The OP posted a clearly worded question in the title, but the question in the text was quite different. In response to a comment, the OP made it clear that the text question was the intended one but did not edit the title accordingly. One (upvoted) answer correctly addressed the title question while ignoring the intended question. If the title were edited to the intended meaning, it would appear to invalidate the answer. What are the guidelines in this situation?

Edit: It turns out that the question was originally consistent, as answered, but the OP then changed the text without changing the title. I now think that the text should be edited back to match the title, to respect the existing answer, and the OP should post the intended question separately.


1 Answer 1


When a critical piece of the question appears only in a comment, encourage the OP (with extreme predjudice) to update the question rather than clarify in a comment. Readers should not be forced to scour the comments to get the intent of a question.

If the OP does not update the question (or title) in a reasonable time, I think it fair for someone else to update the question (or title) to match the clarified intent.

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    $\begingroup$ Robjohn's final paragraph means: "feel free to propose an edit." It will help if in the 'summary' where you describe your changes you state that you are editing the title to incorporate clarifications given in the comments (so your edit doesn't get rejected as a "radical change"). $\endgroup$ Sep 23, 2013 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnBentin: You can always comment on these answers and indicate that the question they answered wasn't the question that was actually asked. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Sep 23, 2013 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer: I did that, and the answerer's response led me to edit my post (above) in sympathy. $\endgroup$ Sep 23, 2013 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnBentin: Could you please flag the question (with a custom flag)? I think it might be appropriate for a moderator to look into this particular instance. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Sep 23, 2013 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer: I have done this now. Incidentally, I think that the intended question is interesting and worth the trouble of posting separately without this confusion. $\endgroup$ Sep 23, 2013 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnBentin: Thanks. So strange to see "Arthur" refer to someone other than myself. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Sep 23, 2013 at 16:53

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