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I see a lot of "EDIT" in a question or answer (I use it too), to refine it after some interactions with others, or when there's a new solution (full or partial).

here is an example which uses a "EDITED =======" notation in the answer, but mostly people use Heading Size 1 for the word "Edit" (also in that example - first answer).

IMHO it could be useful to have a standard EDIT notation.
Also, knowing what kind of EDIT could be nice (is it a final solution? is it a refinement?, also: filter by edited, etc)

More examples to consider:

  1. camickr's "see above edit" comment to his answer's edit
  2. An UPDATE notation used both in question and answer and another UPDATE in an answer
  3. An EDIT in a question with some amount of traction (39 answers, ~100 votes for question and top answers)

And while looking around for examples, I see these kind of edits everywhere. It may be abusive or at least bad taste, but if users are using it so much, why not formalize it in a way that makes SO better?

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That third example is even worse: it's editing an answer into the question. Why would you want to encourage that by formalizing it? I really think it does not make Stack Exchange better. –  Arjan Dec 28 '11 at 13:38
    
Now, that the issue is dropped, I'm not gonna pick it up. However, the phenomena stands and in big numbers... –  Asaf Dec 29 '11 at 8:08

2 Answers 2

No thanks.

I dislike "edit:" and "update:" a lot, and after a few days they need to be taken out of the post altogether. For future reference, posts need to be standalone, without any history. These sites are not fora. Future readers are not helped at all by seeing all kind of history.

When people wonder about what changed, they can click the time next to "edited" to see the revision history. Early answerers can be alerted using comments.

Only when existing answers really become invalid due to changing the question, then "edit:" and "update:" are helpful. Though then I think the edit itself should not have happened to start with, and even then truly editing/revising the post itself (rather than adding text below it) and summarizing that with a single line like "edit: changed ..." is much more helpful.

Like for your second example, I feel the following is bad:

The width of the dropdown [...] by using:

list.setPrototypeDisplayValue(....);

Edit:

Actually, forget about using setPrototypeDisplayValue(...), [...]

I would just have revised the whole post to get one definitive answer, and only if really needed also add:

(Edit: I replaced my earlier advice to use setPrototypeDisplayValue, [...])

Or, in the comment:

@M.Joanis, I replaced my earlier advice to use setPrototypeDisplayValue, [...], see above.

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When I read a one-year-old answer, I don't care much for the history of the edits - I want to know what was the original question and how it was refined towards any of the meaningful answers (accepted or not) –  Asaf Dec 27 '11 at 11:30
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I disagree, Asaf. In that case, the question apparently was changed too much and the answer not revised to get in line with that. Comments can be used to point that out to future visitors. Using "edit:" et al is just polluting the site and makes things harder to read. –  Arjan Dec 27 '11 at 11:35
    
I agree with the "Don't pollute" theme, but would like to see better notations for Q/A refinements towards the correct answer(s). As you cleverly pointed out (by editing my answer), "Edit: removed -this and that-" is pointless –  Asaf Dec 27 '11 at 13:22
    
But I also find your new example a bad habit, Asaf; see my edit. –  Arjan Dec 27 '11 at 13:33
    
I've added more examples to my question, since I find it hard to accept your answer :). i'll sleep on it –  Asaf Dec 28 '11 at 13:32
    
No worries, Asaf, surely you don't have to (and should not) accept my answer! Many feature requests have no accepted answer until a developer posts something like "Implemented". And it only had 60 views up till now. –  Arjan Dec 28 '11 at 13:40

I understand your idea behind the suggestion, but I am going to disagree with it, for different reasons than Arjan does in their answer.

I think adding such notes is useful, to help people who may be coming back to the post, so they can quickly find the updated information. However, I disagree with formalizing it into an automatic tag of some sort, and I think it's best to actually post it as plain text with no emphasis whatsoever.

My reasoning doesn't amount to a strong objection, but it is basically centered around SEO of the posts: Emphasizing the word "edit" or "update" could potentially weaken the SEO of a post, by encouraging a search engine to give those meaningless words more weight than they should be given.

My guess is that most search engines will recognize a word like 'edit' as a noise word in many cases, but giving it emphasis in the HTML might be a suggestion to the engine to upgrade it from noise to something valuable. Perhaps especially if the word appears and is emphasized multiple times.


Again, I don't have a strong opinion here, but I just think that it's unimportant enough not to take the minor risk.

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Indeed, it's been repeatedly reported here that about 90% of the traffic is from search engines. So SEO counts. But then, if so many visitors come here from search engines, why still deem "edit:" et al useful? Those visitors don't need that history to be that visible (if at all), but first of all need readable posts. And the alternative (that is: revise the post as a whole; don't add things to the end) are not bad for regular visitors either, I feel. –  Arjan Dec 29 '11 at 9:27

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