I just had an answer accepted on Stack Overflow regarding an sql query. My answer was accepted, however my interpretation of the question seemed incorrect. After this was pointed out, I edited the question so my answer matched the question. The original poster thanked me, telling me directly that my answer fixed her problems, so I think that her question was mis-phrased.

Was this the proper move or should I have left the question as is?

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    Well if the answer fits the question and the asker is happy then I see no problem. It's now useful to anyone else searching for that particular problem. Each situation is going to be different, of course, but in this case it seems fine to me. – JonW Oct 14 '13 at 15:59
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    @JohannesKuhn How is this a duplicate of that? That question is about when the OP changes their original question and has nothing to do with this... – Doorknob Oct 14 '13 at 16:14
  • You are right, otoh, it can lead to a chameleon question.(invalidating other valid answers) – Johannes Kuhn Oct 14 '13 at 16:22

If you see an ambiguous question ideally you'd provide an answer for both interpretations, or make a comment asking the OP to clarify.

But if you answer a question, that you later see is ambiguous, and your answer has already been accepted (resolving the ambiguity) then there's nothing wrong with editing the question.

You're helping the Community by having an unambiguous question with a correct answer.

As you can see from your review not everyone votes to accept edits like this even though you left an informative suggested edit reason.

If your edit is not accepted you might want to ask the OP to update his question or to clarify your answer explaining exactly what you think the question was.

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If the question is unclear, it should be edited, as long as it conforms to what OP actually wants (which should first be confirmed in comments).

We can assume the accepted answer gives some indication of this, but we can't say that it matches perfectly - maybe the answer just gave OP an idea for his/her actual problem.

Bottom line - before you change too much, first make sure you're on the right track using comments.

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  • OP posted this comment on my answer: "Thank you a lot ! Problem solved !" She/He never specifically addressed any one else's direct requests asking him/her to clarify the question. – dckuehn Oct 14 '13 at 16:26
  • @dckuehn In that case - use your best judgement. If your sure enough that OP meant what you think, make the edit (and maybe leave a comment saying what you changed), otherwise, leave it as is. – Bernhard Barker Oct 14 '13 at 16:34

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