Regarding this question, the original question(s) were

Why does it matter whether or not Trump informed Nancy Pelosi about the Baghdadi assassination?


So why is it a big deal that Trump didn't tell any Democrats? Why would they need to know? What would they need to do that they could only do if they knew?

Now the question was changed (not by the OP) to

Do Democrats have a legal basis for being upset that Trump did not notify them about the Baghdadi assassination operation?


Is there any law or convention that states the Speaker of the House, or anyone else, has to be notified of such covert actions?

I think it's not a terribly good practice to edit the question to ask a substantially different question after the original one received two answers, even though the original question was pretty problematic (was closed as primarily opinion based; one of the votes was mine.) My suggestion would be to simply ask the legal question separately because something can be a [big] deal politically even with no legal (or even tradition) controversy behind it. (The transition from just "legal basis" in the new question title to "law or convention" in the body also makes the new question somewhat unclear.)

Thoughts on how to handle this question and similar post-answer(s) edits that substantially change the question?

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    I don't think I understand how much the question has changed. To my reading it appears a frame change for 'why is it a problem'to 'what makes it a problem' sure there are language issues in the answers now, but all the basic points they make seem valid against the new version of the question.
    – Jontia
    Oct 28, 2019 at 19:20
  • The title to final paragraph mix is on me. I added convention to avoid Law.SE suggestions and because convention is often more important than the law in such issues.
    – Jontia
    Oct 28, 2019 at 19:23
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    @Jontia: it's a problem because neither answer even considered the legal angle, focusing on politicians' statements instead (those quoted also didn't mention any legal angle). Oct 28, 2019 at 19:24
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    I don't support changing either, feel bad for the one conservative answer that is getting downvoted
    – user9790
    Oct 28, 2019 at 21:04
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    Related post on Meta.SO
    – Machavity
    Oct 29, 2019 at 23:49
  • Where does politics.stackexchange.com/questions/47765/… fit into this discussion? The original version, despite being only two lines was clearly a rant with a position to push. After being edited, it's a trivial question that seems really pointlessly obvious. Was it worth editing, or should it have been binned?
    – Jontia
    Nov 18, 2019 at 9:03

2 Answers 2


Moving target questions are a big problem. They’re rude to answerers who took the time to write an answer, but then find their answer invalidated. And they hurt the site’s primary goal of collecting specific, high-quality Q&As by creating situations where questions and answers don’t match up.

I think the best option in a circumstance like this, where a question received substantial edits after receiving solid answers, is to roll back the edits. If the question is still off-topic, it should be closed, and the new “edited” question can be asked as a separate question. The only other option is to delete the answers, or force the answerers to do total rewrites. That’s not fair to them, and if we let people rewrite questions out from under answers, then we’re going to disincentivize answering, and especially disincentivize high-quality answers that take real work to write.

This isn’t perfect, of course, since editing and improving questions is an important part of the site. It sucks that a question might be stuck as off-topic because people wrote answers to it while it was still off-topic. Ideally, we’d be stricter about question quality before we answer questions. For example, on [rpg.se], vague or off-topic questions are put on-hold almost immediately and reopened only when they’ve been sufficiently improved. It would be great if we could make sure that all questions were good (whatever that means) before being answered, but that might not be possible here.

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    @LаngLаngС That’s a good point which I try to address (unsatisfactorily) in the 3rd paragraph. I feel pretty strongly that the fate/reception of your answer should depend on its quality and your effort writing it and it shouldn’t have the rug pulled out from under it by an asker who decides they wanted to ask a different question. But then, as you say, we have a situation where quick answers block needed question improvement. I don’t know the solution, though. If I could create new features here, I’d make it impossible to post an answer until the question is a certain age to prevent that.
    – divibisan
    Oct 28, 2019 at 16:11
  • @LаngLаngС I definitely don't think answers should block close votes. I'd argue that for a bad question with decent answers, we should close rather than edit. Closing (and possibly deleting) the question sends a clear sign that the question was bad and shouldn't have been answered. Whereas editing just makes it look like the answerer can't read, since they seem to have answered a totally other question. Was my answer unclear about the closing issue?
    – divibisan
    Oct 28, 2019 at 16:27
  • @LаngLаngС A way to do that would be to more aggressively delete closed questions, though that would require mod action unless they are negatively voted. I like your suggestions, but I feel like we're getting beyond this particular question into more significant issues that have the potential to really improve the site, but might be too big to hash out in the comments section. Maybe post an answer, or, better yet, a new question to discuss this?
    – divibisan
    Oct 28, 2019 at 16:32
  • @LаngLаngС Well, it can't become official SE policy, but it can influence how the mods choose to moderate the site, so it's not nothing
    – divibisan
    Oct 28, 2019 at 17:37
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    I agree. I've rolled back the edit. Not only to I not like moving target questions, but I also don't like it when third parties change the essence of the question when they edit. Was the OP exclusively concerned with whether there was a specific law or not? We don't know. Let the OP clarify that if you need to. Oct 28, 2019 at 21:46

Would a "frame change" tickbox on the edit field help or make this worse?

What I was thinking is you tick the box, and it labells any existing answer as being for an older version of the question. (maybe with a link)

I don't think there's a general way of dealing with this, as some questions actually need reformatting. (you know, so they aren't closed.)

If I come across something like this, I usually start editing until the questions and answers line-up again. (if it's possible without adding too much content)

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