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I answered a question on JavaScript security. It is a very, very basic question - something which would be answered during the first day of getting a web dev degree - but it's not inherently a bad question:

Can a hacker inject values in to my jQuery function?

However, it was formatted exceptionally poorly - the asker doesn't seem to speak English natively - and it was, I am certain, being hammered with downvotes because of its presentation instead of the question's merits. As a result, I edited the question.

Is this okay? I edited it very shortly (less than five minutes) after answering, so any bumping would be minimal (and definitely not the intent.) How should I deal with situations like this in the future?

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2 Answers

Absolutely!

As long as you don't change the meaning of a post, editing for grammar, spelling and formatting is explicitly encouraged. You even get a badge for editing if you do it often enough, that's how much we want you to do so.

There is no conflict of interests in editing a question, provided you don't change the meaning to fit your answer.

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I know editing is encouraged, I'm just incredibly paranoid about conflicts of interest. Also incredibly paranoid in general, but that's neither here nor there. :) –  Kerin Aug 25 '12 at 17:46
    
Should your edit be problematic or mistaken, then the OP can always roll it back. So don't worry too much. Nice pants by the way. –  Bart Aug 25 '12 at 17:48
    
Nice pants? That's, uh, unnerving. Though I am wearing nice ones at the moment :/ –  Kerin Aug 25 '12 at 17:58
    
Actually today I totally changed a question here on Meta, and totally to change its meaning to fit my answer... ;-) –  Arjan Aug 25 '12 at 18:40
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Look at it this way: once a post has been asked and answered to everyone's satisfaction, it will stay on the site for months and years. If it's going to have value and not just take up space, then it should be:

  • tagged and titled well, so it's searchable
  • clear and concise so that it's easy to digest

So if you're improving the question in those areas, then you're doing the community a valuable service.

As a footnote, dealing with those noob-type questions often presents a gray area, especially where the questioner's first language isn't English. You could conclude that you understand where the questioner is coming from, although confused, and provide a general educational type answer (as you did). Or you could decide that the question is simply too incoherent to be of any value (as 5 people have done now, closing it as "not a real question"). It's a judgement call.

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