It's not uncommon to end up with a question evolving as we ask the OP to run a diagnostic query, add more detail, try this/that/the other. This leaves some questions looking more like an IRC session than a Q&A.

What's the preferred approach for these? Let the question evolve and tidy up afterwards?

One example here.

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If the question comments rapidly devolve into

do ... and give results

ok, it showed ... I've updated the question..

ok, now try ... and look for ...

ok, it gave me ...

and they're relatively close together in time, then I would suggest taking it to a chatroom (you can even create your own chats on and leave a note on the question that you're migrating it there, and then when resolution is reached, bring it back to the question and update with a final Q edit and a final A marked as answered. Leaving a link to that room or that portion of the transcript may help future visitors as well.

However, if the discussion is just long and drawn out over several days, just making sure the Q and A are appropriately edited at the end to show progression and resolution, that should be fine.

Does that answer your question?

Works for me! Thanks. – Mark Storey-Smith Sep 2 '11 at 16:43
I took the liberty of bolding the important bit there – Jeff Atwood Sep 5 '11 at 4:14
Thanks @JeffAtwood – jcolebrand Sep 6 '11 at 1:27

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