 13:05
I like it and perhaps when the version change the answer can't be downvoted, but has a voting option to mark it for deletion. I don't think downvoting in this aspect is the right thing to do still. – Jimmy Chandra Jul 15 '09 at 3:55

The only thing you can do is edit your answer in line with the new question and hope that the down-voter comes back and reconsiders.

If the edit to the question is so drastic you can't answer it any more your only recourse is to delete your answer. The only (small) consolation is that you might get the peer pressure badge out of it.

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Okay, we could help him with 3 downvotes. At least he doesn't drop below 1 rep. – akarnokd Jul 14 '09 at 9:00
Lol, that was exactly what I did. – Jimmy Chandra Jul 14 '09 at 10:00
It's just all. – Jimmy Chandra Jul 14 '09 at 10:01
I agree. SO is not meant to be a forum of discussion, it is meant to be more like a permanent record of the correct answer to the question. If the question changes (or is clarified differently to how you expect), and your answer is now wrong, it should be down voted to indicate it's not correct. You should either delete your answer and post a new one, or update your answer to match the question. It is disheartening, but it is how it should work. – Simon P Stevens Jul 14 '09 at 10:37

From your position, there's unfortunately not much you can do. People do not always pay attention to edit histories when they downvote answers. Ideally, the OP or an editor would change the question, leaving the initial intent and then adding:


I was actually looking for the Big O performance of this algorithm, not the run time.

This would leave the important history there for voters and still direct new answers towards solving the OP's actual problem.

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As you said, most people usually don't bother to see what's been edited and so your answer that is now wrong will get spam with downvotes while you are doing something else which affect your reputation. – Jimmy Chandra Jul 15 '09 at 3:58

When you answer the question you can provide a small quote from the original question you are answering. That way it will be completely clear what you are answering.

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LoL, that's what I thought as well. Perhaps from now on, you should prefix your answer with ... in regards to your ORIGINAL question that is BLAH BLAH BLAH, here is the answer. If you choose to EDIT the question to be something else, it is not my fault, lol. Nah. – Jimmy Chandra Jul 15 '09 at 3:59

If you go around and edit the question, you could also go and edit some of the answers. At the most basic you could have the answer state that it was an answer to the way the question was originally asked, and no longer reflects the state of the question, as it is now.

This would hopefully cause the answer to get comments, instead of down-votes.

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