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I was reviewing suggested edits and came across a suggested edit from an anonymous to a highly upvoted answer dated 2008.

I rarely make a decision when it comes to edits on answers, I usually skip and let the author decide whether to accept or reject the edit. But this time I thought let me investigate.

After some research I verified the edit was right and I thought it should add more value to the answer, so I approved it. After a minute or so the edit was rejected for it could be that This edit changes too much in the original post; the original meaning or intent of the post would be lost.

So I wanted to know if what I did was the right thing to do. And wondering if suggested edits on answers should only be accepted/rejected by the author or someone who is relatively experienced in the content the answer addresses.

Edit

I took Matt's advice and rejected an edit that seemed like "putting words in the OP's mouth", But the edit got approved by other reviewers.

2 Answers 2

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This edit is a good one (assuming it is correct, which I haven't verified). It adds information to the post, which is relevant, correct (I assume), and in the style of the existing post. The edit makes the post better, respects the original answerer. The additional information complements the post and does not supplant it, so it is better made part of the post than a separate answer. The edit falls squarely under “add addendums / updates as the post ages”, it does not cause “the original meaning or intent of the post [to be] lost”. You were right to accept the edit.

While the #1 problem with suggested edit reviews is reviewers who accept all kinds of crap, there is also a frequent problem with reviewers who reject improvements.

The second suggested edit you cite is a different beast. It is not presented clearly: the editor added some marginally-relevant information to the end of the post, but that information qualifies something that is mentioned right at the beginning of the answer. This edit should have been improved (if you understood what it was about) or rejected as incorrect.

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  • I've gone through your previous discussions on this topic, They all made sense to me. I was even surprised to see your comments about anonymous editors. Great minds think alike. Thank you ! Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 8:10
  • Sorry but I disagree. Stack Overflow is not Wikipedia, I don't think people should start adding code to existing posts. For <2K it might still be fine as others will review and hopefully get the right decision, but allowing such thing in general can make 2K+ users start adding stuff without any supervision and starting to keep track on such things is a big headache. In my opinion it's better to just leave comment and ask the post author to add something, or post whole new answer. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 8:24
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    @ShaWizDowArd As the former /about page said, SE has Wikipedia-like aspects, and one of them is that other people can edit your posts. There is no magic reason why code would be off-limits. The fact that posts can be and do get edited is an important part of why SE doesn't get stale like forum posts. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 9:10
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    @Gilles I am fine with others fixing occasional typo or my grammar but I don't want people to change my code, remove parts or add their own. I will personally roll back such edits to my posts. If someone has problem or something to add to existing code, we have comments for this. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 9:14
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This isn't really a case of "the original meaning or intent of the post would be lost", it is a case of "putting words in the OP's mouth". This isn't the same as saying the content in the edit isn't useful; it's saying that the information should not be added to the page in the form of an edit.

This sort of information would be best added as a separate answer. If you really want to, add a comment to the post to the effect of:

For those looking for HomeBrew instructions, see this answer.

Infact, several answers on the same post exist with Homebrew instructions, which is another reason this edit is unnecessary/ noisy.

TLDR: I believe it was right that this edit was rejected.

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  • Could an anonymous post a comment? and I checked the other answers, they weren't exactly the same. Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 23:53
  • No, but nothing's stopping them from doing so and gaining enough rep to do this, nor is there nothing stopping you from posting the answer/ comment on their behalf.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 23:54
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    ... if it's new information to the existing, then it should be added as a new answer. It is still not suited as an edit, as it's still putting words in the OP's mouth IMO.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 23:59
  • I just thought since the answer was accepted and highly upvoted, there was no harm on updating it. Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 0:00
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    An edit was the right thing in this case. The additional information complements nicely what was already in the answer and is presented in the same style. It's better to have the information right there than introduce yet another level of indirection. Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 1:25
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    @Gilles: Posting another answer to the question is hardly another level of indirection, and complementary information is good enough reason by itself to add another answer IMO.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 10:32

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