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The Blog said "It is OK to edit a question to make it more general." and so I did here

Facebook-style multiple image upload

However when I did that the ... OP has just roll-backed the changes to first revision (even ignoring the tags that gave him answers). since OP doesn't really care about the question(he could at least merge some of my changes) should I fight to make the question more general or ignore it?

P.S. However that whole experience taught me to never edit .... not interesting questions(he could google that in a minute).

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The blog is wrong. –  Kobi Jan 10 '11 at 7:27
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I don't think it is right to edit a question to make it more general. –  JP19 Jan 10 '11 at 7:34
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You shortened it too much and made it less readable. –  mario Jan 10 '11 at 7:37
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The Blog cant be wrong, The Blog is the law. Its like saying the Pope is wrong, he just can't! –  IAdapter Jan 10 '11 at 7:41
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But I put also javascript there and right tags(now it really has no tags) –  IAdapter Jan 10 '11 at 7:42
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The pope is also wrong, but that's off-topic. –  Kobi Jan 10 '11 at 7:43
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The Pope is Infallibility, its by design - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility –  IAdapter Jan 10 '11 at 7:51
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What makes it "your" question? –  marcog Jan 10 '11 at 9:02
    
I made it better(more generic) and it was destroyed by the person that wrote the orginal question. –  IAdapter Jan 10 '11 at 9:15
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@01: Papal infallibility only applies in a limited number of situations, as the Wikipedia article explains. "The Pope is not an oracle; he is infallible in very rare situations, as we know." But to get back on topic (I can't believe I'd ever quote the Pope on SO): the blog, infallible or not, also said: "if the author of the post is resistant to your editing changes, even a perfectly legitimate edit based on the above rules, be the bigger man (or woman) and let them have it their way" –  Jan Fabry Jan 10 '11 at 10:52

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I think in the example mentioned in your question, the rollback to first version was wise step from OP. This is because, usually OP tries to give proper start and explaination to what he expects from others. Your edit made it too short and very generic I feel. Hence OP had to revert back.

Also edits are usually done to correct formatting, spelling mistakes, tags etc. Seldom used to modify a question to make it more generic. But you need not get disheartened for one rollback. You can still continue to edit questions for better requirement and understanding.

In your case, you could've edited the question to add a note below OP's question to ask, "In General: ".

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The problem was, the question was already fairly general: unlike many similar questions on SO, it didn't specify a server or server-side language, or a laundry-list of application-specific requirements; even jQuery turned out to be more or less optional, leaving "no Flash" as the only real restriction...

In this case, you'd have been better served hunting down a previous question with the same restriction (no Flash) that did list an additional, superfluous requirement (say, PHP) which didn't figure into the answers and generalizing that... And then voting to close the new one as a duplicate. This was sorta the point of the blog post - users don't necessarily know what details are relevant until after their question has been answered... But once that's happened, you (the editor) can go back and remove the red herrings, allowing others to more easily benefit from it.

...Oh... And to answer your title question: no, don't fight. Edit wars are pointless. Don't ever be afraid to edit aggressively, but always respect the original author's right to reject your changes. If you feel the OP (or anyone else) is actively hurting a question by rejecting your edits, then flag for moderator attention or post about it here.

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I agree with Shog and Sachin here, your edit made the question too general. The OP used FaceBook to give an example of what he'd like to achieve, it's ok to do that.

Without the example we have no idea what he expects, the example helps narrow this down.

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My guide for editing a question (or answer) is to try to make the thing being edited more like what the original author of it really wanted (together with an assumption in favor of good spelling and grammar). For example, giving a better choice of tags to a question improves the chance that the question will be answered well by someone knowledgeable, so it is a good thing to do, as is fixing a broken URL or adding formatting.

Given that that's what I consider to be good editing, what you did was not. In particular, you took a question that was pretty clear (in essence, "This is an example; how does it work and how can I reproduce it?") and well-written, and made it much less clear what the starting point was while also making it less good grammatically. Oh dear!

On the “make a question more general” front, the aim is to get questions and answers that can be reused by other people. The question as posed already largely met that criterion (though perhaps it would have been nice if it cited two separate examples) so it didn't need work. That's quite in contrast to the all-too-common questions which are essentially just “fix my code for me” or “do my homework for me”; those are the ones that need generalizing (or just plain closing, of course). It's important to not overgeneralize though, or you end up with “Why?” “Because.”

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