I have seen many questions where a user edits the question and then answers it. Yes they may edit the phrasing or some names, but there are instances where the edit changes the meaning of the question to fit the answer.

Should people who edit a question be forbidden from answering it since they can edit it to suit their answer best? I bring this up since all people need equal chances at answering a question, not just veteran users (me not included in any of the users since I only answer/edit at leisure).

  • 4
    I'm at a loss why we need equal chances. This goal is to provide the best and most helpful answers, not to act as a clearing house to make sure everyone gets a turn...
    – Valorum
    Apr 12, 2017 at 11:45
  • 4
    I might be inclined to agree about equal chances, at least to some extent, but I don't see what it has to do with the issue at hand. Why would one person editing a question prevent anyone else from answering?
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Apr 12, 2017 at 11:51
  • It does not prevent anyone else from answering but it does discourage some people from doing it. They see "edit by X ", accepted answer by "X" and his rep "n.n k". My opinion, just asked you know. Apr 12, 2017 at 14:26

3 Answers 3


If anything — question or answer — is edited in such a way that it changes the purpose or invalidates answers present at time of edit, then it gets rolled back i.e. reverted.

If a question is unclear, and an edit focuses the question, then it is possible that it may invalidate some answers.
How to deal with that is another concern altogether, but not a challenging one: if the question is muddled, a good answer should anticipate that and the author be prepared to edit — or, write their answer in such a way that facilitates pruning by whoever edits the question and decides to be an especially good citizen. Or, simply write a comment first — or even edit the question yourself.

So long as we all each watch the other, those practices seem like they should work regardless of whoever answers.


Yes, they should be allowed to answer as everyone else is.

What you propose seems a highly detrimental solution to a problem that I'm not even sure exists to begin with. Whenever an edit significantly changes the nature of a question, that is the problem to be adressed, no matter who made that edit or if it already has answers. But I doubt that really happens often enough to pose a significant problem. And that edit being done by the answerer in order to match the question to his answer is even rarer.

Stopping people from contributing because they edited is punishing them (and ultimately the site) for improving the site. This way a question either receives the best answers possible or looks as best as it can, but not both, which is damaging the site and its content and quality.

In fact, SE actually encourages answerers to improve the questions they answer.

Your "equal chances" argument (which doesn't seem related to the problem of changing questions you mentioned first) doesn't really make much sense either since you don't want to stop questions from getting the best answers they can, which is what all these sites are about.

  • 2
    +1. I'll also add that if you see an edit which changes the scope of a question too much, you can roll back the edit, bring that specific issue to meta, or raise a mod flag. It's not as though edits by high-rep users always have to be accepted.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Apr 12, 2017 at 11:13

(Edit: just noticed where the link in TARS's answer points, but I think the point still bears fleshing out)

Another thing to consider is that this behaviour is actually explicitly encouraged by stackexchange.

The stated purpose of the badge system is as follows:

The badge system exists for two reasons:

  • to teach new users how Stack Exchange works
  • to encourage activities that are positive to the community


And there are in fact a trio (gold, silver and bronze) of badges specifically awarded for this:

  • Explainer

    Edit and answer 1 question (both actions within 12 hours, answer score > 0)

  • Refiner

    Edit and answer 50 questions (both actions within 12 hours, answer score > 0)

  • Illuminator

    Edit and answer 500 questions (both actions within 12 hours, answer score > 0)


Now obviously there is an important stipulation in there "answer score > 0". You will not get badges if you don't make a positive contribution and I would anticipate that if you substantially edited a question to make it fit your answer, that edit would be rolled back by the original question author if no one else and then your answer would look bad and you will not get a positive score. But the general case of editing to clean up a question (let's say "refining" it) and then answering it is absolutely encouraged by the system.

If you see the kind of bad behaviour you describe in the question, I would flag it for moderator attention, giving a specific reason explaining what's happened.

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