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Are revisions like #3 here considered acceptable? I generally edit answers to fix formatting only; this one changes the meaning of the answer and insults the author in the process (both in the answer and in the revision log). I'm assuming the latter is not ok, so this question is really about the former: is it acceptable to edit an answer to change the author's meaning, or should a wrong answer just be commented on and/or downvoted?

On one hand, the goal is for the answers to be as helpful as possible, so if a wrong answer can be improved that helps the question as a whole

On the other hand, the purpose of downvotes are to disagree with an answer, and it's possible to just post your own answer that says the correct thing instead of hijacking an existing answer

Thoughts/opinions?

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It would be best to just edit it to remove that line completely. In fact I just have. –  ChrisF Jul 14 '10 at 15:57
    
Or ask to revert to the previous answer? I liked it better. –  rlb.usa Jul 14 '10 at 15:58
    
@rlb.usa - the caveats added on the other two points are valid however –  ChrisF Jul 14 '10 at 16:00

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The author shouldn't have put the commentary in there. The appropriate thing to do would be to remove the offending line and put in the edit comments why you removed it.

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So it's considered ok to delete parts of an answer if you think they're wrong? It seems risky to modify the meaning of someone else's answer when their name and reputation are attached to it –  Michael Mrozek Jul 14 '10 at 16:00
    
He had the right idea, but the wrong wording for the right idea. If he had had the wrong idea, let the votes take care of it. –  George Stocker Jul 14 '10 at 16:02

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