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This site appears to have a consensus about guidelines for editing others' answers: "Edits are to improve and fix posts, not to change them."

But there's an answer to an old question that I want to edit in a way that does significantly change its meaning. It's my own answer, from three years ago, based on my thinking at the time. Since then I've come to a somewhat different conclusion. Is it fair to edit the answer to bring it in line with my current thinking?

The original answer can be found here: Who named the wrong priest in Mark 2:26?

Some factors:

  • It did receive two votes. Those users who voted for the reasoning expressed in the original answer may not agree with the new reasoning. But it's a simple matter for them to remove the votes if they so choose.
  • The answer is referenced by one other answer, but my edits would not affect the one point that he mentions.

Update: It took longer than I expected to find time to rewrite my answer. Essentially I'm reaching the same conclusion using different reasoning. If the community thinks I've changed it too much, let me know and I'll revert the old answer and make this one a new answer.

By the way, this answer has a lot of comments that are not related to the substance of my answer--they're simply a criticism of my hermeneutic approach. What does it take to get those deleted? I've flagged them multiple times but nothing seems to change.

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    I think own posts are pretty much exempt from the restrictions on changing meaning. – Caleb Dec 24 '14 at 21:27
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    Re your post-script about comments: I think your mistake there was flagging something as offensive that wasn't. As Jack's comment pointed out, the comment took exactly the right approach of criticizing the reasoning/content of the answer and not you as a person. We don't remove comments for being «simply a criticism of my hermeneutic approach», on the contrary that's one perfectly good use of them. And being critical of your hermeneutics is not grounds for an offensive flag. On the other hand now that you've re-written the answer it would appear most of that discussion is obsolete. – Caleb Apr 8 '15 at 4:58
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    I didn't handle the original flag, but had I seen it I would have declined it as well. Validating offensive flags usually has consequences for the poster, and there is simply no reason a valid critique (valid in the sense of site usage patterns, not whether its content was a legitimate point or not) should be flagged that way. I've cleaned up the ensuing discussion now because it appears to be mostly obsolete (the part I left is left because I couldn't tell whether it was obsolete or not). – Caleb Apr 8 '15 at 5:03
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    @Caleb I appreciate your removing the comments, even if it was for the wrong reason. Bob Jones' criticism, "Your answer faults the Holy Spirit," was directed at my conclusion (which didn't change) rather than my reasoning (which did). The subsequent comments by him and Jack Douglas made that clear. So the comments were no more obsolete now than they were initially. But that type of comment should never be considered appropriate anywhere on this site. Not if you want the site to be welcoming to people of diverse viewpoints. – Bruce Alderman Apr 9 '15 at 5:07
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I think you are right to be concerned about the possible impact of a major change, including on those who upvoted or referenced your original answer or even those who refrained from posting a similar answer because you covered the ground they would have covered.

Concerned but not too concerned. You post here seems to my mind to carry exactly the degree of sensitivity I'd hope anyone here might have in the same situation. My suggestion would have been to go ahead and make the change and then post here on meta for feedback, because it's easier to judge with the full knowledge of what's been changed - perhaps you can still do that if you'd like input from folk here?

I'm guessing no-one will mind post-edit, but if there are any concerns you could then consider other options such as re-answering and/or deleting your original answer.

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I would recommend posting a second answer (which is allowed) if the thought has significantly changed. Then going in and editing at the top of the old answer a notice that your thought has significantly changed, with a link to that second answer.

This does the least damage in affecting voter opinions, while also allowing for you to express the major change of thought.

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