I wrote a question, but forgot to thoroughly re-test my code after I made a modification and before I posted the question. I was notified of a major bug by mjolka (thank you!) in chat, such a major bug that it could not be considered an edge case, but rather an off-topic post. I had already received two answers, neither of which mentioned the problem, and therefore could not delete the post.

Then, I was undecided about what to do. Initially, I close voted the post, but then thought that maybe an edit would be in order as it did not invalidate an answer, and retracted the vote. Then, I talked to a moderator in chat, who told me I should leave the question intact. Now, I have flagged the post for moderator attention and am unsure of what to do now. I created a working question and explained what was wrong in the comments, but then realized it could be closed as a duplicate anyway. Then, I asked the moderator to close my question so this wouldn't happen, but he said my second question could be dup-closed anyway. Now, this second question is deleted until further notice, and I have no idea what I should do. The two answers I received were good, and I would like to get some more in depth reviews as well, which cannot happen on a closed question.

For reference, this is the question in question.


The flag was declined because the community can handle the issue, but as I said, I cannot draw the issue to the community's attention as I have already retracted my close vote.

  • \$\begingroup\$ reading the long paragraph there makes my mind dizzy. It really sounds like a bit of a mess \$\endgroup\$ May 4, 2015 at 10:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think you should worry about the questions being duplicates, because they're not. They contain different code. Basically, this is iterative review and that is accepted here. \$\endgroup\$
    – svick
    May 4, 2015 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @svick There is only one line changed, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – user34073
    May 4, 2015 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Whether a bug makes a question off-topic for being broken code depends on the severity of the bug.

  • In general, bugs may be present in the code as long as it is correct to the best of your knowledge.
  • On the other hand, if the bug is so obvious that the code couldn't possibly work (a major error that prevents the code from compiling, for example), then I would probably prefer to see it closed, reasoning that…
    • You failed in your duty to ensure that the code is working.
    • Closing questions with broken code helps maintain the quality of the site.
    • Closure notifies you that the code is broken, which is in itself a form of valuable feedback.
    • Closing it sooner gives you a chance to fix the code. Once the bug is mentioned in an answer, it would no longer be fair game to fix your code.
    • If you manage to fix the code and get the question reopened, reviews can focus on more meaningful issues.

Since you were unaware of the bug at the time of posting, the question is not off-topic, even with the fatal bug. The bug can be addressed in an answer (ideally by @mjolka).

If the question didn't get closed, and the answers failed to mention your bug, then it might be OK to sneak in a fix, as long as your fix does not invalidate the existing answers. Such a ninja edit isn't something that I would encourage, but it might be the least bad resolution to an awkward situation. In the revision comment, you should clarify exactly what you are changing, and mention that it doesn't invalidate existing answers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the answer, I just edited it because I felt the bug was so bad that it amounts to my failing to error check it at the appropriate level for the site. \$\endgroup\$
    – user34073
    May 4, 2015 at 15:18

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