This question, for whatever reason, has rubbed me the wrong way.

The OP asked a question about how to have dynamically added inputs for a web page. After receiving several answers, he accepted one (which happened to be mine).

However, a few days later he unaccepted the answer, modified the question to have new requirements, (and yet more vague) and slapped a 500 point bounty on the question. After receiving more answers, he continually responds to inquiries by saying something like "There is no real answer! I just want to have a future reference of ideas for all to see!". Then, he modified the question a few days later with conditions on the award of the bounty.

All of this is pretty subtle, and maybe there is nothing wrong here, but it seems to take advantage of those that were truly trying to answer by modifying the requirements to generate more answers.

Maybe I feel taken advantage of after having my answer accepted and then unaccepted. I certainly don't need the reputation, and he can choose whatever answer he wishes, but it feels more like he is dangling a carrot with no solid requirements for reward and simply creating a feeding frenzy of sorts.

At the very least, I think he should have posted a new question (and told him so). Should I let it go?

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    Moving goalposts? Sounds like the work :( – user7116 May 2 '12 at 22:22
  • I'd be annoyed by it; the OP even accepts your answer in his comments. I don't see why he didn't raise a new question. I also think that, for posterity, the original question is now gone, which means that anyone else who has the same problem is now a little bit poorer. – dash May 2 '12 at 22:35
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    Honestly, that question looks like it should be closed as not a real question. – animuson ModStaff May 2 '12 at 22:44
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    @animuson: Unfortunately, you cannot close questions with an open bounty. And ironically, it became "not a real" question at the same time the bounty was applied. – Jeff B May 2 '12 at 22:46
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    Related: Exit strategies for “chameleon questions” (and the many links in its rightmost column). – Arjan May 2 '12 at 22:46
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    It should probably have been closed before the bounty was even started... It is also possible for a moderator to refund the bounty and close the question. It was never a real question to begin with, as per his first line "This is a bit of a discussion starter as opposed to a question." – animuson ModStaff May 2 '12 at 22:47
  • In that question, reading through the comments, I note capitals are used for EMPHASIS. Using capitals for EMPHASIS, especially in comments, should result in automatic consideration for closure ;-) – dash May 2 '12 at 22:51
  • Should I simply flag it for moderator attention? It seemed heavy-handed at first, but now i am having second thoughts. – Jeff B May 2 '12 at 22:53
  • @JeffB Why not? The moderators are smart and can use their own judgement to supplement yours. You've taken the time to explain the situation, and, given the downvotes that have appeared on that question, other people agree with you. – dash May 2 '12 at 22:53
  • It's a bit hard to read the changes, but maybe the only problem is that the bounty remark was not used for the bounty specifics. It's fine to me if an OP wants a more specific solution, if that does not interfere with the original question and its answers. That way the question and its different answers could become the canonical reference thingy we like so much? – Arjan May 2 '12 at 22:56
  • @Arjan that's a cool point. Maybe that's how a specific answer can evolve into a general solution. – dash May 2 '12 at 22:59
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    @Arjan: I see what you mean. I think the OP is not wanting more specific, so much as just "more". If you read his comments on answers, he says things like "There's multiple answers. I changed the question to get slightly different answers pouring in" and "Can you see if you can make a page-refresh-repost fallback for <IE9?". In a way, he is almost saying he doesn't know what his question is. He also contradicts his requirements in a number of comments and continually asks for solutions that several posters have shown to be impossible. He wants a think tank, not an answer. – Jeff B May 2 '12 at 23:03
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    "I am refunding your bounty and closing your question. Moving the goalposts is not fair to those who have already answered, and the question is not constructive as currently written." by @RobertHarvey. Yes the question had turned silly, and the bounty made it worse, good catch Jeff B. – yannis May 3 '12 at 2:59

A question should not change its meaning once it has answers, especially if one of the answers has been accepted.

Rather than changing the meaning of the existing question, the user should ask a new question, and keep the question as it was before. Questions are not for recycling, which means that once the OPs get an answer, they cannot use the questions to ask new questions.
In most cases, users who radically change a question, especially when the question is old, are users who have been blocked from asking further questions. In some cases, they are users who don't understand how Stack Exchange sites work.

Questions are intended to be useful for future readers too, not just for whoever asks them. If the question radically changes its meaning after it was answered, future users would find a question describing the problem they have, but no solution for their problem, which would make Stack Exchange sites not useful for them.


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