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I recently noticed a question on Christianity.SE that talked about whether or not in the pre-Cana, the non-virgin was allowed to be married in the Catholic Church. I assumed that it was talking about the Roman Catholic Church, and I also removed the personal aspect from it. I liked the intent of the titular question, which was to ask about permitting a non-virgin to wed, but the question about whether the non-virgin has the "freedom" to evade the question during the pre-Cana sounds like pastoral advice. Well, at least the question is partly on-topic. The answerers answered too, but they shaped their responses to the questioner's personal life, as if they are giving pastoral advice.

Edit: Ack! Someone reverted my edit!

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Yes, that would be appropriate as long as you are retaining the original intent of the question and not invalidating the answers.

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While David's answer gives you the general principles, in this instance your change is largely unnecessary (the OP is not actually asking for pastoral advice, but wants to understand policy and procedure around this issue) and in fact the way you did it, significantly altered the original intent of the question: There is a substantial difference between asking whether a certain type of marriage is permissible and asking whether in the process of preparing for marriage, one is required to divulge whether one is a virgin or not and what are the consequences of doing so/not doing so.

  • Ack. I shouldn't have deleted the last two questions. – Double U Jan 28 '15 at 4:58
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I would say this depends very much on the spirit of the original question. As others have mentioned, that needs to be preserved, but...

  • ...if the original question poster really just wants to get an answer to their personal issue, it is best not to try to edit the question to be on-topic. Instead, VTC and explain in a comment why this site is not for that. Even if the question could be rewritten to be about some doctrinal issue or another, behind the scenes that would be your fix and the question in their minds would still be the same, defeating the purpose. Instead if you are really interested in the subject matter post another question yourself and link the OP to it.

  • ...if the original poster really meant to ask a doctrinal question and happened to include a few personal details along the way by way of background, one must decide whether removing the details will make the question easier or harder to correctly interpret. If the question would be just as well off without it editing them out may be a good idea. If the question would become unclear by removing the sample context, then maybe leaving it in is a good idea.

If people are answering based with personalized situational advice, it's a good bet that the question needs to be closed. At the very least the question is among those that could be improved by removing the personal situation (even if that does invalidate answers).

  • What if the original question poster is not active anymore? – Double U Jan 28 '15 at 16:58

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