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In this question here it was asked if there are better algorithms for TSP than the naive brute force method. It received three answers, that all answer the question. After some hours, the OP changed the question to something quite different. The question is now something like "what is this summation and how to bound it". None of the answers now actually answer the question.

Should the question be reverted back to the original one? Should all the answers be deleted? In general, how should one react when the question changes to something completely different? I suppose this is awkward mostly if there are already multiple answers to the question.

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It's ok, and even encouraged, to edit questions to clarify them.

It is not ok to edit questions to significantly change their meaning. There can be a tolerance for an unanswered question, especially if the question as is would be closed. In particular, invalidating answers should be avoided. Sometimes it cannot be avoided if different answerers interpreted an ambiguous question in a different way, but invalidating all answers is a definite no.

If this happens, revert the edit. Politely explain that the edit invalidated answers and this wasted the answerers' effort. If the asker engages in a rollback war or otherwise becomes agitated, flag for moderator attention and explain the problem.

If you've asked a question and later realize this isn't the question you meant to ask, ask a new question.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, makes sense! $\endgroup$ – Juho Oct 17 '13 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ "If you've asked a question and later realize this isn't the question you meant to ask, ask a new question." is a great life advice $\endgroup$ – Miserable Variable Oct 18 '13 at 18:49

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