When I edit something with a lot of code to fix either spelling and grammar or code formatting, if the question contains mostly code, I get the following error message.

Oops! Your edit couldn't be submitted because:

Your post does not have much context to explain the code sections; please explain your scenario more clearly.

Why does this happen? I am certain the Stack Overflow community does not want to preserve bad grammar or code formatting.

I assume this is to prevent people from adding large blocks of code without any explanation, but if I am just formatting the code so it is readable, then there is nothing else to add. The code is usually self explanatory, once it is formatted so it can be read without giving everyone a headache.

  • 5
    They could have submitted the code without proper formatting in order to get around this very error message. (The nerve of them...) Commented Oct 28, 2012 at 19:48
  • 3
    To be fair an editor should not be getting this message. It's not their fault that the post was submitted prior to the restriction or the OP has been naughty. Commented Oct 28, 2012 at 20:39
  • Personally, I think if they purposefully would not format their code just to get around this quality filter, the answer should just be deleted, plain and simple. It doesn't meet the quality filter, so unless they want to edit it to make it meet the quality filter, it shouldn't exist.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 28, 2012 at 20:42
  • and if it's a question with an answer with upvotes @animuson? I agree but auto-deletion, especially with some of the recent bugs that have popped up is fraught with danger. Maybe auto-flagged? Commented Oct 28, 2012 at 20:44
  • @Ben: I wasn't suggesting anything automatic, but the user could flag it, yes. If it's a question which is only a block of code with little text, it's not a very real question, now is it?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Oct 28, 2012 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


The general idea, when it comes to answers, is that they should be helpful to future visitors, not just the original asker. This means that a little more effort must be put into an answer so that there's a better chance that the message can be consumed a much larger, wider audience.

Sure, the code itself may be enough to solve the asker's problem. If not, he/she will probably ask in the comments. But when it's been 6 months, and everyone involved in the problem solving is long gone, and you've come from Google, don't have a Stack Overflow account, and may not be an expert in Objective C memory management, then it helps if the posters took a little extra time to provide explanations of what the code is doing, and why it's the better solution.

The editing system has recently been tweaked to detect if there is only code in answers, and as an editor, you got caught up in something that would nowadays happen to an answerer who tries to post only code. Or, as BoltClock mentions, the answerer could have done something to subvert the system.

I'm not sure this is a bug, but just the system's way of helping to keep the quality of the Q&A high. Either way, if you can explain the code in the answer, it will make it much more likely for future visitors to make use of the information. Good luck!

  • 1
    This tend to happen to questions. Sometimes the user who wrote the question posted code along with a sentence stating what they thought it should do, and then asked why it didn't do what they expected. If the question is readable, then it will help both the people writing answers and other people with a similar problem.
    – ctype.h
    Commented Oct 28, 2012 at 20:05

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