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I'm finding myself tempted to heavily edit a couple of recent posts to remove excessive fluff/noise, or other unnecessary nonsense, but doing so would mean deleting roughly half of the question body...

In these situations where the additional information really doesn't add anything useful are such hatchet jobs acceptable?

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Large edits require care to reduce the risk of the author rolling them back. We want people to edit to improve posts, but if you think there might be disagreement on what counts as an improvement, tread carefully. When I make a major edit I explain clearly why both in the revision comment (which is there forever in the edit history) and in a comment.

To maximize success and minimize ruffled feathers, be objective and neutral in your comment. Avoid sounding judgmental. For example, in this meta post you referred to "fluff" -- which is ok here, where you're asking a general question rather than linking to a specific case, but you'd want to avoid calling the post "fluff" in that revision comment. I tend to reach for phrases like "focused on the core question" rather than phrases like "trimmed unneeded fluff".

Finally, if you have reason to believe that a particular user will react badly to a particular edit, it's better to take a lighter touch. Keep in mind that you have other tools available -- downvotes, votes to close (if, for example, it's unclear), and comments -- to provide feedback.

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One of the reasons to reject a proposed edit is:

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.

It seems to me that removing fluff could make a question easier to read. Especially if the edit also helps highlight the core question. If you write your comment so it's justifying why the edits should happen instead of explaining what you've edited (which we can already see from the diff) it will probably be better received.

It's hard to say though. A lot of this depends on the particulars of the questions you are wanting to edit.

I don't think there is an easy way to get feedback on edits once you've hit 2000 rep. Luckily all edits are tracked and rolling back an edit is a trivial task.

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    $\begingroup$ I have a strong suspicion it will lead to a roll back, given the particular user involved... Probably best to just let them attract downvotes till the question banned kicks in again. $\endgroup$ – apaul Jul 17 '17 at 2:44

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