A couple of days ago I posted an answer to this which I believe is a better answer than the others, as it is the most general in nature. Unfortunately the question was missing a good deal of information about what assumptions should be made, and what had already been tried, so the question was put on hold.

Having said that I think it was an interesting question to which I had a novel answer. Is it OK to edit the question to fill in some of the assumptions that might need to be made for a correct solution?

I don't know how fair this is - obviously I would set up the question in such a way that my answer is clearly the correct one.

Obviously I can't truthfully add details of what the OP has already tried, as I don't have those details.

  • 2
    ask the OP in a comment to fix it up.
    – user234239
    Sep 20, 2013 at 21:04
  • 5
    Such an edit would most likely be rejected as invalid since you will be adding details that were not garnered from comments or anywhere else.
    – Josh Mein
    Sep 20, 2013 at 21:05
  • 1
    No, don't do that. That's a radical change and big risk of totally changing the meaning of the whole question. Sep 20, 2013 at 21:06
  • @UV-D there are already a good number of comments asking just this. I have to assume the OP is not really interested in removing the hold status or accepting an answer. But for completeness I did add my 2bit comment, just in case. Sep 20, 2013 at 21:09
  • OK point taken. In that case is it acceptable to wait for the question to close, then ask my own question and answer it myself, providing full information? Sep 20, 2013 at 21:14
  • related (not a duplicate): Editing Philosophy "And lastly I added a line of code to show how..."
    – gnat
    Sep 20, 2013 at 21:52

2 Answers 2


No. You shouldn't just be making things up and putting them in the question just to suit your answer. That type of information should be coming from the OP.

If you like, you can ask a new question yourself that asks the question that you want to answer, and then you can self-answer that post. If it turns out that it's the problem that the OP has, that question can just be marked as a duplicate.

As with any self answer question, I just want to caution you that it's a hard thing to do. The question and answer will be judged independently; a quality answer doesn't make a bad question good, or vice versa.

  • This needs to be broadcast widely on history.stackexchange.com/?as=1, where it has become commonplace for several users to rewrite questions, and even other's answers, to suit their own purposes. Sep 21, 2013 at 5:48
  • @PieterGeerkens You should bring up a question on that's site's meta if that's something that you've noticed.
    – Servy
    Sep 22, 2013 at 4:26

It seems like you took a very specific question and gave a general answer. In The Wikipedia of Long Tail Programming Questions Joel gives the argument that editing a question so it's more generals is a good thing

It is OK to edit a question to make it more general. With the power of editing comes the power to take someone’s selfish, very specific question, and edit it a little bit until they’re asking the more general question that hundreds of people encounter. For example, if someone asks, “I set up a web server at home but I can’t access it from work,” it’s OK to rewrite the question as, “What things should I check when a web server running at home is not visible on the Internet?” In fact, sometimes selfish, stupid questions of the “do my homework” variety can be easily edited into a form where the answer will provide an extremely valuable resource for the internet at large.

The problem is you don't have the edit privilege (this was written before suggested edits existed) so you probably wouldn't be able to now.

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