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We don't have many edits, but we have some. My overall impression is that they fall into two categories:

  • Substantial improvements to the item. Fixes language and generally tidies up the question
  • Nitpicks. Fixes spelling of a single word or three, or adds some minor formatting.
  • Additionally, the clear rejects: attempts to reply.

I have rejected quite a few edits of the last kind. Fixing capital letters of a word here and there doesn't significantly change the post; if it was unclear before, it's unclear after the proposed changes as well.

However, I'm interested in what the community thinks should be the threshold for such actions, as I see that other reviewers have differing views on things.

So in short; what threshold should we apply when approving or disapproving edits?

2 Answers 2

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I've been accepting edits of the formatting and cleanup variety because they improve the readability of the answer-as-posted. To me, that's a significant improvement worthy of an edit. Similarly, I fine with edits that trim out:

Thanks in advance

And other sign-offs. This is a long standing "ok to edit" thing.

I've been rejecting edits that do things like:

  • Rewrite scripts to update them for 10 years of command-drift. These should be a new answer.
  • Add paragraphs that shift what the original answer-writer intended, in any way, even if the new paragraph improves the correctness of the post. These should be a new answer.
    • The one exception to this is if there are comments on the post where the original poster agreed with an improvement but never got around to updating their answer. I'll approve those, sometimes.
  • Add tags that only tangentially relate to the question.

In short, editing should improve the readability and accessibility of the content. This includes changing word-choices to make things more clear, using cleaner grammar, adding/removing punctuation and capitalization, and breaking up text-walls with paragraph-breaks.

Editing should not add content that the original poster didn't add, or allude to in comments.

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  • I agree with what you write. Maybe I was unclear, but I think an edit should try to improve all aspects of answers, and minor formatting bits doesn't significantly improve the post. But thank you for your input, I appreciate it! :)
    – vidarlo
    Apr 5 at 21:24
  • 1
    I hadn't thought about it and I think you are correct regarding updating old syntax that should instead be a new answer. If I make a comment mentioning an editor of a suggested edit, do they receive notification?
    – Paul
    Apr 11 at 12:45
  • @Paul Question-askers and answer-makers do get notified when comments are left on their posts, yes.
    – sysadmin1138 Mod
    Apr 11 at 16:18
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In my opinion, an edit should fix most issues with a post, without changing the intent of the post.

Rewriting /dev/sda1 to /dev/sda1 is not worth a edit, but a large code block may be worth an edit to make it readable. If you choose to edit a post, you should attempt to fix most errors in it, not just some. Take the extra minute to read through it and check if there's other things you can fix while you're at it.

This includes fixing most formatting issues. Don't just hilight code, fix for instance lists if the user has trouble inserting a list in the correct way. Use the supported formatting tools.

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    This is an international site that used English. People can only fix what they see needs fixing. Not everyone will 'see' grammar/spelling etc that is incorrect. If several people each fix what they see needs fixing then ultimately the post is improved each time and overall.
    – user9517
    Apr 6 at 7:02

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