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I recently asked this question, Why are names abbreviated in certain books?, and it is clear from the comments and answers that I actually asked the wrong question (i.e., the question should really be about the abbreviation and not translation).

Should I edit my question to reflect what I learned from the answers?

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If there are already answers to your question, then changing the question is not something I would do. The answers are correct for the question that is asked.

If you didn't express yourself correctly, then I would ask another question, being careful on how the question is expressed, to avoid it is misunderstood once again.

  • I think it can be OK to change the question radically in some circumstances, however you must commit to editing or flagging every answer to "fix" them, which can be a lot of work. It depends if you're refocusing the question on a subarea, or changing it entirely. – Jeff Atwood Jun 11 '11 at 9:58
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I think it's fairly common to add an update to the question without changing the original question, if the original question is markedly different from your update.

Of course, in your case, updating your question to ask about the abbreviations makes it a duplicate of the one the Colin Fine posted in his answer, so it will probably get closed, but I think that's not such a bad thing. After all, you couldn't know it was a duplicate until you knew what your question really was.

  • good point but it is interesting that the question posted by Colin is only a duplicate when fleshed out by the answers. The original was very specific about dates. It seems that both questions managed to converge on a the same (but in fact unasked) question. – DQdlM Jun 8 '11 at 14:25
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As an alternative to leaving it be or deleting it, you could simply append an "edited:" part with an explanation or whatever is appropriate.

It is hard to say which is best: it probably depends on the question.

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If I made a mistake in the question and it was clear to me that the question was invalid and also would be of no possible use to anyone else, then I would just delete that question. Anyone who answered and got rep would keep it (I think).

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