This is in reference, for example, to these two questions:
- What are the criteria for deciding whether a language is "natural"?
- What are the criteria for deciding whether a language is “a vernacular”?
To be quite honest, they were both intended to ask the same question. I indicated as much when I posed the second one, giving my reasons for "re-asking" it.
Given the disagreement whether constructed languages would be considered on-topic here — and given that I am interested in a wide-spread writing system which I would consider to be only ambiguously a constructed language (despite the fact that it has no form other than the written form!) — I had hoped to get clarification of whether it would be on topic by asking a question about languages generally.
The best short piece of terminology for this seemed at the time to be "natural language", in view of the description of how ASL (a partially designed langauge) came to be regarded as "natural", according to Wikipedia. However, a number of the responses and commentators seemed to get stuck on the entirely reasonable interpretation of "natural" as being the antonym of "artificial" or "constructed", which seems to me to refer to the historical origin of a language rather than any linguistic feature of the language. So I asked the second question, using alternative terminology (which seemed both reasonable, and which I clarified in my question), in order to try and re-start the discussion and keep it clear of the confusion produced by the first, which had garnered answers pertinent only to the original phrasing.
I was afterwards (impatiently) directed by Alek Strom to revise the original question to better suit my intent, which I did; and later still Rebecca Chernoff went a step further and simply reverted the revisions that I had been directed to make to the original question, noting that I should never have edited it to change its scope so much, which had been my original feeling.
This is clearly a point on which this SE site can use clarification.
In cases such as these, when someone asks a question which people misinterpret (for completely understandable reasons) and give good answers to (which one may regard as being quite literally correct), but which fails to answer the intended question, is it better to revise the original question to clarify the intent, or simply ask a new question?