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What should I do if a question has changed since I answered it? The other members vote my answer down because it actually doesn't answer the current question.

This kind of editing sometimes happens with chameleon questions where the OP keeps adding new questions, making my pre-existing answer now incomplete. But another pattern is when the OP asks an "XY problem" question, an answer points it out, and he changes the question to react to that. Those answers now not only aren't answers but can look very tangential to people who don't review the edit history.

  • @ShadowWizard, I don't think this is a duplicate, though it's highly related. The focus of the "chameleon questions" question is about extricating oneself from a needy user; the focus of this question is more on the damage being done by the edit (an answer that was appropriate at the time and offered in good faith is now being downvoted because the OP edited the question to invalidate it). There's a stronger mandate here to roll back (or edit) the question than there is over on the linked question. – Monica Cellio Nov 10 '16 at 15:44
  • @MonicaCellio question is what's the reason for the edit. Many times users do it to get several questions answered in the price of one, when there is rate limiting for questions. If OP here doesn't mean those cases, then indeed it might not be exact duplicate. In such case, better edit and make it clear what kinds of edits are those. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Nov 10 '16 at 15:47
  • @MonicaCellio OK, reopened. XY problem edits are also discussed here, but maybe better have both in one place... let others decide now. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Nov 10 '16 at 16:01
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As noted in this answer, rolling back the edit is usually a reasonable response. But if you're reluctant to do that or find yourself in an edit war with the OP, another thing you can do is to edit your answer to add something like "this answer addresses the question as of revision 4". That should fend off some of the "what are you talking about? that wasn't the question" reactions. I've done this with no ill effects.

Try to state it dispassionately; don't say something like "the OP keeps changing the question and I'm done trying to keep up". You should be trying to inform readers about the context of your answer, not reprimanding the OP.

I'm talking here about an answer that was already well-developed when the question was edited. If you post a stub in pursuit of FGITW and then the question changes a couple minutes later, you should either fix or delete your answer. The intent of this suggestion (and I think your question) is to avoid punishing people who answered in good faith.

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    I'd like to understand the objections that people have, so I know whether it's something I can address. (For example, FGITW rarely happens on the sites I'm active on, so I'm glad Patrick pointed it out so I could address it.) – Monica Cellio Nov 10 '16 at 16:45
  • could you tell me how can I get the revision id and how should I link to that revision? – pt12lol Nov 10 '16 at 17:43
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    @pt12lol you can click on the "edited x hours ago" at the end of the post to get to the revision history, then each revision will have a "link" that you can copy. – Cai Nov 10 '16 at 18:34
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In general, that's not allowed - the OP of the question should not change his/her question in a way that invalidates existing answers. You can rollback the edit (if you have >2k reputation), or suggest an edit based on an earlier revision. Indicate in the edit summary that you rolled back because the scope of the question has changed and invalidated your answer.

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