If your question has no answers and only downvotes, are you allowed to completely change the question? For example, someone might ask this:

Should I begin programming with VB.NET or C++?

Then later edit the question to a completely different question:

How do I open up a new tab when pressing a hyperlink in JavaScript?

Should that be allowed if the original question had no answers and no helpful comments?

  • 2
    Do you have a link to the question?
    – jonsca
    Oct 23, 2012 at 9:45
  • No, Im just using it as an example. As one of my questions is in a similar situation. But I can alter it to still be on scope of the old question but was wondering if I was allowed to change the content of what I was asking Oct 23, 2012 at 9:47
  • 11
    No, it's not allowed. There's no reason to do this. Improve the original.
    – jonsca
    Oct 23, 2012 at 9:48
  • 2
    Reading your comment below, I understand the situation, but that instance is one that you might have to just purge and improve your others (your record doesn't look that bad, tbh, just some bad apples here and there).
    – jonsca
    Oct 23, 2012 at 9:54
  • Yeah I've edited my questions in the hopes other users will find them useful and I'm reading through the question with upvotes and the FAQs in the hopes that my newer questions will not get be banned. Oct 23, 2012 at 9:57
  • We don't ban questions. We can close or delete questions, and users can find themselves banned from asking questions. There's a difference.
    – user164207
    Oct 23, 2012 at 11:35

2 Answers 2


The official FAQ doesn't say a great deal about editing one's own questions. The most relevant part that I can see is under What if I don’t get a good answer? where it states:

First, make sure you’ve asked a good question. To get better answers, you may need to put additional effort into your question. Edit your question to provide status and progress updates. Document your own continued efforts to answer your question. This will naturally bump your question and get more people interested in it.

Neither the How to Ask page nor the Community FAQ add any further insight into what are appropriate edits to one's own questions.

The Edit questions and answers privilege states (emphasis added):

Some common reasons to edit are:

  • to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes
  • to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it
  • to correct minor mistakes or add addendums / updates as the post ages
  • to add related resources or hyperlinks

Whilst the above relates specifically to editing others' posts, I would urge you never to change the meaning of any post (including your own): it can be confusing for others who thought they had already considered your contribution (and perhaps commented or cast a vote).

Besides which, it's counterproductive for you:

  1. you would then have a (hopefully) good question with a lot of down-votes, which makes your question less appealing to people browsing question lists (and therefore less likely to be answered); and

  2. there may also be close-votes (which require 3000 rep to see), which put your good question at risk of being closed prematurely.

If the original question can be salvaged, attempt to do so with appropriate edits: it could help others who experience a similar issue in the future.

If it's unsalvageable, the appropriate action would be to flag it for closure (or cast a close vote once you gain that privilege) rather than delete.


If you have had no answers and only down votes is it allowed to completely change the questions

I can't think of one good reason to do this.

Just delete or abandon the question, and start a new one.

  • 4
    Yes but then this goes against you. I've been doing this when I've realised the next day my question was totally crap. But then just yesterday I got banned because of deleting 2 questions which had no answers and only downvotes. So the mods have re-enabled my questions and I'm in the process of altering them. But I no longer need that exact question any more. And the question I asked is not likely to help other users. Cheers for the help Oct 23, 2012 at 9:50
  • 10
    @Team just be careful to ask good questions in the future and you will no longer be in danger of getting banned. Altering a question like that is going to screw up its timeline and Google results etc. and makes absolutely no sense. If someone sees you doing it, they may assume some sort of foul play and downvote you just for that. Don't do it.
    – Pekka
    Oct 23, 2012 at 9:52
  • Okay thanks. I've edited my existing questions in the hopes they are more meaningful but have not changed the scope of the question. My original questions was about smart Tv development and starting to progam with it. Ive changed it to give some information of starting to develop but also added a question about corss platform support when using a smart tv for the web. Is this ok? Oct 23, 2012 at 9:55
  • @TeamGB It's still quite open ended and not really about a specific problem. If you can hone it down to a specific incompatibility between the two, and add specific code it would probably be stronger -- in that case it would be a radical edit, but it would be keeping with the scope and spirit of the original question.
    – jonsca
    Oct 23, 2012 at 10:02
  • stackoverflow.com/questions/12529203/… That's the link. Should I leave it as that or edit it? Oct 23, 2012 at 10:04
  • @TeamGB I think it's fine there. I think we've answered your original question anyway. I was able to find that one through your profile.
    – jonsca
    Oct 23, 2012 at 10:46
  • Yeah my original question I did a lot of research on after it got closed so that I could write an answer if anyone else needed it. So with the new one I added that info in for other uses to read. Oct 23, 2012 at 10:52
  • 1
    @TeamGB - "Yes but then this goes against you." Yes, and that's exactly how the system is intended to work. This is a feature, not a bug.
    – user164207
    Oct 23, 2012 at 11:35
  • @JackManey I know this, which is why I didn't want to delete this I'd prefer to alter my existing questions which I have done. Thanks for your help everyone Oct 23, 2012 at 12:00

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