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Editing others' posts - general etiquette
Is it OK to edit a correct answer for fullness instead of answering?

I've actually come across this scenario twice:

I stumble across a question for which I want to know the answer, say I'm looking for information about an obscure error message. The original poster has already accepted an answer.

Now although my question is similar to the poster's, the accepted answer failed to resolve my question completely. It mentions one possible cause of the error. (It did at least point me in the right direction). I eventually find a solution to my problem (I found an additional cause for the same error message), and rather than posting another answer to the question, I edit the accepted answer appending my findings at the end.

Obviously there's no rule book for when its appropriate to edit another's post so consensus opinion is the most I could hope for.

What is and isn't acceptable reasons for editing another user's post? I'll take the liberty of listing some of the "givens".

Acceptable

  • Spelling/Grammar correction
  • Re-tagging

Unacceptable

  • Vandalism
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marked as duplicate by jmfsg, perbert, alex, Ladybug Killer, Shog9 Feb 2 '10 at 20:28

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Here's the answer in question: stackoverflow.com/questions/644331/… –  Jon Seigel Feb 2 '10 at 20:21
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3 Answers 3

The correct action in your case would be to add your own answer.

Why give someone else credit for your hard work?

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It's acceptable to edit another's answer if it makes it a better answer, without changing any original intent. This is if your solution was derived from his answer or is related to it. It's all about quality.

You're not only helping any answer-seekers, but you're helping the original answerer to get more upvotes.

If you found a solution that was completely different than any of the answers, then post it as an answer itself, leaving those other answers as alternatives. If any of those answers you found to be completely wrong, then you could leave a comment for the OP.

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If you have a lot to add about this particular problem, feel free to add your own answer, even though one has already been accepted and likely the original rubberneckers have already wandered off.

If you just have a slight amendment, you could add that as a comment under the accepted answer, e.g. "this solution mostly worked for me too, except I had to use the Frobnitz in the Foobar rather than the Whizzbang, and I needed to add option Quux."

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