So I went to a question I had an answer for and noticed that the op had already voted an answer as being correct. The particular answer had a list of links.

So I thought to myself, wouldn't it be better to have a more complete correct answer instead of having more smaller answers? In other words, instead of adding a new answer I edited the correct one and added the link there.

I find it better for two main reasons: a) the correct answer would be more complete and b) I am not looking for votes, any votes will go to the guy with the correct answer.

In case it matters, the question was: Getting started with Constraint Programming


5 Answers 5


It's not only OK, I think it's encouraged -- as long as you're not abusing the privilege of editing by changing the meaning of the answer. The idea is that the highest-voted or accepted answers are the most correct, and therefore editing someone else's answer to make it more complete is actually a truly selfless (you get no rep; original answerer does) means of acting in the best interests of the S[OFU] sites.

  • 1
    loved the "S[OFU]" :P
    – pek
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 20:09
  • Sorry, but recent experiences suggest that this is actually discouraged! See comments on 190637.
    – ADTC
    Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 7:40
  • 1
    @ADTC there is a big difference between "editing" which this post is discussing, and suggested editing which is what you are experiencing. I think this does still apply to users with full edit privledges. Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 8:31
  • Cannot agree more. If you add your own answer, a highly popular post that fails to mention critical information will stay popular, and wrong. I prefer to edit the popular post, which will keep getting upvotes, instead of adding yet another obscure answer. Example - Datejs not being updated since 2007, Example - years-old obsolete information about how to install npm Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 7:14

I think it's generally frowned upon to edit someone else's post, significantly changing the meaning.

So if someone is just plain wrong, generally you'll find people will post their own answer. But if the poster just made some trivial errors or didn't word something very well when the intent is clear then you'll generally fine it'll be edited instead.

And of course improving the formatting is a common reason to edit other posts.


What you find in some cases like the one you referenced, where links to tutorials and books are requested, one selfless user will post an answer aggregating all of the links into one thorough response. This poster will tick the community wiki checkbox, so as not to gain rep or appear to be stealing answers from others. A note as to your intentions can be made in the post.

This topic has been covered in a bunch of different posts. Here are two:

  1. On editing in links
  2. One with the extra weight of Joel's perspective

I would also highly encourage editing the popular answers, because those are the most read ones, and the majority of casual visitors will stop after the first (or at most second) answer. If such an answer has incorrect information, by all means go and edit it. Some good examples:

In other cases, an answer may fail to mention critical details. Here's an example:


Yes, it's ok, just put an 'Edit:' note or something like that in it.

And by 'Edit:' note, I mean a note in the answer itself, so all future viewers will know it wasn't the original answer.

Added by Ian Ringrose

I sometime add a line, and then put addtional information below it makeing it clear that it is information I added.

Most often, this is when the answer did not work for me, but provided 90% of what was needed, so I add the missing step.

  • I personally add a comment that says just that.
    – pek
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 20:10
  • Yep, that works also. I just want to be very careful (and am) if I edit another user's answer. I want my edit to stand out in case I missed his meaning (or am just plain wrong). Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 20:17
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    Please don't clutter up the answer unless you really need to. Revision comments combined with the "last edited" indicator are enough in most cases; if you're gonna edit something of mine, i'd much rather you strive to preserve the style that existed when you found it - even if you're re-writing major portions - than demarcate every addition or removal. FWIW, i hate it when people do that in code as well... ugly, ugly, ugly...
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 1, 2009 at 23:48
  • @Shog9, there is nothing stopping you going back to refactor the answer, so as to combine the addations into your style of wording. Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 12:42

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