edition of a post I am uncertain about

The only thing the edit did was add a link to the book publisher's where we can learn a bit (only a slight tiny little bit) about the book and where the book can be bought. And of course the book is easily googlable.

The edit actually introduces no new information on the topic at hand. And is on the borderline of being spam. The mentioning of the book was kinda unnecessary (though I do not think it wrong, since the answer itself was good without it) in the first place.

So why was this edit accepted? Should it have been accepted?

  • 4
    I would have rejected it as "too minor". – Bart Jun 14 '13 at 10:39

This was a good edit, and it was correct to accept it.

The link is to an official reference about the book (the publisher's website). It provides useful information about the book, including its ISBN, its publication date and its table of content. If the book is to be mentioned at all, it is a lot better to provide such a link.

Adding the link is not spam. Mentioning the book is the act that may or may not make the post spammy. Given that the post does answer the question and that the code was written for the book, it is perfectly reasonable to mention the book.

“The book is easily googlable” is no reason not to provide the link. Providing the link is a lot more helpful to readers who happen to want to follow up on the book. Why should every reader do their own googling? It is much better for one person to look up the link, so that subsequent readers only need to click.

An edit does not have to add new information about the main topic of the post. Adding links for natural follow-ups is perfectly reasonable. When editing other people's posts, you should stick to links to sites that are commonly accepted references, which the author of the post wouldn't have minded using if he'd taken the time or thought to add the link. For example, adding a link to Wikipedia, or to the reference documentation of a library or tool, or to the official site of a book or piece of software, are all good things if the linked content is relevant for further information or clarification. Examples of bad edits would be linking to some random blog post on the topic (especially if it's an opinion piece or to your own blog).

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  • The community's opinion is a bit divided in case of such edits. I accepted this answer since it got the most votes. – Dariusz Jun 21 '13 at 5:44

I would have accepted the edit.

Some people may read the post find the book title "Beginning ASP.NET Security" as something potentially interesting and want to know more about the book.

It is helpful to those people and the link doesn't have any kind of affiliate information in it which would make me suspect an ulterior motive.

Perhaps the editor was interested in the book themself, searched the title and just decided to save future readers the trouble by linking directly.

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Nope it shouldn't have been accepted, because the link points to the book publisher's site, not to a website where you can get more information about the answer.

I'm not saying that the link is totally not helpful. But editing just for the sake of adding the publisher link is for the lack of better word, "too minor".

  • The exception being, if the link contains actual sample codes/sample pages which help support/clarify the answer.

You can include that link in a comment instead if you feel it's necessary.

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  • 5
    You can buy the book there, but it is the actual publisher's website. – Bart Jun 14 '13 at 11:50
  • @Bart, Ok I fixed that. Now will you please forgive me? – Old Checkmark Jun 14 '13 at 13:53
  • 1
    No, never! The shame, the shame! I'm not one of the downvoters though. – Bart Jun 14 '13 at 14:09
  • I don't think your logic here is good; the link was to the actual publisher's site, and without monetary hook. It is valuable because the book was mentioned and this makes it crystal clear what was being referenced. (Less of an issue in this case, but good in general principle.) – Nathaniel Ford Jun 14 '13 at 18:19
  • Why is including a link in a comment better than including it in the answer? – Adam Lear Jun 14 '13 at 18:38
  • @AnnaLear, it requires less manpower. – Old Checkmark Jun 14 '13 at 18:47
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    @doubleDown If the link is helpful and worth mentioning, relegating it to a comment (when comments are explicitly treated like second-class citizens) is a disservice to the asker and to future visitors who have the same question. – Adam Lear Jun 14 '13 at 18:51

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