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I wonder if it's acceptable to rephrase someone else's main question text. My English is far from being perfect, and I'm quite a noob at StackOverflow, but today I've almost totally rewritten someone else's question because I considered his English as too poor and his question was almost not understandable (he was traducing literally from the same foreign language as me).

Is it legit or abuse to edit for grammar?

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2 Answers

The main guideline is to remain true to the spirit of the original post. Adding new information you think they know is usually wrong. Improving grammar, spelling, punctuation, or REMOVING CAPS is usually right. Changing posts from

<pre><code>&lt;script></code></pre>

markup to using our native backtick or four-spaces code markup is usually right. Changing 'i' to 'I' is usually right, but don't bother if that's the only improvement you can find. :)

As @Won't points out, your edits will go into a Suggested Edits queue to await moderation by higher-reputation users. Please don't think of this is an annoyance for anyone -- in the time it would take me, personally, to improve one post, I can vote Accept or Reject on a dozen suggested edits. (I've never seen a suggested edit take more than an hour to be Accepted or Rejected, but five minutes is more usual.)

Please keep the edits coming.

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You can't edit anything. You can submit edits that have to be approved by moderators or other high-rep users. So, if you are incorrect in your edits, then nothing will happen from it. If you are correct, your edit will be accepted and you'll get two rep.

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Until you have 2000 rep, at which point you can go nuts with the editing. ;) –  Anna Lear Jun 10 '11 at 21:04
    
Ok, I was ignoring this subtility. So in my case as the edit has been published I guess that my rephrasing was legit...At the same time it explains why the modification author was not me but someone with a lot of credits... –  az01 Jun 10 '11 at 21:08
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@az01, sometimes I'll hit the "Improve" button and make changes to the suggested edit version -- and then when I hit "Save", I get blamed for the entire edit. (Which is sometimes annoying, when the original version was better in the first place. Happens sometimes.) Or, someone might have come along after yours was saved, and then make some more edits. (It's not uncommon to see six or seven edits on individual posts; click the "15 minutes ago" in the "edited 15 minutes ago" on your question here to see the edit history -- available on every edited post.) –  sarnold Jun 10 '11 at 21:17
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