This question is now in somewhat of a bad state. The OP did significant rewrites of their question, and then received an answer. Not realizing the sequence of events, I rolled the question back to before the rewrite. So now the question and answer are out-of-sync.

Does the rollback need to be undone? Do we discourage people from significant question rewriting even before answers are received?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ As a side remark, there were a few times that I saw answers posted based on edited post and then the OP got rolled back. So I think in general rollbacks may need to be done more carefully after confirming no answers are affected. \$\endgroup\$
    – GZ0
    Sep 21, 2019 at 18:27
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ No need to rollback a question that has no answer. As long as the question only has one answer, the code in the question should match the one that was reviewed in the answer. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2019 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


A rollback is a dangerous option and should always be considered carefully. And yes, I've screwed this up myself at least once, so don't beat-up yourself too much about it either.

The entire point of a rollback is to prevent a question and answer being out-of-sync. So, a rollback causing this, is not a good situation.

Does the question need to be rolled forward?

It very likely has to be fixed one way or another. I'm currently looking into the possibilities.

Update: left a comment and rolled back the rollback. Seemed like the sensible thing to do.

Do we discourage people from significant question rewriting even before answers are received?

In general? No. Although if people keep posting updates before the answer is posted it might turn the question into a mess. But consider the following scenario.

A question has been posted 3 weeks ago. No answers have arrived. Now, the OP has rewritten and improved it locally and wants to have the new code reviewed. Obvious solutions would include:

  1. Removing the original question (it no longer serves a purpose) and posting a new question.
    • If the original questions has acquired a positive score over time, the likelihood of this happening is remote.
  2. Keeping both the original question and posting a new question.
    • Now there's 2 questions, both unanswered and reviewing the original no longer feels like helping as much. After all, it's no longer relevant. People might still learn from it, yes, but the value of the answers are unavoidably reduced.
  3. Edit the original question. No answers have been posted yet, so there's no problem. It's also the SE way of dealing with such questions, although there's many forms of rewrites. Completely wiping the question and replacing it by something else would be odd at best, vandalism at worst. But including an update clarifying how the code has already been improved, sure, that's fine.

So, do we discourage rewrites? No, but not all rewrites are equal. This one was fine.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The entire point of a rollback is to prevent a question and answer being out-of-sync. In this case it seems to me that the edits could be kept as long as it is appended to the post rather than replacing the original code. Here is a more complex scenario that I saw occuring a few times: new code was appended to the post based on one or more answers, and then previous answers were updated or new answers were posted based on the edited post. In this case, simply rolling back the post to its original state is problematic as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – GZ0
    Sep 22, 2019 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GZ0 Hence rolling back the rollback. The answer is written based on the edited question (based on the timestamps), so that's the version that should be preserved. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Sep 22, 2019 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am talking about the general rollback policy. It seems to me that several users / moderators are not really aware of this issue and just perform rollbacks blindly once they see new code in the post. \$\endgroup\$
    – GZ0
    Sep 22, 2019 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GZ0 If mistakes are made, feel free to point them out on a case-by-case basis on meta. They can be corrected. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Sep 22, 2019 at 17:42

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