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In this post, I asked a question about the FATE generic RPG system, and then tagged it both FATE, and Spirit of the Century. I figured answers for one would be equivalent to answers for the other. However, after perusing the answers, it turns out that different versions of FATE would result in different answers to the question. Thus, the original question has several correct answers, since it wasn't specific enough.

I think Spirit of the Century makes for a good standard version of Fate (until Fate Core comes out), and was considering changing the title of the question specifically mention it. This would make the question more focused, and make it clearer what the "correct" answer is. However, I am concerned changing the title after the fact will make some of the answers confusing to read.

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    \$\begingroup\$ tough question. Is it possible to improve the question so that it fits the answers better? \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Aug 14 '12 at 18:56
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This is a hard problem that comes up from time to time, and I don't think I've seen a great way to handle it. All I can really point to is that there are three overlapping ways to handle it:

  1. Leave the question as it is, and ask a new question

    If none of the answers you see solve your problem, and you see a significant miscommunication (like this one), it's reasonable to try again from scratch. You asked in good faith, they answered in good faith, but somewhere along the line things got out of hand. It happens, and sometimes trying to fix it just leads to a lot of noise.

    You'll want to link the two questions and take a sentence or two to spotlight the differences you've uncovered to ward off "exact duplicate" closures.

  2. Update the question to reflect your intent

    If you got a really solid answer out of the question anyway, it might be worth giving it the "accept" check and then updating your answer to clarify it to your intent. You may want to reference your earlier gaffe in the final version of the question to provide context for the slightly off-base answers.

    Yes, there will be a lot of slightly off-base answers. But that's okay, because you've clearly noted what worked for you, and have done your best to make it clear what your actual problem was.

  3. Update the question to reflect the answers

    Sometimes you accidentally ask a question that turns out to be pretty interesting in its own right. If you've got a solid answer for the accidental question there's nothing wrong with rewriting your question to reflect the answer and accepting it.

    Of course, you'll probably still need to ask your original question, but that's okay. Just try to be a little clearer this time around.

The other, other, option is to update the question to your intent, and call in a mod to clear the question of deviant answers. But I can't say that I've ever been too happy with the results of that, unless the off-base answers were very low quality.

(and, of course, the mod might say "no.")

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I went with #2. I think there were a lot of useful answers, and I personally got what I wanted out of the question. Clarifying things about what happened in the question body seemed best to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Caleb Aug 14 '12 at 23:51

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