Sometimes, a user will ask a vague question, and an answerer says "I don't entirely understand your question, but I will assume you mean ___." The answerer then includes a re-written version of the question and proceeds to answer it.

If the asker accepts this answer, would it be proper to edit the original question to fit this other interpretation by the answerer?

A concrete example: Finding the root, domain, and limit to infinity of $f(x) = xe^{-x}$


1 Answer 1


I think there are two different cases that can arise.

  1. The question leaves out some necessary piece of information, which the accepted answer assumes. For example: the question asks about a "random" such-and-such without mentioning distribution, and the answer states that it assumes a uniform distribution.

  2. The question does not make sense, but the accepted answer makes a correct guess at what was actually meant. For example: the question you link to.

In the first case I would hesitate to edit the question, because it is important to point out that this extra assumption must be made, and that the question as stated does not admit a precise mathematical answer.

In the second case editing the question only serves to help clear things up for future readers, so I would definitely encourage it. This is especially true in your case since the asker commented that your interpretation was correct.

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    $\begingroup$ "the asker commented that your interpretation was correct"... True, but the comment is buried in... well, a comment, which makes the innocent reader wondering what is going on until they reach that comment. It would seem proper to add at the beginning of the question an explicit mention that the question was rewritten following some mindreading work by user X. $\endgroup$
    – Did
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 6:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Did I said I would especially encourage editing the question in this case. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 15:02

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