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Use of this site -- Editing existing questions

asked 2010-09-09 03:05:29 -0500

Mike Witt gravatar image

Askbot allows questions and answers to be changed after then have been entered. But I'm not clear on under what circumstances this is desirable. I can imagine two different basic modes of use:

  1. Editing of previous questions/answers is done just to clean up minor mistakes, but the "chronological" flow of the discussion is maintained.
  2. Major editing is done of questions and answers such that, at the end of the discussion what remains is the clearest exposition of the question and answer(s).

After a couple of comments posted earlier and reading some of the askbot documentation, I get the impression that #2 is how askbot was originally intended to be used (but I might be wrong). This does make sense, and would differentiate an askbot site from a typical "forum." However, to get this to work would (I think) require that everybody who is involved with a particular question sort of keep track of things and edit their answers accordingly. Otherwise, if some folks change what they wrote and others don't, some text will be "orphaned" so to speak, and the whole thing won't make a lot of sense to someone looking at it later.

There's a practical side to my asking this, which is that I have a current question now which has gotten rather messy ("Building ATLAS" below) and I'm considering reformatting the question with all the information I now have, and deleting me earlier "answers" -- is this a good idea?

Feedback please!


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answered 2010-09-09 03:49:46 -0500

niles gravatar image

Hi Mike,

Option 2 would be my inclination too (both for how askbot is intended to function, and what I'd like to see for asksage). Since answers are usually sorted by number of votes, there isn't really any "chronology", and the functionality of askbot seems specifically intended _not_ to support discussion threads (e.g. the FAQ "What should I avoid in my answers?").

As I see it, the goal is (or ought to be) really to preserve good questions and good answers, rather than the discussion/working out that lead to the good answers. The voting system is, I think, supposed to provide some minimal incentive for people to monitor the questions they've answered and make them (the answers) more relevant if they can. Also, people with a certain number of points are allowed to edit any answer -- maybe someone will get there eventually either by waiting long enough or by having the threshold lowered (from 2000) -- so this can be another way that "orphaned text" will be removed or updated.

p.s. If it's important, you could retain some sense of the chronology in the way you update your question.

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Sounds good. I'm going to go with that approach and see how it works.

Mike Witt gravatar imageMike Witt ( 2010-09-09 05:38:50 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2010-09-09 03:05:29 -0500

Seen: 1,434 times

Last updated: Sep 09 '10