Scenario. Person answers a question with a reasonable answer for the question as it appears and it gets upvoted. The OP comes back later and changes the question so that the answer is now clearly wrong. You answer the updated question, again correctly but based on the updated question, but your answer appears after the other answers. Do you downvote the other (incorrect) answer so that your (correct) answer appears above it in the vote list?

Does your answer change based on whether you've edited the question to clarify it (thus making the other answer wrong)?

  • I think that is Immoral and Selfish ... I like it! (Yes, I'm Kidding....) Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 15:58
  • I solve this problem by editing the question so none of the other answers make sense and letting the community sort it out. Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 16:00

4 Answers 4


Just for politeness sakes I would leave a comment saying that the answer is wrong and may need revising based on the new information.

But if the answer is wrong based on the new information, you could also down vote the answer "conditionally" and if they revise it, remove the downvote. I think overall that would be best practice. Downvotes are also a good way to attract the author's attention that something is up.

  • I like the idea of going back and removing it. Not sure that I would always think to check, though.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 16:07
  • 4
    But isn’t there a time limit for removing down-votes? That would thus make it impossible to remove the down-vote if they don’t revise it fast enough (not everybody lives solely on these sites, 24h/day).
    – Synetech
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 16:09
  • I tend to leave a comment, then leave the question open in a spare tab for a while to see if the answerer will fix it soon, if not, I do as TheTXI suggests... Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 16:47

I don't have a single answer for this... I've probably done a bit of everything.

If i just come upon a question and don't realize it's been edited, i might well down-vote a now-bogus answer. Even if i'm posting one of my own.

If i've edited the question myself, i probably won't downvote anything (though like TheTXI, i might leave a comment somewhere).

I might just edit the answer, if it was correct, and i know what correct should look like under the new question...

And i might just down-vote everything and post/edit nothing. Some Q&A just inspires that.


If its obvious that the answer no longer is answering the question, but definitely was a great answer at one time, I would most likely give it an up-vote and then add a comment about needing to update it a bit...

I can't think of a time where i would punish someone for an answer that was no longer relevant due to an edited post.

Heck, I might even take the opportunity to answer the question myself too...

  • If the answer still applied but was incomplete, I wouldn't downvote. The situation that I'm thinking of is where the answer is clearly wrong.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 17:55

(Does this really happen?)

I rarely come back to a question after I answered it, so I wouldn't know it was edited

  • Example: stackoverflow.com/questions/1207312/… and, yes, I did downvote and leave a comment.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 16:03
  • 2
    Tons. People type in a question with not nearly enough information to divine what the heck they are talking about. People try to answer, then the questioner realizes everyone has the wrong idea and changes the question.
    – Nosredna
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 17:28
  • There's a huge incentive to answer quickly for points, too. I often type a 10-word answer just to get the real estate. It's like Monopoly. Then I edit to get my real answer in there. Snooze and you lose.
    – Nosredna
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 19:47

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