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In spending a bit of time reviewing edits on SO I came across this suggested edit that I just wasn't sure how to handle.

It has 1 approve vote and 1 reject vote with the reason of:

This edit is incorrect or an attempt to reply to or comment on the existing post.

(A second reject vote with the same reason was given after the posting of this question.)

Is it considered generally acceptable for a 3rd party to combine two answers that are fundamentally saying the same thing? My gut instinct is that no, it isn't.

But what should the rejection reason be? This doesn't really seem like an incorrect edit, nor does it seem like something that should be a comment.

The 'copied content' reason seems like it could be appropriate, if only it didn't specifically say "external" content.

It's not really a radical change. It's proposing the same answer, but just adding a more detailed explanation to go with the code snippet. The message of the answer is maintained.

It's certainly not too minor or vandalism.

Or do you think that this should be an approved edit?

I imagine that this would be a place where rejecting with custom message is appropriate, but what should it say?

share|improve this question
I am kind of new still to SO, but I tend to not really pay attention to answers if they have an acceptance. I think there should be a way to reference or mention other aswers. I would have added a line that would have lead into the first code block and explained it. – Ryan B Jun 11 '12 at 19:01
@RyanB All answers have an anchor associated with them, so you can indeed provided a URL to any given answer (there is even a handy 'link' link under all answers that generates that URL for you). – Servy Jun 11 '12 at 19:03
well yes, you could grab the link. I was thinking of a short tag. – Ryan B Jun 11 '12 at 19:05
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Although I am greatly in favor of strong, even aggressive editing, I think that this one goes too far.

It's rather drastically changing the content of the post; while it seems to be useful added content, that content is also available just a little further down the page. Editing (I'd say especially suggested edits, since they must be reviewed) should largely be formal -- grammar, punctuation, formatting, wording. It should carve away the excess marble, in effect.

Second, the answer being edited is still very new; its poster is quite likely to be reachable in a reasonable amount of time via comment: "This is a fine answer, but how about making it even better with a link to the docs?".

share|improve this answer
I don't think "a little further down the page" gets a tenth of the visibility of the top answer. Can't we find a solution for these Answer improvement attempts ? – Morg. May 24 '13 at 9:58

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