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I have sensibly answered the sensible question of an OP only to find that another member, like myself, has edited not only the structure of the OP's question but also edited the Question Header such that the nature of the Question has changed.

The editor has then answered the edited question.

This, of course, makes my answer invalid and the editing person has thus answered, in effect, their own question.

The Edited Question Mr Editor wants to discuss keeping the ritual of the sabbath and I had already answered the enquirer's stated question, which is a more fundamental matter of personal faith.

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    Do you have an example? By "heading" do you mean the title of the question? Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/132346/… We do generally prefer that edits not invalidate answers but if the question was very unclear to start with, it might be better to wait for clarification before answering.
    – Catija
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 21:17
  • @Catija Your link answered my question. Thank you.
    – user372313
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 21:23

2 Answers 2

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Edits and edit suggestions may include all parts of the post - title, body, tags.

Any user can edit these sections though users with insufficient reputation will have to wait for their edits to be approved by users with access to the suggested edit review queue. As you may have noticed, I edited the question title for you, so it's certainly possible and quite common.

In general, we try to avoid invalidating answers when we edit questions but that isn't always possible, particularly early in the question's life cycle or if the question is closed for some reason. It's also important that you base an your answer on the question body and title. Many, many times I've seen people write answers that clearly show they haven't read the entire question. If this is the case, editing the title actually helps the question be more clear and it is a good edit. Titles are difficult to write and people often write them first, write a question body that ends up not actually matching the title, but don't edit the title to match.

If an edit to a question by another user without input from the OP (comments, for example) invalidates your answer, it might be good to ask the OP if the edit reflects what they're actually asking. In that case, it seems like (without a specific example) it might be some heavy-handed editing that may need to be rolled back. In an extreme case of this, you could even go to the sites child meta to ask for help deciding what should be done about the edits to the question.

If the OP makes the edits (particularly if the question was closed and then reopened), you should consider rewriting your answer to reflect the updated question information.

Be cautious about answering questions that aren't clear, though, as clarifications can easily invalidate answers but the clarifications aren't necessarily changing the question, they're merely explaining it more precisely.

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    No. MSE is... complicated. It's the only meta site where you can lose reputation for downvotes like a regular main site. Voting on other meta sites doesn't earn or cost you reputation. If you have a site-specific question (like asking the "hey, someone edited this question I answered and it seems to have invalidated my answer and really changed the question, should it be rolled back?) this belongs on that child (per-site) meta where the users can directly address your question. I don't think your general question is worth a downvote but you do seem to be asking two questions.
    – Catija
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 22:08
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    Hopefully, people will explain their downvotes but, if they don't, the others can only guess at the reason. You could remove the specific case from the question here and not change the title but your title and the body's specific complaint of answer invalidation are two different things... so your question is a bit messy. What do you really want to know about - editing technicalities (can anyone edit post titles) or editing rules (can people edit questions in a way that invalidates existing answers)? Those are two very different questions.
    – Catija
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 22:10
  • Thank you for your response.
    – user372313
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 22:11
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I think that titles are the part of a question where editing by any users is the most important.

This is because it is a succinct title, that accurately summarizes the body of your question, which should help to attract the most potential answerers to your question.

I would suggest that editing titles for SE sites, so that they are sufficiently succinct and accurate, is a skill that is honed with experience so new users should be cautious when editing them.

Having some consistency in title wording also helps bring the best candidate duplicates in the right hand sidebar to the fore.

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