I recently answered the question "Which Is More Fundamental, Fields or Particles?" essentially by explaining what second quantization is and why it makes so much more sense than first quantization. The answer has been well received suggesting that some users benefited from a good explanation of second quantization. However, if I search "what is second quantization" I do not find my answer. This is not surprising because the question I answered does not have "second quantization" in the title or tags.

This raises the following question:

Sometimes when a user posts a question asking "Why X?", the best answer involves explaining topic Y. A user may post a good explanation of Y. If X and Y share no meaningful key words, users searching for the answer to "What is Y?" may not find the answer. Therefore, what should be done in this situation to help future users wondering about Y find the answer?

  • $\begingroup$ The question title isn't very clear. How about 'Making good posts discoverable when the original question isn't obviously related'? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jul 2 '14 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ That said, your answer does get picked up by searches for second quantization, e.g. by this search. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jul 2 '14 at 14:32
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty: I changed the title. I appreciate your suggestion, because I struggled to come up with a good title the first time around. $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Jul 2 '14 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ Why not just add the tag if you think your answer makes the question apply to the tag? $\endgroup$ – Jerry Schirmer Jul 7 '14 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ @JerrySchirmer: That's a good idea. Thinking about this now, I suppose editing the title is also a good option. $\endgroup$ – DanielSank Jul 7 '14 at 20:36
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    $\begingroup$ It seems to me that the right thing to do is to wait for (or search for) a question asking about second quantization, then either re-post a (possibly somewhat modified) version of your existing answer or perhaps (if absolutely no modification is necessary) just a pointer to the existing answer. $\endgroup$ – WillO Sep 27 '16 at 16:59

I think it's reasonable to edit the question, including the title and tags, a bit. I think the clearest form of a question can only be written by someone who already knows the answer. You have to be careful not to post an answer to a different question, then edit the question so that it asks the question that you answer (this would be a bit rude to the OP). But the worst that can happen is that people will disagree with your added interpretation of the question and the edit will be rolled back, so I don't think there's much harm in trying, provided you make a reasonable effort to keep the original intent of the question intact.

Revision: it now seems to be explicitly encouraged to edit questions that you answer to improve them, as evidenced by the existence of the Explainer/Refiner/Illuminator badges.

  • $\begingroup$ If you feel that the asker should change the question, just leave him or her a comment or raise a flag to moderator. I think that's easier :) $\endgroup$ – Ooker Jul 4 '14 at 17:06

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