When reviewing, what's the stance on people editing answers that are not theirs to add "more information".

Is this something we should reject or accept?

Personally I feel it should be rejected as if someone has something to add, they should do it in the comments and not hi-jack the answer.

But the flip side is, we do want answers to be as accurate as possible.

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    A specific example would be useful. – Danny Beckett Jun 27 '13 at 3:49
  • I'll proffer one which was never on the review queue (and I'm one of the guilty parties). Paste the result of the tee command, or the revisions. I added the trap lines and rm -f to clean up the temporary FIFOs. I then spent a long time explaining them in comments. Someone else then added the 'working example'. – Jonathan Leffler Jun 27 '13 at 3:54
  • @DannyBeckett I don't have any specific examples at the moment. I'm just talking in general. A generic example would be, say, someone posts an answer and another user edits that answer to elaborate further (by adding a couple more sentences). – Jarrod Jun 27 '13 at 3:55
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    Generally, I'd reject. – Danny Beckett Jun 27 '13 at 3:57

[I'm using the word "you" to denote the person who is making the edit]

I'd reject, unless the answerer expressly asked you to improve his answer. If he hasn't done so, adding more information would be equivalent to putting words into the answerer's mouth. In a way, you're forcing your way of explanation on the answerer.

Any feedback should be given via comments, and downvote if necessary. Alternatively, if your explanation can stand on its own, it should be posted as another answer.

Of course, an exception could be made if the answerer hasn't been seen on SO for a long time.

  • are you suggesting that abandoned answers are free reign while editing anything else for any other reason than grammar is taboo? I disagree with both extremes. I have been a glad receiver of a code edit (yes, a comment would have sufficed, but I did like the edit more), and I have made several content changes after being asked by the answerers to fix their answer. – John Dvorak Jun 27 '13 at 4:24
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    @JanDvorak, I mean, try contacting the answerer first. If the answerer actually asked you to fix his answer, it's perfectly fine. – Old Checkmark Jun 27 '13 at 4:27

It comes down to "does the edit alter the intention of the original answerer"?

If it does, unless there's a very good reason, reject.

If it changes the intention of the answer, it should be a new answer or a comment to the answer.

Of course, you also have to look for alterations hidden in useful formatting and grammar changes :-(

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