There is a hypothetical user on Software Engineering. Let's call him Devorlor. He asked some bad questions, but despite this, he received some very useful and upvoted answers.

This hypothetical user was banned from asking questions on Software Engineering, and was encouraged to edit his questions. There is a problem with this. In order to make his questions good, he will have to make the answers to their respective question lose their context.

Making the good answers lose context could make them perceived as bad answers, as they will no longer have answered the question.

How can this hypothetical user change his questions in a way that will not make the answers wrong? Would a disclaimer in the question be the way to go?

On a side note, is this why users comment the answer to bad questions opposed to officially answer them?

For example, HTML and CSS required for .NET Development is a bad question, because it is opinion-based. The user could make it a more directed question, such as "Why is HTML and CSS required for .NET?" and provide specifics as to not make it too broad. But if this is done, then the awesome answer becomes just plain bad. Please note that this is just an example, and my question is not about this post in particular.

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    This can't really be addressed in the hypothetical. We'll need to see specific questions, with specific answers, to try to say how the questions can be improved without invalidating the answers (or whether invalidating an answer would be appropriate in context). – Servy Jun 2 '15 at 19:17
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    The typical advice is to not invalidate answers when you edit a question (that goes for everyone - the original asker as well as other editors). However, when you run up against a question ban, there's not much to do. I've never been question banned, but I understand it considers all of your contributions, so you can get it lifted by answering questions. But that means finding questions that you can answer, writing answers, and possibly getting up votes on them. Perhaps a hard problem. – Thomas Owens Jun 2 '15 at 19:26
  • @ThomasOwens Thanks. And I am trying. I am 1 for 1 on my answers so far :-) But I don't want to punish others on my road to redemption, hence this question. The questions are so bad, I don't really see them being fixed without changing the fundamental context of the questions. – Evorlor Jun 2 '15 at 19:28
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    @Servy Probably the questions here, particularly the downvoted ones. – Joshua Dwire Jun 2 '15 at 19:42
  • consider editing the question to explain whether "restarting at a rate one question a week" is an option for said hypothetical user or not – gnat Jun 2 '15 at 20:01
  • I, for one, welcome our new esncit devorlors. – Jason C Jun 2 '15 at 20:17
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    @gnat Please note, my question is not about having this user's ban lifted. That aside, I read the linked post (twice). I do not understand what you are suggesting. Are you saying the user should delete and recreate their account? – Evorlor Jun 2 '15 at 20:18
  • if the salvaging edits are blocked by existing answers, why not. Post I linked to in prior comment is sorta official - written by a director of Stack Overflow communities, I guess it means this way out is legitimate – gnat Jun 2 '15 at 20:26

Short answer: No.

Once someone posts an answer to your question, your ownership in what will hopefully become a lasting artifact on the site is now half. Once two answers are posted your ownership in that page is about a third, and so on, and so on.

Don't deprecate great information in an effort to improve bad. If the answers really wouldn't apply to the same questions you might ask today after learning a bit, contact us directly and let us know you want to improve some questions but fear deprecation of some really good answers. Let us take a look at them case-by-case, and we'll do our best to help you.

Include the following:

  • Link to each question
  • Link to the answers it received that would break badly, and a terse explanation of why

This is not a promise of a fix, just an offer that we'll try.

There's no other 'blanket' guidance to give here, unfortunately, other than there's no greater annoyance on our sites than spending 20 minutes on an answer and then noticing that the question completely changed.

You're definitely doing right by the site and your presence of mind to ask this strongly suggests that you really care about it, I'm pretty sure we can help.


You can see this for reference, there is a real chance to get unbanned, when your posts get good votes. What happens to folks who get question banned, by and large?

Now, the question is, how bad is the situation ? How many upvotes have you received in total ? How many downvotes ? How many questions have you asked (a lot of 0 voted questions low view questions also can result in q-bans)?

The question that you linked is unlikely to be salvaged and reopened, it may even be offtopic in it's nature consider the https://meta.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic section of the meta exchange (replace start of the url with your SE-Platform), to see what's ontopic. You could try to refomulate it, with better formulated and specific questions, that are less opinion based.

But if all your questions are unlikely to be salavaged, your best strategy may be to answer questions. Even if you are desperate for upvotes, don't post quick unrefined answers without thinking, this may earn you more downvotes than upvotes. Don't answer questions that are going to be closed, you risk getting downvoted for answering offtopic or low quality questions.

If you need quick access to questions and your job relies on it, you can delete your account on one plattform and start over with the same google/facebook/email adress, this will retain your connections to other SE platforms. This does not comply with agb however.

You should also consider that asking questions during jobtime, with time pressure especially for beginners in the business will do you more harm than good. Researching the question with a combination of trial and error will likely bring you quicker results than asking a desperate and unrefined question during the job.

If you want to ask on SE and are unexperienced, consider doing so in your freetime, you are less under (time) pressure and have more time to formulate and think about your question before really asking it.

After a while when you have read some other questions/answers that were high voted and you achieved good results yourself and don't get downvoted as much anymore, because your quality improved, you can consider using SE during work, because now you know the drill and are less likely to run into a Q-Ban.

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