An edit is in the queue at the time of me writing this, but I'm using it as an example and not asking about this specific edit.

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I'm actually not knowledgable about this subject to judge this edit, but let's say I was, and I agree that The proposed edit was correct, and improved the accuracy of the answer.

Alongside this consideration, one of the reasons to reject an edit is (emphasis mine):

no improvement whatsoever This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability.

And, additionally, the Help Center lists that the priviledge of editing questions and answers should be used in the case of (among others):

to correct minor mistakes or add addendums

To me, individually, editing a post to correct what I see as an error in the author's post rubs me the wrong way, but by the letter of the WB.SE law it appears to be not only acceptable, but implied to be encouraged.

What is the correct approach to both:

  • Deciding if one should make edits to answers to correct (what one views as) mistakes?
  • Approving or rejecting proposed edits that attempt to correct mistakes?

Is this something we want to, as a community, find acceptable and encourage?


2 Answers 2


A good sanity check for an edit is: do I think the author of the post would think it's fine?

Just from the snippet here, it looks like that edit is changing the author's conclusion. That's not ok in edits. When the help center talks about corrections it means things like grammar, formatting, updating broken URLs, massaging awkward wording, that sort of thing -- not changing the factual content of the post. Improvements like adding citations are also welcome.

The editor here should have instead left a comment with this information, which the author could then incorporate (or not) at his discretion.


Authorial intent should be observed as the final judge on anything. Does it change what the Author intended to convey? If yes then it shouldn't be allowed.

If the new content "adds" information in support of the argument other than a citation of source to back up the statement, then that added content should be another Answer or a Comment, because the author, as far as the editor or people approving know, has no clue what that stuff says nor how it would affect their thought process and conclusion. That information may in fact invert the Authors position.

As far as editing minor mistakes... the only thing that bothers me here is that a number of people will correct grammar, spelling, style, etc. I don't like style changes, because style can convey information as well. Grammar changes have the problem that it seems that most of the people who like to fix grammar don't know it well enough to do it. Half the time, the corrections in the same edit are split between right and wrong evenly. I didn't care to correct them when I saw the original so I'm not going to correct the new mistakes. So I only approve those edits if I think the corrections/errors balance out to being better than worse.

Side note: Someone was on a kick of correcting my grammar for a while, which I thought was hilarious because I know my grammar is wrong in a lot of places, but I don't correct it, but I sure will take someone else correcting it if they want to. ^.^ I only care about the information being transmitted.


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