# Is this rejected edit in line with SE goals?

My edit to the question Overpopulation . . . IN SPACE! was rejected with the standard This edit deviates from the original intent of the post.

We have of course to guess at the intent of the post. I assume it is to get answers, and then the amount of non-essential text does not really help.

Aren't SE sites supposed to be about (concise) Questions and answers? All this excess verbiage does not help the OP getting answers IMO.
Does Worldbuilding allow more prose?

Note that the question has been edited later.

Being one of those who rejected your edit, I should probably try to explain my point of view.

I would say, that this is again one of those cases where Worldbuilding differ from other SE sites. Your edit suppressed 70-80% of the content of the OP. With it, you removed any background information on the world the OP intend to build. This background can give indications to the answerers about what they should or shouldn't include.

There isn't any correlation between length and quality. Too verbose aren't good, but so are too short questions. The latter usually ending with a series of comments asking for precisions, more details, etc.

If you don't like the question as it is asked, you can comment and/or downvote. But editing large bunches out isn't a good solution. Generally edits should be limited to grammar/typo/etc. More, you should comment to suggest to the OP to edit him/herself.

• I agree with this. The post may have been a little too 'verbose', but it sure beats the other side of the spectrum. I'm glad I looked here though, I saw that edit yesterday but decided against voting it down so I could see what everyone else did with it. – DaaaahWhoosh Jul 30 '15 at 13:22
• Something one can do, when feeling that the question is too long, is to edit and **boldface** the specific question, put in a # heading making it easy to find, or something similar. That maintains the OP's intent, preserves the background for those who want it, while at the same time making the question much easier to skim for those who are in a hurry and just want to judge whether to spend time answering that particular one or not. Same goes for editing a question title if that is unclear or excessively witty to the point of impacting understanding of what the OP is actually asking. – a CVn Jul 30 '15 at 21:33

Background information helps establish the context in which the question is asked. In many cases this can be a good thing. In no case that I can think of can we say that removing that information preserves the intent of the original poster.

That said, there are other things one can do to make the question easier to read. I originally posted these as a comment on bilbo_pingouin's answer, but I think they deserve to be in an answer instead.

• Edit the question and **boldface** the important part to make it stand out better. This works well if the important part is a few sentences or less.
• Edit the question and put a # heading above the important part. This works well if the important part is longer, but well isolated.
• Edit the question, copy the specific question to the top, and prefix the remainder with something like "background material:" to make it clear what is extra material that can be useful to understand the question but might not be required reading. This works well if the specific question is fairly well-contained.
• Edit the question and give it a solid title. This helps readers quickly get an idea of what the question is about, which aids in skimming for relevant details. While witty titles can be fun, they are not always conducive to promoting a quick understanding of what the question is about. Just a really good question title can be what makes the difference between a moderately bad question, and a fairly decent question.

All of these preserve the intent of the original poster, while improving readability or answerability. Which is much better than to edit out large portions of what the original poster wrote which, after all, are relevant to the question.

It is a very different matter if the excess material is unrelated to the question that is being asked. As a slightly contrived example, which obviously would need to be much more detailed to be an actual acceptable question, if someone were to post:

I love chocolate and strawberry ice cream, which I eat while building my worlds. My unicorns descended from horses but evolved naturally a horn projecting from its forehead. How did this horn evolve?

then even if the non-question part is fairly long, it would be perfectly reasonable to edit out the first part:

I love chocolate and strawberry ice cream, which I eat while building my worlds. My unicorns descended from horses but evolved naturally a horn projecting from its forehead. How did this horn evolve?

leaving only the part of the question that is actually relevant to answering the question:

My unicorns descended from horses but evolved naturally a horn projecting from its forehead. How did this horn evolve?