When I see users edit their questions they often do this:

Question as before

new information

In my opinion this obfuscates the question because it is now two things patched together instead of one unified question. When I read the question I cannot truly understand the question until I have read all of the edits as well.

The whole point of being able to edit is to modify the text, not only append to it

The word "hello" is removed automatically from the start of questions.

Can "Edit" be similarly "errorized"?

It could be highlighted when using "Edit" that new information can be merged with the existing text instead.

It might take longer to edit, but hopefully this would make the question easier to read and improve the quality of questions.

  • 2
    Related. Apr 18, 2013 at 10:31
  • While you are talking about questions, "Edit" could be useful in answers sometimes
    – Antony
    Apr 18, 2013 at 10:35
  • thanks @Dukeling. At first I figured it was a duplicate, but it seems only to ask if it's Ok. I wonder if any action could be taken in order to discourage it
    – default
    Apr 18, 2013 at 10:36
  • @Antony not really, because his old answer is obsolete. Thus it would have no meaning. If I read his answer I'll start reading the old information! If I read the two first paragraphs I'll be misguided. As I said, I have to read the complete post in order to find a solution.
    – default
    Apr 18, 2013 at 10:38
  • I don't see anything wrong with it so long as it is not overused e.g. edit1, edit2, edit3... and so on. If someone that is trying to assist you comes back to the question, having the word edit or update stands out helps them notice the change.
    – Ren
    Apr 18, 2013 at 10:50
  • Just make a habit of checking whether there's an edit at the bottom first? Apr 18, 2013 at 11:02
  • @Dukeling not everyone makes edits to the bottom. Some people add it to the top and others add it in the middle of the post.
    – Ren
    Apr 18, 2013 at 11:28
  • I'll add my comment to Dukeling here as well: @Ren When I code I don't do Method and then if I want to change it MethodWithEdit and later CallThisInsteadSinceItsMethodWithEditAndSecondEdit. I modify the Method. Why not use that analogy when editing posts? As a future reader I'm not interested in what was in the "first" Method. I am however interested in the updated and patched version.
    – default
    Apr 18, 2013 at 11:36
  • @Ren Also, according to me, questions aren't so much for returning users, as it is a library for future users. Another coding analogy - When I code I strive for maintainability so that future readers of my code can understand it. Same goes for comments and what not. It's not so much for the ones who are currently editing it.
    – default
    Apr 18, 2013 at 11:41
  • @Default If there are already answers on a question based on the earlier method, these would just look plain wrong like the user ignored the question if the fact that an edit to the method was not highlighted.
    – Ren
    Apr 18, 2013 at 12:12
  • @Ren then that should probably be another question.. If I add Edit with a new question, the answers will still be wrong.
    – default
    Apr 18, 2013 at 12:13
  • @Ren Edits at the top are no problem, edits in the middle are rare at best. Though sometimes edits (at the bottom) are so long (and/or have formatting) that they're no longer easy to spot or the posts are so long that scrolling to the bottom takes a while. Anyway, it wasn't a cure-all, just a suggestion to reduce the need for all this. Apr 18, 2013 at 12:20
  • @Dukeling agreed on the edits at the bottom of long posts. Default - it probably should but a lot of users simply edit their existing post when it hasn't received a lot of attention. In these cases, the users that were working on an answer, or already viewed the question to come back to and answer later etc. would benefit from having the edit highlighted. That's my 2 cents at least anyway.
    – Ren
    Apr 18, 2013 at 12:24
  • @Ren And I thank you for your feedback, even though I don't agree with it :) However, this is the reason I asked the question in the first place, to get input on it.
    – default
    Apr 18, 2013 at 12:32
  • Not sure why this was closed as a duplicate, I am asking if we can take action the "duplicate" asks if it is correct or not. The "duplicate" does not answer the question if the word edit could be prohibited when editing.
    – default
    Apr 22, 2013 at 11:11

1 Answer 1


I strongly dislike edits that introduce the word "edit" or "update" in questions or answers.

For changelogs there's a perfectly good comment and history to go with every edit. The goal is to have one question and its answers. It doesn't really matter if the wording was clarified or the answer expanded at some point, what matters is that the current state is coherent and as you would write it naturally if there never was an edit.

If people are going around making large changes to questions that's a bigger problem than randomly writing edit can ever solve (no matter how bold you make the text). At worst if something was ambiguous and subsequently clarified comments give an ephemeral notification and explain what's going on and what needs fixing.

There are cases where you might well end up including text that hints at the fact an edit has occurred, e.g.:

Since version x.y (released dd/mm/yy) there's a much cleaner, all signing all dancing method for frobination:


For older versions (proir to x.y) frobination can be achieved by stringing together a bunch of foos:


Given all the drawbacks of this it's well worth upgrading if you have the choice.

It's highly likely that the second method was added via an edit, but the the text that conveys that is pure information - there's no fluff, it all tells you more than the "this post was edited" box. It doesn't really matter if that edit was added by the person who answered when they discovered the neater way or at the request of the OP who added a comment/edit about the specific version they're using.

  • In your opinion, what would have been the best way to introduce this edit?
    – Ren
    Apr 18, 2013 at 15:14
  • 1
    @Ren That should probably be posted as an answer, not as an edit to the question.
    – Servy
    Apr 18, 2013 at 15:16
  • @Servy but it doesn't make an attempt at answering the question. Just mentions that the update was submitted the third time. The question is why did the first two times fail with no error information displayed and with the process flow being the same as that for a successful edit submission.
    – Ren
    Apr 18, 2013 at 15:17
  • @Ren Then make that the question, as if it were the question right from the start, "Why did this fail the first two times I tried it, and then work on the third attempt?" There's no reason to make the question be, "Why does this always fail?" with an edit saying you successfully edited it eventually.
    – Servy
    Apr 18, 2013 at 15:18
  • 3
    @ren I would have worded that in organically so that your bug report is written as though you wrote it after the third attempt and not after the second. The current state is what matters, not the state as it was when you posted and not the fact that you've continued infestigating since posting . If there had been more activity a comment might have been useful to poke anyone who'd said "no repro "
    – Flexo
    Apr 18, 2013 at 15:23
  • I've updated it now. Will keep this in mind for future edits although I still think that these can be useful for highlighting changes in questions where answers are coming thick and fast although I don't see why they couldn't be removed and have the edit incorporated organically at a later stage when things have calmed down.
    – Ren
    Apr 18, 2013 at 15:27

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