Today I discovered this question: Determinant of rank-one perturbations of (invertible) matrices

There, the OP asks how the determinant of $I + vv^T$ can be computed. Nevertheless, (one of) the answers handle(s) the more general question of $\det (A + cd^T)$.

Is it OK to edit the question to ask for this directly?

My main motivation for this is that this would make searching (and finding) the nice answer easier.

Concretely, I was looking for the $\det (A + cd^T)$ case and almost closed the question after reading that the OP only asked for $\det (I + vv^T)$. Luckily, I read on.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I would say it's OK, and I've seen it done in the past. I don't see any downsides, especially for such an old question. $\endgroup$ Aug 4 '15 at 14:23
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ A downside could be if the edit invalidates some of other answers. @NajibIdrissi $\endgroup$ Aug 4 '15 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ To mitigate the downside mentioned by @MartinSleziak, I'd suggest that, if one did edit a question in that manner, perform the edit so the original phrasing is still evident (e.g. "How do you solve ____; or, more generally, ____?") $\endgroup$
    – apnorton
    Aug 4 '15 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks everyone, especially @apnorton. I now edited the question in question. $\endgroup$
    – PhoemueX
    Aug 5 '15 at 8:23

Yes, this is ok to do; in fact, it is a desired feature of the StackExchange platform according to a SE blog post:

It is OK to edit a question to make it more general. With the power of editing comes the power to take someone's selfish, very specific question, and edit it a little bit until they're asking the more general question that hundreds of people encounter. For example, if someone asks, "I set up a web server at home but I can't access it from work," it's OK to rewrite the question as, "What things should I check when a web server running at home is not visible on the Internet?" In fact, sometimes selfish, stupid questions of the "do my homework" variety can be easily edited into a form where the answer will provide an extremely valuable resource for the internet at large.

I, personally, have edited at least a couple questions to be more broad, and I've seen it done many times. However, to be considerate of users who may have answered the older, narrower question, phrase the edit so that the original phrasing is still evident. That way, the older answer is still clearly on-topic.


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