I did a quick search to see if this has been asked, but it didn't seem to be. The intent behind this question is from how this question was handled, but is not limited to it.

The situation is an asker posts broken code. It gets an answer. (Question may get closed as 'off-topic broken code'). OP fixes their code to make it on-topic.

This is directly addressed in the following meta questions:

I think that the sentiment of the question Preventing the ability to re-open off-topic questions by explaining how it's broken in an answer can come into play here too. Where Mat's Mug's last paragraph explains why we could allow these edits:

If OP wants a peer review and edits their question with the working code, IMO it's the hasty FGITW (fastest gun in the west) non-review answer that should be removed; OP is entitled to have a chance to fix their post and their standing, without having to create a new question (heck, what if they're Q-banned by then?) - it's a matter of fairness.

How should we deal with questions that are edited to become on-topic, if there is already an answer to the question? As there seems to be conflicting information above, should we allow the asker to edit them?

  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth: my thought process at the moment I saw the answer came seconds before the edit making the question on-topic starts here \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


Answers to off-topic questions are already invalid

One way to look at this is to say that if a question is invalid, it should be closed and not answered. Answering an invalid question sends exactly the wrong message and encourages unwanted behavior.

Following that line of reasoning, fixing the question to make it on topic doesn't invalidate any answer because any answers were already invalid.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Good point about invalid answers \$\endgroup\$
    – Heslacher
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 14:51
  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ This. We put off-topic questions "on hold" specifically so the OP can fix them and make them on-topic. Invalid answers on off-topic questions in the process of collecting close votes should be downvoted without blinking, and hopefully removed too. If the question is edited into shape, IMO invalid answers are NAA. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 1:24

I used to place a comment on an answer of an off-topic question, stating that the answerer should refuse to answer off topic questions. Sometimes this went well and the answerer removed his/her answer, but mostly the comment just stood there with no action taken by the answerer, so I stopped doing this.

But this doesn't answer your question...

Our policy to not edit code of questions having an answer is clearly conflicting with the "After the question has been edited to contain working code, we will consider reopening it." notice of an on hold question.

The possibilities I see are rather restricted:

  1. changing the notice in a way that it should reflect the "not invalidating existing answer" point

  2. educate answerers to skip answering off topic questions by comments and downvotes , something along the lines :

    "Please refuse to answer off topic questions. Refusing to answer will enable the asker to edit the code in the question which wouldn't be allowed otherwise based on our site policy what you may and may not do after receiving answers."

  3. weaken our not edit policy to allow for on-hold questions the change/edit of the code in question.

I think the best result for our site could be achieved by using all three possibilities together.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For (2) Did you have a staple comment, that you could add to this answer or here? Also we may need to talk to a mod about (1), if this answer gets consensus, I remember one of them having plans for changing all the close reasons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peilonrayz Mod
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoeWallis added a comment \$\endgroup\$
    – Heslacher
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:33

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