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I've just been presented with a suggested edit to an accepted answer - but the edit was proposed by the OP himself, in which he clarified that the answer was right, but with a few tweaks/revisions which he wanted to communicate to viewers. He didn't amend the answer, but appended clearly-labelled comment and code.

I hovered over the accept button, but wanted to check and couldn't find any specific guidance.

In the meantime, ironically, the suggested edit has been rejected by another user...

Is there any accepted guidance for OP comments in an accepted answer? Or is it purely down to judgement?

In my opinion, what was being proposed as an edit was valuable, but I questioned whether it was the right place for such an edit.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I generally view edits to answers a bit differently than edits to questions as I have seen some issues with people making radical edits to answers, thinking they were doing the right thing, but they ended up making a mistake (and with the current state of the approval processing, the edits were accepted).

I would normally reject an edit that changes an answer unless:

  1. I am 100% certain the edit is valid and correct
  2. The editor left a comment for the answerer stating the necessary changes
  3. The original answerer did not object via comment

The problem is two-fold. First, answerers tend to be more protective about the content of the answers as their name is attached to it, so they don't want someone making a change that would reflect negatively on them. Second, it can be tough to get a fix approved because of common practice that discourages edits that change answers.

I do agree that the answer doesn't belong to the answerer anymore, nor does it belong to the OP. It belongs to the community as a whole, so the community should be able to edit it as needed. However, the original poster (of the answer) should be given the right of first refusal to make the suggested changes or at least explain why he/she objected to it.

I saw a case once where someone suggested an edit that added a substantial content to an answer (even more so than what was suggested in this case), and that edit was accepted. But it turned out that the edit was wrong, and when the original suggester realized his mistake, the suggested edit to fix it was rejected, so you were left with an incorrect accepted answer.

In this specific case, I think the edit should have been rejected. If the question OP has something else to add, a comment would have been appropriate, and maybe even another answer (I'm not familiar enough with the content of this answer to make a decision on that).

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Wouldn't it be better just to edit the edited answer? –  acjay Nov 23 '12 at 20:54
@acjohnson55 since we are generally referring to suggested edits in this specific scenario, there is usually not an new edit to make... the suggested edit is either valid or not valid. –  psubsee2003 Nov 24 '12 at 0:05

I suppose it's still the same as with all the answer edits:

  • if you're sure the edit improves the answer, accept it
  • if you're sure the edit doesn't add anything valuable to the answer, reject it
  • if you're not sure about any of above, skip the decision to someone more knowledgeable. It's how the community moderation works, after all; isn't it?

Of course, in theory the OP should know its topic enough to make a good contribution. In practice, it's not always so; and the answer doesn't belong to him/her alone.

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