Why is it a bad idea to edit forms after they've been published?

Editing a form after it's been published and used out in the wild can have some negative ramifications.  Often times we recommend versioning out the question (or even the form) if it's been used out in the field.  In this article we'll discuss what effect changing different parts of a form can have.

Question Title & Definition

Question titles and definitions are directly linked to the forms that use them.  Therefore if you change the title or definition, the change immediately shows on EVERY form that uses this question.  It is very important that if you change the title of a question that you do not change the meaning of the question.

For example, the question below asks the question: "Is the water valve ok?". By changing this to "Is the water valve not ok?" would completely change the meaning of this question and make every form that's filled out WRONG.  Now I could possibly change the question to say "Valve ok?" and this would not change the underlying meaning; thus it'd probably be ok.

List Selections

Lists are directly linked to the forms that use them.  Changing the meaning of a selection could have negative ramifications on all forms that use the list.

  • Bad Changes (changes that could change the meaning of forms already filled out)
    • Changing the Abbreviation
    • Changing the Answer
  • Ok Changes (changes that will only affect new forms or that don't change the meaning of an answer)
    • Changing the Priority
    • Changing the Text Color
    • Changing the Score
    • Changing the Default
    • Reordering
    • Deleting (this performs a soft delete, meaning any forms which use this selection will keep it, but the selection will not be available to any new form)

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