I asked a question while not knowing enough to clearly state my issue. (Here is the question: https://unix.stackexchange.com/q/108842/15010 .) I received a couple responses that helped me get on the right track, but they did not actually answer my question. I continued to read and learn, and today I found a solution. I posted my answer here: https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/109011/15010 .

However, now that I have a little more clarity, I can see how to massively edit my question to make it much more clear for other readers. This seems like a good thing.

My concern is that a massive edit will remove the context for the two responses I received so far. It might make those prior answers appear less relevant.

Bottom line: it seems somewhat unfair to the two responders to massively edit my question, but doing so will make the question much more useful to future readers. What should I do?

  • I'm going to answer with a question, does your change clarify the existing question? or does it ask a new question? Sometimes I modify questions, because the answers I got were obviously not understanding what I was asking. If however, people answered your question and it lead to a new question then you should ask the new question as a separate one. Jan 12, 2014 at 22:55
  • I beg to differ. The last line of my answer does answer your question. The rest provided the necessary background to understand why your attempt failed. Jan 12, 2014 at 23:13
  • @Giles - in that case, maybe the question remains unanswered. I am looking for a complete Python implementation of the C algorithm (e.g., code.google.com/p/passlib/source/browse/src/…). Is there a pure Python implementation of Drepper's C code? Maybe I just need to ask that as a new question, as suggested here.
    – MountainX
    Jan 13, 2014 at 0:46
  • Oh, I see, you wanted to be able to hash a password in a way that's compatible with a different system? Right, that wasn't present in your original question, it's a different question. Jan 13, 2014 at 1:00
  • @Gilles - yes, now you see why I wanted to "massively edit my question" :-) Here's my new question: security.stackexchange.com/questions/48552/…
    – MountainX
    Jan 13, 2014 at 1:00
  • @MountainX That's off-topic on Information Security. It's a programming question, it belongs on Stack Overflow. Your original Unix & Linux question could have fit on Information Security or Cryptography, but not that one. Jan 13, 2014 at 1:02
  • @Gilles - OK, I'll move it. Thanks.
    – MountainX
    Jan 13, 2014 at 1:05
  • New question here: stackoverflow.com/q/21082483/463994
    – MountainX
    Jan 13, 2014 at 1:11
  • And it's already downvoted in 1 second flat. I don't think that question is going to do well on StackOverflow...
    – MountainX
    Jan 13, 2014 at 1:13
  • 3
    It has a positive score right now and I think you got what you wanted in the end, but I might suggest your downvote problem on S.O. is because of superfluous defensiveness. Never say "please don't answer this question by telling me to go write the code myself", etc. Deal with objections when they occur and not in advance, and instead focus on your question. Why you are asking is also superfluous, unless it involves specific information integral to the question itself, which "I'm learning", "I want to understand", "I was told to post here", etc do not.
    – goldilocks
    Jan 19, 2014 at 20:29
  • 2
    You are right. My defensiveness has been acquired from experience here! I didn't start off that way. It often feels like I don't have a chance to deal with objections. Questions can be closed immediately (although I understand maybe that policy has changed now). I would love to feel more welcomed and comfortable here. I keep trying to adjust the way I ask questions. You're seeing an example of that. I'm just trying to figure out what works here.
    – MountainX
    Jan 20, 2014 at 4:49

2 Answers 2


Leave the original in place and try and make it so that it's as clearly in line with the A's. Then start a new Q and post your learnings as a new A. Also reference the original so that others see the linkages.

  • 4
    +1 for suggesting to reference the other question. You can also go back and edit/comment in a reference to the new question from the old one! This is how we keep things evolving, as opposed to re-volving ;)
    – goldilocks
    Jan 19, 2014 at 20:31

I suggest leaving the old version alone and appending your revised version below it. Stick a note to that effect at the top. I notice your question is quite long, and this will make it even longer, so maybe this is not the ideal way to handle it, but given that there are no length limitations on SE questions that I know of, it is an option.

  • 3
    There is a length limit; post bodies can only be 30000 characters. Furthermore, combining the old and new questions seems like the worst of all worlds; we discourage people from asking multiple questions upfront, let alone appending new questions over time. Making a new question is probably the right solution Jan 12, 2014 at 21:11
  • 1
    Putting to versions of the same question would only make it unclear, in my opinion.
    – Bernhard
    Jan 16, 2014 at 18:40

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