Is it considered to be bad form to improve the original question (addressing the objections raised in these answers) making the original answers no longer apply?

Is this a more unequivocal way to make an analytic v synthetic distinction?

I have addressed several objections to my question (such as Quine's holism) by updating the question to address the objection and this (improved question) has resulted in vote downs.


2 Answers 2


I recommend that you do that. The site benefits when the questions are of high quality. Making multiple revisions over time lends itself to this. The ideal outcome is a canonical question and answer that can stand to be viewed far and wide by other people for a long time. The priority is not to “avoid making other answerers look bad”. They are free to update or delete their answers, if they care. Generating a quality information reference is a worthwhile goal; defending the public image and reputation points of casual throwaway internet drivel commentaries is irrelevant and of zero concern.

  • Are you assuming that, when a question is updated in a way that invalidates existing answers, those answers must have been "casual throwaway internet drivel commentaries"? It sounds like your answer is making that assumption. That seems dismissive and often inaccurate. Are you answering about that one specific question or about the general rule of thumb about invalidating existing answers?
    – D.W.
    Commented Jan 20 at 20:16

I haven't looked at this specific question, but as a general rule, if changing the question will make any of the answers look bad or silly, then I don't do it. Someone took the time to find what was wrong with my question and responded to it, so I should accept that I didn't do a good job of asking the question in the first place.

On the other hand, changing a question as a result of comments is fine. In fact, that's the purpose of comments; to help improve the question.

  • That seems to be a reasonable dividing line.
    – polcott
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 1:26
  • 4
    There is not much to add. Out of respect for the content others created, one should not substantially change questions that already possess upvoted answers.
    – Philip Klöcking Mod
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 16:20

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