In relation to How to play recorded music without electronics?.
Over the course of time I have encountered questions where people other than the OP edited the question in an effort to resolve issues brought up in comments. Too frequently, the editing effort (no matter how well intended) changes the intent (or assumes the intent) of the OP. Regrettably, the OP is almost always absent or unable to respond for a full 24 hours or more. It's amazing what can happen in that much time.
Question: What is the difference between helpful editing and vandalism?
In my opinion...
- The Help Center states anybody (with adequate rep.) can edit...
To fix grammar and spelling mistakes
To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)
To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the information relevant to the post is contained in one place
To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages
To add related resources or hyperlinks
I believe the problem is with #2. I don't know if the issue is that people are impatient, or they want to favor one answer over another, or what their issue is, but from time to time, people jump in and interpret the question on behalf of the OP.
This has occurred with the linked question. They haven't been illogical assumptions, but they were assumptions nonetheless. But what they did was:
Put the question into the VTR queue when it should not have been.
Made assumptions about the OP's intent that were not in evidence in comments.
I consider this vandalism, others may consider it acceptable editing. I'm seeking community consensus to better understand where the proverbial line should be drawn.
1 There is an attitude among some on this site that no edit should ever obsolete answers. There are times when that is false and against the basic design of Stack Exchange. (A) If a question is sufficiently within the rules such that it needs no significant clarification (i.e., clarification requests will not obsolete answers), then it is unacceptable to change the question. This is the case when an OP realizes the question they asked isn't what they intended. (B) However, if a question is not ready to be answered in that it is receiving multiple close votes or is obviously not prepared to be answered (see the Help Center, "Answer Well-Asked Questions" section), and you answered it, then you answered the question before it was ready. Now you're paying the price by having your answer obsoleted. That's unfortunate, but it should be a lesson reminding respondents that patience is a virtue and they are as responsible for helping the OP produce a good question before answering as everyone else. (C) Finally, note that what is contrary to SE's design is asking the "same" question again, only it's "right" the second time. That's justification for marking the second question a duplicate, because OPs are expected to edit their first question to make it right.