I'm in the habit of rejecting edits to answers that add a substantial amount of information that the original answerer clearly didn't just forget to add in but didn't plan on adding to begin with.

Here's an example of a case like this.

The answer was posted 3 hours prior to the edit being made. The edit in question added what looks to be significant (and necessary) information to the answer.

I rejected that edit because the mistake of leaving that bit out is the answerer's to make and not our's to fix.

So, how exactly should I deal with those kinds of edits? Is it usually just up to the reviewer to approve or reject it? I can see a reason to approve it being that other changes were also made.

For further reference, here is another example. Here, the lack of including "my" before "toolbar" in the code and the capitalization of "Bar" in "UIToolbar" may or may not have been a mistake that the answerer simply overlooked, but I still think it's their responsibility to fix it. If their answer is incorrect, they should take responsibility.

  • 4
    There is a small problem with the example, the answerer actually invited the editer to do this: thanks for guiding me missing point, i will be happy if you edit my answer. – Android Coder
    – Ral Zarek
    Aug 17, 2012 at 6:43
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    I think rejecting everything is a bit too much. However, such edits should be rigorously reviewed by people having experience with the problem, which is not that common.
    – nhahtdh
    Aug 17, 2012 at 7:19
  • One more example.
    – Himanshu
    Aug 17, 2012 at 9:08
  • 2
    Blocking people from genuinely making content better for some convoluted reason can never be a good thing. Forget about rep, user names, all that cruft. The only thing that matters is Qs and As. Anything that makes them better must be encouraged. Aug 17, 2012 at 12:54

2 Answers 2


Well, I for one don't want half answers, or answers where some vital bit is missing. There's no guarantee the person that answered the question will ever come back to their answer to make changes.

I'm all for editing the answer and making it (and thus the whole site) more useful. That is, after all, the whole point of allowing people to edit.

If that were the only change made, it's worthwhile.

I'm actually rather dismayed to hear you've been doing this, as it makes me wonder how many great answers have been left as mediocre answers after someone took the time and effort to better it, just because you would rather point a finger and say "you screwed up, you should fix it" to the original poster.

It doesn't matter in the least who "fixes" (for lack of a better term) it, it should be fixed if it needs to be.

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    But if reputation is a measure of the community's trust in you, how could you trust someone who gained rep from an answer that was incorrect but fixed by someone else?
    – Someone
    Aug 17, 2012 at 6:36
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    Honestly, I don't think I care. People come to SO (or whiever stack site) for answers. For the most part they don't care where it came from or how it got into the state it is in, they just want a correct and helpful answer. I've seen some high-rep users make some awfully bad answers, so I don't necessarily equate rep with knowledge to be "trusted". Heck, you can get 1000 rep by editing... that rep says nothing about your programming skills (assuming SO site here)... So how can I "trust" the answers a person who got their rep that way provides?
    – Barak
    Aug 17, 2012 at 6:45
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    @Purmou I think you're putting too much stock in the reputation thing. Reputation is sure sign of how trustworthy your answers are anyway. Lots more people get rep from twice as many half baked answers instead of a few good ones. If somebody is willing to edit and fix some of these, more power to them! The OP will also get notified that their stuff was edited and have a change to review it, make sure they want their name still on it, revert if necessary, but most importantly realize that they missed something! Answers are community editable for a reason. Please let this happen.
    – Caleb
    Aug 17, 2012 at 11:51
  • Exactly, providing the right answer is the most important part.
    – Morg.
    May 24, 2013 at 9:19

The first example requires knowledge of the subject matter to decide. If you don't have this subject knowledge, skip it (“Not sure”). If it is true that the permission is required, then this is an important complementary piece of information. This extra information doesn't belong in an answer of its own. It could be posted as a comment, but that would make legible formatting impossible and would make it less visible: it's better to have it in the answer.

The second example is definitely a good edit. It fixes syntax errors in the original post and doesn't change the intended meaning in any way. It's obvious that this is something the original answerer did plan to write, only he typed this code without the benefit of a compiler to point out the typos.

As the FAQ says:

If you see something that needs improvement, click edit and help us make it so! (…) If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

Adding relevant complements or fixing minor mistakes in an answer is good. Stack Exchange aims at being a repository of good answers, not a repository of incomplete and only-mostly-correct answers. It isn't just the answerer's responsibility to fix mistakes, it's the whole community's.

  • +1 A much more eloquent statement of my feeling
    – Barak
    Aug 29, 2012 at 5:01

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