This question is different from this one here. I'm asking "Why". And, putting a tag of 'feature request' to improve this site.

It has happened with me a couple of times. I answer the question and then after some hours or even days, the question is 'entirely' changed invalidating my answer. This might have happened with new users here as they are advised to improve their question (for better clarity) by seniors on this site, which is absolutely fine. But then, there should be some system that notifies all the answerers so that they can improve their answers as well (depending on the change).

One such example is here. This question first asked 'object' and its verb. Now which object was not so clear as the picture first showed a girl, a bag, infusion set, peripheral venous catheter etc. Since asked by a layperson, I answered it 'bag' and 'intravenous' or 'infusion'.

But then, after a day, the OP comes with a new image now clarifying what exactly he wants. I'd have answered 'IV bag' at first, if this image could have been in the original question.

This is okay in normal cases, but then, in some unfortunate cases, changing the question invalidates the answer completely. And then, it starts attracting downvoting.

There should be a system (and it does not take much pain) wherein the 'answerers' are notified whenever the question is being changed. 'Edit' in questions are not that frequent but whenever there are, they are the crucial ones.

  • 5
    Some people have answered hundreds and thousands of questions. Do you really think they want to be alerted for every single copy edit?
    – ale
    May 7 '15 at 10:26
  • I'm one of them! But if those hundreds of answers have thousands of comments, and each time, I'm notified, how about it? @AlE.
    – Maulik V
    May 7 '15 at 11:28

the question is 'entirely' changed invalidating my answer

Well, that shouldn't happen in the first place. The question should be reverted to the original state if the question was rock-solid clear.

If the question was unclear, maybe you answered too soon, going on too little information.

That said, there is already a way to monitor questions, and that is starring it (marking it favorite). All changes will be put (unobtrusively) in the favorite tab.

If you'd check that every day, you will see what happened to the question. I think 'real' notifications shouldn't be necessary that much. Usually OP will leave a comment on a clarification request. In short: there is no need for a notification.

  • 2
    I'd say that rolling back should not be the correct course of action in all cases. The OP's question suggests that the question changed due to clarifying an unclear question. If that invalidates an answer, it shouldn't be reverted. May 7 '15 at 8:29
  • @psubsee2003 you are right. My bad. Updated my answer to correct that. May 7 '15 at 8:31
  • I use 'favorite' for those that are 'really' favorite of mine. How is it possible to favorite 'every question' I answer? I also answer 'normal questions'
    – Maulik V
    May 7 '15 at 11:27
  • On ELL, users generally don't leave any remark and that's the sole reason, I'm asking for the feature to be added. Strange, even suggestions get downvoted here! :)
    – Maulik V
    May 7 '15 at 11:30
  • 3
    @MaulikV please learn about the culture of a site. If you read What's Meta from the help center, you will see that voting is different on Meta. The downvoters may just be expressing their disagreement with your proposal - effectively saying "this is not needed" May 7 '15 at 14:49

There are three kinds of edits:

  • (the vast majority) those that make the question clearer, and don't affect the validity of your answer
  • those that make an answerable question into a different answerable question, invalidating answers - these should generally be rolled back
  • those that make an unclear unanswerable question into an answerable question, invalidating some of the "psychic debugging" answers already posted, or requiring an edit of some sort to the answer to keep it synced up

The first thing to realize is that no software can distinguish among these, so if you were notified of edits, many users would drown in notifications of irrelevant edits to the hundreds of questions they've answered. The cost (annoying notifications) outweighs the benefit.

The second thing to notice is that you do get a sort of notification - the downvote. Whenever I get one I go and look at it - perhaps I was wrong, perhaps my answer isn't as clear as it should be - perhaps the question has morphed. If your answer doesn't get downvoted after the question is edited then there's a really good chance that you don't need to know about the edit. I agree it's not 100%, there might be edits that you would have liked to know about, but not enough of them to justify the constant nattering about irrelevant edits.

Finally, if you think the question is likely to be edited, you can use the existing "favorite" mechanism and then you'll be notified of changes to it. I don't use this myself but it's clear many people do.

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