It is possible for users to edit an existing post.

  • How do edits work?
  • Who may edit a question or answer?
  • How can you tell what has been changed between edits?

For more information, see "Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work?" in the Help Center.

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Related: How do I format my code blocks?


"edit button"

How do edits work?

Users can edit the questions and answers submitted to the site. This gives the site a wiki feel, and allows the information to constantly evolve and remain up to date. Those users who are allowed to edit a post can do so by clicking the edit link associated with that post.

Multiple edits made by the same person may be combined into a single revision, if they occur within a short period of time (currently 5 minutes), unless the post is later edited by someone else or one of the events listed at the bottom occurs. Edits made by the original author are considered part of the base revision if submitted within 5 minutes of posting (again, unless someone else edits the post or one of those events occurs) or migrating.

It is possible to “rollback” changes made in a revision. This can be done during editing by selecting a previous revision to edit from the dropdown, but can also be accomplished via the "rollback" link displayed on previous revisions within the revision history list. This action will earn you a bronze "Cleanup" badge when first used.

When multiple editors submit binding changes, the last one in “wins”, regardless of who began editing first. Both revisions are preserved however, and changes lost can be restored either by rolling back to the previous revision or by manually copying text into a new revision.

To promote good edits, a user who suggests an edit to someone else’s post will get +2 reputation points when that edit suggestion is approved. You do not get the reputation bonus if the edit is automatically approved, whether this is because you are editing your own post, you are editing a community wiki post, or you have at least 2000 reputation and all of your edits are auto-approved. Also, you are limited to a maximum of 1000 reputation points earned from edits.

Who may edit a question or answer?

The original author of a question or answer may edit their own post. Additionally, users with a certain level of reputation may edit any question or answer. The one exception is locked questions, which may not be edited by anyone, including the original author, until they are unlocked. Additionally, the amount of reputation needed to edit community wiki posts is much lower than that needed to edit ordinary questions and answers. If a user does not have enough reputation to edit directly, they can still suggest an edit (see a related FAQ question, How do suggested edits work?).

How can you tell what has been changed between edits?

Edit indicator

Once your question has been edited, there will be a note of it, with the time since the last edit hyperlinked to a revision history for the post.


Edit indicatior

Revision history

Each revision is displayed in a separate, collapsible section. Older revisions start out already collapsed. If a comment was specified by the person editing, that will be displayed in yellow next to the revision number; otherwise, the total number of characters added or removed in that revision will be listed, as well as whether the title and tags have been changed (questions only). Once expanded, the revision will be displayed, with changes highlighted.

The edit link on older revisions lets you copy that edition to a new revision, essentially letting you roll back to that revision and edit it at the same time.


revision history item

Revision diff color key:
  • Green background: characters added
  • Red text + strikeout: characters removed

Grace period

In order to prevent a series of tiny edits from showing up in the revision history, a single user who edits a post is given a 5-minute grace period, except under one of the following conditions:

  • The previous revision was a rollback.
  • The new revision is a rollback.

During this period, any additional edits they make are collapsed into the same edit in the revision history, displaying only the final outcome of all their edits within that 5 minute period. The grace period ends after exactly 5 minutes, or if:

  • Another user edits the post, at which time their grace period begins.
  • A comment has been added to the post since the previous revision by anyone other than the editor (ignores deleted comments).
  • If the post being edited is a question and an answer has been added since the previous revision (ignores deleted answers).
  • The post is a question and it has been closed since the previous revision.
  • 1
    Right now, it's 5 minutes from the first edit. That is subject to change however, and should not be relied on - still beta...
    – Shog9
    Oct 10 '08 at 16:45
  • 1
    @clahey: that definition is best left to The Main FAQ (stackoverflow.com/faq), where presumably it will always be up-to-date.
    – Shog9
    Sep 1 '09 at 23:34
  • 9
    @unknown: read the site FAQ - editing of other user's posts is very much a core part of SO. If abuse happens, you can 1) rollback the change with a single click, and 2) flag for moderator attention to let someone know what's going on.
    – Shog9
    Jan 21 '10 at 14:42
  • Is this the currently live wiki? If so, it does not mention that things can get awkward of there is an edit by a lower rep use in progress, indicated by edit(n).
    – Remou
    Jun 28 '12 at 8:50
  • Assume if someone has done a useless edit on my answer which is edit number 5. So this last edit doesn't have a rollback but my own last edit which is number 4. So does it mean that if I click on the rollback on edit 4, that answer will set back into edit 4?
    – bonCodigo
    Dec 30 '12 at 14:50
  • Yes, @boncodigo
    – Shog9
    Dec 30 '12 at 15:19
  • Where goes the line between being better to suggest the original author to edit, or doing the edit yourself? Especially if I am a low rep user?
    – varesa
    Feb 18 '13 at 14:22
  • @Shog9 Can you confirm that this entry is up-to-date (as well as confirm the correctness of my recent edit)? It seems the last significant update was made around July '13; I would do it myself but I am not sure if or how the system has changed since then.
    – Jason C
    Mar 26 '15 at 5:35
  • Looks fine, @JasonC. If you're not aware of any changes, that's probably because there haven't been any.
    – Shog9
    Mar 26 '15 at 5:58
  • 3
    @Shog9 By that logic, 12 hours ago, the grace period changes probably didn't exist.
    – Jason C
    Mar 26 '15 at 14:30
  • @JasonC I was unaware of A comment has been added to the post since the previous revision by anyone other than the editor., that's interesting, +1 Apr 29 '15 at 12:37
  • I’m under the impression that editing is done for the sake of editing sometimes. Is there some reputation bonus or incentive to edit maybe a virtual badge that is to be won? I’ve been checking the editing done on users and it’s not always warranted. There are inconsistencies by the same editing moderator. It’s actually intrusive and high handed to constantly leave your mark on every question. Some editing is clearly necessary but certainly not all and it’s most odd when one time it’s done one way and another the exact opposite. It’s like HOA reps getting high on their artificial power
    – Autodidact
    Jan 22 '19 at 13:16
  • Let's say there there is a 1 character typo in my original question code sample. Someone answers the question and includes that typo. I fix the original question and want to edit the answer to match. How can someone do that when there is a minimum of 6 characters edited before an edit can be saved .
    – Steve
    Aug 15 at 23:59
  • Find 5 of that author's own 1 character typos, @steve. Or a 3 character typo and a two-character typo. Or a 5 character typo. ...you get the idea.
    – Shog9
    Aug 16 at 1:35
  • @Shog9 or just make a random edit, which is what i did, but it defeats the purpose of the idea behind minimum edit length.
    – Steve
    Aug 16 at 3:26

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