I find that sometimes I answer a question and then the Original Poster (OP) changes the question. The problem is then the answer may not seem correct. The system does not notify us each time a question is changed or edited, that we post an answer to.

In legal documents there's a concept called red lining. What happens is that when a change is made there's a red line placed under the changed part so that the receiving party knows what changes have been made.

I was wondering if that's something that people would be interested in having here, or if it's possible at all to do.

So for example. Let's say there was a question, "How many different uniforms were there in Star Trek?" I might answer and give a listing of the various colors and styles in the various series. Then the poster changes the question to say, "How many different uniforms were there in the original series of Star Trek?" So now my answer looks like overkill and might get downvoted, not upvoted, or criticized and I didn't even know that there was a change made. We could have a red line under the words "the original series of" so that when community members read the question they immediately know that those words were changed or added, and take that into consideration when reading answers.

I realize that a downvote may show up in my reputation queue, but sometimes it does not. In addition I may just not get upvotes in this scenario and would have no idea. I realize I could go through and check all of my questions and answers multiple times daily but that is not practical for most of us.

I know that at the bottom of every question you can click on the edited link to see what edits have been made but I don't think that most of us do that. We usually assume it's grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. Often times a document goes through many edits and the edits of the OP are lost in translation. If it's an edit by anybody other than the OP I usually figure it's simply a grammatical change, as most users are courteous enough not to change the meaning of an OP's question.

I was just wondering if there's any interest in adding this feature or if it's possible to do at all.

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    My understanding was that you should never edit a question in a way that invalidates the answers, and any desire to do so should be satiated by asking a new question. – Ixrec Sep 10 '15 at 20:44
  • This seems wholly unlikely to occur. – Valorum Sep 10 '15 at 20:51
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    "I know that at the bottom of every question you can click on the edited link to see what edits have been made but I don't think that most of us do that." Well there's your problem – Jason Baker Sep 10 '15 at 22:06
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    If I see that there was an edit made, I almost always check it. – phantom42 Sep 10 '15 at 22:38
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  • @Ixrec happened recently – JMFB Sep 11 '15 at 1:48
  • @Richard interesting since you pointed this out to me yesterday. A question got changed which invalidated part of your answer on the ranks star trek question. – JMFB Sep 11 '15 at 1:49
  • @JasonBaker I don't believe that most people when reading questions and answers for information read all of the edits to see if an answer may or may not be invalid based on prior question edits. – JMFB Sep 11 '15 at 1:51
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    if you see it happen, either leave a comment, roll it back, or call in a mod, as it's against policy to do that. – phantom42 Sep 11 '15 at 5:43

I don't really see what benefit this adds.

  • It creates a visual cue that the question has been edited, but we already have one (as you pointed out). Also, from a personal perspective, I think the "edited" link at the bottom is a nicer visual cue than an abundance of red underlines

  • There's a huge potential for false positives. Assuming the goal is to show when the question has been altered so that the answers are invalid, how can you tell that from a question that's merely been extensively edited, but otherwise stayed the same? Consider an example; let's say a new user posted the following question:

    y flsh prpl

    And you edited it into the more legible (but equally nonsense):

    Why is the Flash's costume purple?

    The spirit of the question is the same, but it's been so extensively re-written that, under your proposal, it would still be heavily red-lined; depending on exactly how the redlining was done, it would be comparable to if you'd instead changed the question to:

    Why does Spock have pointy ears?

    You wouldn't be able to tell if the intent had been changed unless you went and looked at the revision history, which is the same solution we have now.

  • I guess you missed what I was trying to say. Maybe I didn't phrase it well. I was simply suggesting if the OP edits his own question that we could have a redline to know that. The purpose is so that when we are evaluating answers we can see if an answer that might be off a little was really a good answer at the time it was given. The purpose is not for somebody who wants to answer a question as they should use the current version as it stands. It's for the reader who is evaluating answers. I hope that makes what I'm saying a bit clearer. – JMFB Sep 11 '15 at 3:47
  • @JMFB Thanks for the clarification. Even so, though, what you're proposing doesn't provide any more actionable information than what already exists. I'm also not convinced there's an actual need for it, but I need to mull that over before I comment – Jason Baker Sep 11 '15 at 4:23
  • It became an issue on one question as it was changed after a bunch of answers were up. There was some criticism of some answers which were not relevant at the time the answers were posted. As it happened I thought I should get on meta and make the suggestion. But if the community thinks it's a bad idea then that's fine. It was just an idea I thought of in the moment. – JMFB Sep 11 '15 at 4:54

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