I'm a new SO member and I experienced this use case: sometimes there exists a good answer to a question, but the answer does contain some missing detail or inexact information. Having a low reputation, I was given the possibility to edit that answer (quite rude, given the low reputation), but not the possibility to leave a comment for that answer to suggest a correction.

Shouldn't a higher reputation be needed to modify what someone else wrote than to just discuss, clarify or provide feedback on it?

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up vote 18 down vote accepted

A higher reputation is required to directly modify something that someone else wrote.

What you're seeing is the suggested edits feature, which requires the edit to be approved by 2 other users with full editing privileges. (You can find more information about suggested edits here, and a complete listing of all privileges that can be earned here.)

The idea is that anyone can edit posts to format code, fix typos, etc. There's no reason to put all that work off on high-rep users. Suggested edits are not intended to "provide feedback" on someone else's answer. Those edits will (or should!) be rejected by the reviewers.

Finally, it's worth noting that there really is absolutely nothing "rude" about editing an answer to fix typos or other mistakes. Much like Wikipedia, this site is collaboratively edited.

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oh, sorry, I should have payed more attention to the full extent of the editing feature. I totally understand and support what you wrote, thank you a lot! –  ftartaggia Aug 15 '11 at 14:28
    
@ftartaggia: No problem. It does get a little bit confusing the more new features get added. But I think this one is definitely worth it! –  Cody Gray Aug 15 '11 at 14:29
    
It's strange that i have enough reputation to comment on a meta solution but not on a regular stack solution. Sometimes the comments are edits to the code, but not something that can be expressed in a {code} statement such as a suggestion of where to embed something on a page, order of operations, etc. It's definitely not intuitive to post another Answer that is piggy-backing on an existing, up-voted answer, but if the suggestion is not necessarily a "fix" either, it seems rude to edit an accepted solution just for an edge case. –  MrLoggins Mar 22 '13 at 17:59
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