This question was inspired from a conversation in IPS' main chat.

Regarding the following question:

How to ask ex-girlfriend to seek professional help

It was pointed out that most answers challenge the OP's author intent to convince their ex to seek professional help, saying that it's not to the OP's author to tell their ex such a thing. A regular user then asked for help to edit the question to try to make it less likely to be answered with frame challenging contributions.

We've discussed a lot what is a good frame-challenge on meta, so I'm wondering why we should edit the question if it's for refraining users to challenge it 1. So, when a question will most likely bring challenging answers, should we try to edit it in order to discourage answerers to challenge it?

1: I'm not saying that all frame challenges of this question are (currently) valid ones.


Regarding AElis' comment:

Note that my issue is more about the fact that the answers are bad frame challenges

If possible, it'd be great if the answers to this meta post discuss both situations: should we edit a question when it leads to frame-challenging answers, whether they're valid or not.

  • 1
    Not that my issue is more about the fact that the answers are bad frame challenge.
    – Ael
    Apr 18, 2019 at 11:01
  • 5
    Be careful with making edits that invalidate most of the existing answers.
    – JAD
    Apr 18, 2019 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


should we edit a question when it leads to frame-challenging answers, whether they're valid or not.

Absolutely not.

Community Moderation

The goal of community moderation on IPS is to curate the quality of questions and answers, not the content. Now, there is some content curation that has to be done to ensure the quality (deleting spam, removing offensive/abuse posts, removing off-topic questions, etc...), but that should be the extend of our content curation.


As JAD mentioned in a comment

Be careful with making edits that invalidate most of the existing answers

This meta gives a great explanation of how and why to make edits.

The most important reasons for editing a post are:

  • Fixing obvious grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • Making posts easier to understand, which helps both readers and the original poster (e.g. could prevent a question from being closed or downvoted)
  • Adding additional information only found in comments, so that new visitors don't have to read everything
  • Embedding or re-uploading images, fixing formatting, etc.

You can find more about these guidelines here

When you edit other's posts, you're still editing the author's content. Therefore you should never …

  • Change the meaning of the original post.
  • Change subtleties that normally wouldn't matter (e.g. change spelling from British to American English, introduce your own writing style).
  • Add something that doesn't relate to the actual post ("I have the same problem!" or "Here's something if you're interested … ").

Editing a post so that answerers will no longer post frame challenges is in direct violation of the first bullet point of when not to edit. Editing a question to prevent frame challenges would involve changing the frame of the question, which would deviate from the meaning of the post.

As far as the part about bad frame challenges. If you come across a badly constructed frame challenge you should moderate that post (down vote, request clarification, delete vote, etc...) rather than the question. So long as the question fits within the scope of the site, it is not in need of edits that don't fall under the bullet points listed above. If a post is receiving a large number of bad frame challenges, and they come from low rep users, it might be worth protecting the question, but no further action on the question is needed.

  • Don't you think we could try to add a notice about good frame challenge under the question? (not inside of it but under it like when we protect a question)
    – Ael
    Apr 18, 2019 at 19:27
  • @Ælis Do you mean add such a notice to all questions or have the option to add it if the question starts to get too many bad frame challenges?
    – Rainbacon
    Apr 18, 2019 at 19:28
  • Just have the mod add such notice to the question with all the bad frame challenge
    – Ael
    Apr 18, 2019 at 19:32
  • That's certainly a possibility. Though I'm not sure how customizable those notices are.
    – Rainbacon
    Apr 18, 2019 at 19:33
  • Re: post notices - that would involve coming up with the notice text and then making a feature request, like Workplace did for the controversial post notice, since it requires a CM.
    – Em C
    Apr 18, 2019 at 19:40
  • @EmC Interesting. I guess we might need another meta about that then (to see if people are interested and think it's a good idea).
    – Ael
    Apr 18, 2019 at 19:45
  • 1
    We have a meta lying around that says if answers focus too much on irrelevant details, think of editing. That same post also mentions 'failing to answer the question'. So I'd be a little more hesitant to say that editing should never be done if it invalidates an answer: if the answer doesn't answer the actual question but looks like a reasonable frame challenge due to many details in a question, an edit bringing out the actual goal/question and commenting on the answers preferable.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Apr 18, 2019 at 19:59
  • 1
    So a question getting a lot of frame challenges may lack a clear goal. In the last case, no matter how many answers there are, an edit to make the goal clearer is best. Bad frame challenges don't answer the question and can be moderated as such, for the difference between good and bad see interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3269/1599 and interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3309/1599. One of those at least may be useful to link to, to make it clear you're thinking of good frame challenged not warranting an edit ;)
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Apr 18, 2019 at 20:06
  • Also a relevant comment on an earlier thread: interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2511/…
    – JAD
    Apr 19, 2019 at 9:04

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