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If I have no appropriate answer for a question on Stack Overflow, is it okay to edit my question to fit one of the answers in order to accept it, or I have to forget about this question?

Here is an example of a question I like to edit to fit one of the answers. However, I am not looking for an anwer for a specific case...

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    Can you show the question in question? – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Apr 30 '11 at 9:17
  • I clicked on the link, expecting to go to the question you're talking about. But instead, I landed on the Stack Overflow homepage. Not very useful, I think we all know how to get there if we're browsing this site. – Cody Gray Apr 30 '11 at 9:46
  • I've edited the question to include an example .. – Akram Shahda Apr 30 '11 at 10:09
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I don't think you need to change the form of the whole question to accept an answer. You could simply add a note to your question and accept an answer. The answer you accepted has to the be the one that helped you the most. Either in solving your problem directly, or putting you on the path to solving it.

  • "The answer you accepted has to the be the one that helped you the most." -- This can actually be counter to the goals of SE. In XY problem type questions, the answer that most helps the asker may not be the answer that most helps the broader community. In fact, it has been pointed out that others are frequently disappointed with the answer that has been accepted, suggesting that question/acceptedanswer mismatch may cause people some grief. – Scott Mar 13 at 13:24
  • (1) XY problem – Scott Mar 13 at 13:24
  • But that's why we have voting up/down right? The accepted answer is to reflect what actually helped the OP. The community as a whole may end up voting for another answer completely and make it the top answer. This is even more true for questions that receive answers after the OP has marked an accepted answer. – JohnP Mar 14 at 8:34
  • The accepted answer is always the top answer, unless the answerer === the questioner. – Scott Mar 14 at 15:21
  • Sorry, should have been clearer. I meant top answer after the accepted answer. Which will always be on top regardless of the score because it helped the OP. The OP doesn't really need to care about what helps the community the most when accepting the answer. – JohnP Mar 14 at 19:34
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If all of the answers would still be ok after your edit, then yes, go ahead. Be sure to leave a cool-off period — don't change your question while there's a high chance people are typing an answer. It's good to have answers that correspond to the question, and while it's normally up to answerers to ensure that, occasionally the asker can help. This shouldn't happen often; usually it's because the question was unclear in the first place, and you're clarifying it to be what people understood rather than what you meant.

If you decide to edit your question, it's ok to post a new question to ask what you originally meant to ask, if the new question is significantly better-worded or represents a next step on solving your problem: the first question helped you, and that second question is to help you further. Often in this case your new question should contain a link and short explanation of the old one (e.g. “I previously was advised to do <this>, but it turned out not to work because <explanation of why the answers to the first question didn't solve the problem>, so what can I do in this case?”), so that people can choose not to bother repeating old material.

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