On this question the querent made an error in the spellcasting ability used. It was unclear whether or not it was intentional, but an answer addressed it.

Can/Should we edit the question to 'fix' the mistake that's been addressed in an answer after the querent confirmed it was a typo?


2 Answers 2


It seems to make no sense to to do that...at this point

Long ago, the requirement of "experts asking expert questions" faded into the background as it was not a good fit for this stack. Querents come from a wide variety of levels of understanding. If part of the answer is to correct an error in the question, once that's done I see no value in retconning the question.

Making corrections to the question's premise in the body of an answer is a use of answerer expertise - and it is something that I see happening a lot.

I recently did something similar at Aviation.SE: whomever was asking the question didn't know what they didn't know.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What are we to do when the question without a mistake would otherwise be a duplicate? \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 19:51
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 Do you have an example of that? Or just a theoretical edgecase? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 20:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I'm sure that I've seen it on here; I'll see if I can track it down. iirc, It was a question that boiled down to "how do attack saving throws work?", but they had edition confusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 12:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Shouldn't the question be as accurate as possible so it shows up in appropriate Google searches? And to that end shouldn't mistakes be corrected regardless of whether they are addressed elsewhere? \$\endgroup\$
    – lightcat
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 15:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @lightcat If the error is an important difference, it’s a different question if it doesn’t involve the asker having the same misunderstanding. The question-without-error can still be asked as a non-duplicate, and both can help people coming from Google. After all, if anyone else has made the same error, we want that accurately included in the question so that others can benefit. (If the error is not an important difference enough to make it non-duplicate, it won’t impact Google searchers at all to have a minor detail in error.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @lightcat The question should be what the querent asks. If they've got something wrong, then it's our job to let them know (and that's usually done in answers.) If you disagree, submit your counter as an answer. This hasn't gotten a ton of attention and I'm still interested to see what folks think we should do in these cases. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 15:58

We should fix the typo

If the querent thinks that an error in their question is a typo, then by definition that error is irrelevant to the meaning of the question and makes the question less clear.

We should remove the typo from the question so that:

  1. Anyone who reads the question in the future will benefit from the extra clarity, if ever so slightly.
  2. Anyone who answers the question in the future won't waste their time addressing a typo.

Ideally, the typo should have been noticed through comments, instead it was noticed through a tangent in an answer. However, the utility of that tangent is no less transient than any other comment: now that we recognize the typo for what it is, that tangent no longer serves a purpose. Because the tangent no longer servers a purpose, the answer would be better without it.

If the typo happens to be a genuine question in the eyes of someone other than the querent, then that person should ask that question in a separate Q&A.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Would you answer the same way if the error were fundamental to the OP's confusion? (I'm guessing not.) It might be worth clarifying that this is just a "typo" specifically because it's not central to the OP's question or point of confusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 5:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I thought I did "If the querent thinks that a part of their question is a typo, then that means that, like any other typo, it is irrelevant to the actual question and makes the question less clear." I'll clarify further. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 6:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I generally agree if there hasn't been any answer. But if there is and the answerer addresses it, if it's removed then they could be downvoted for having helped the querent. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 11:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ And the problem is we don't know when it's a typo or something we need to address. If the question isn't on hold, answerers need to take the full question, including mistakes/misconceptions, in mind when answering. If we're that unsure, we need to put it on hold. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 13:35

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