Not saying you should get rep for editing other people's posts but allow for some mechanism to encourage people to clean up questions (and answers if needed)

Some ideas to start the discussion:

  • Edit counter on your profile page (and being able to sort users by edit counts)
  • Being able to vote up edits (and have a separate edit reputation from your regular rep)
  • More badges for editing

I think it's good for the Stack Overflow system as a whole not to be dependent on a few active editors. Since what happens if they go away or refuse to edit for some reason.

  • 7
    IMO, good edits should contribute regular rep - this is positive site involvement, after all... Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 8:35
  • The lack of reward for editing also explains why there are so few canonical answers. Those answers would evolve over many weeks, and such growth is not encouraged by the reputation system.
    – Andomar
    Commented Oct 28, 2009 at 20:25
  • I agree with this suggestion, but the rep should just be normal. I've just improved a question and it got +3 upvotes. It would be nice if others could vote on my revision, it would be a great incentive for everyone to improve the content on SO. I agree with Marc.
    – BrunoLM
    Commented Sep 9, 2010 at 12:59
  • @Ólafur: "what happens if they go away or refuse to edit". Alternately, what happens if we do encourage (good) editing, and we end up with many more high quality editors? Commented Oct 16, 2010 at 23:34

6 Answers 6


I think there is already sufficient encouragement to get people to edit posts.

  • People edit because they earned that ability (sufficient reputation to allow editing).
  • There is a badge awarded for editing a certain number of post.
  • Recognition - The post is marked as "edited" and tagged with their name.
  • Some people just find an intrinsic reward by helping out and adding to the site.

There are currently over 1,800 people with "editor" status on StackOverflow. I just feel that the developers have struck a good balance... a sufficient incentive to provide an appropropriate amount of editing. I would hate to see an "over-incentive" for people to over-zealously mangle other people's posts. The overall quality of posts I see here is uncharacteristically high.

  • Current system only employs a handful of active editors. There are of course people who edit once in a while. But the idea is to increase the incentive so more people turn into active editors. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 17:49
  • Having editor status and editing is not the same thing. Lot of people who never edit. Over-incentive is of course something i do not want also. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 19:36
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    Agreed. I think the last thing we want to encourage is spurious editing.
    – cletus
    Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 20:15
  • 2
    Disagreed - When you answer enough questions, you also get your name there and earn badges, so what is the whole point of voting? - There are sometimes very bad questions which gain quite some votes because someone improved them. The OP who didn't take the effort for a good question is then awarded while the editor isn't. Making bad questions better should definitely be encouraged more than it is up to now, since still many questions that could be improved aren't because none of the readers (who would be able to edit) minds.
    – chiccodoro
    Commented Sep 9, 2010 at 7:05
  • "I would hate to see an "over-incentive" for people to over-zealously mangle other people's posts" - so if this feature gets added, do not up-vote those edits (in fact, allowing a down-vote for edits could also discourage this). @BrunoLM, Robert: I agree (see comment on Q) that a question edited by someone other than the author triggering upvotes is a scenario that does not encourage people to improve their own questions. Unfortunately, I still think it would be difficult to encourage people to award the points to the editor, rather than the enquirer. But that scenario already exists. Commented Oct 16, 2010 at 23:31

I like the idea of more badges and I love the idea of an edit count (limit one per question/answer). I wouldn't mind seeing an 'edit' stats page like we now have for tags.

The idea of upvoting an edit is an interesting one. I think the majority of edits would go unappreciated, but I've seen many poorly-worded (and sometimes just plain poor) questions get salvaged by a good editor.

  • 2
    Exactly, and rewarding that editor is a great incentive for him and others to do well. (and also lets the community decide on whats good editing and what is not) Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 20:01

I would like to editors share in the reputation if they edit a significant portion of the answer. I have seen a few cases were someone just posts a link in the answer, but someone else comes along and pulls in relevant quotes from the link and summarizes the information. On SF, there was one where someone also added screenshots and translated information off of the link to English.

In cases like that, it seems odd that the original poster gains the reputation for the edits.

  • 2
    how is it odd? you have amplified their awesome, and your reward is to bask in the glow of helping other people look good. It's selfless. Commented Oct 28, 2009 at 15:33
  • 1
    @Jeff Atwood: Selfless doesn't net me reputation. Gotta make capitalism work for you. Its feature is that it exploits greed to help others. This method is more like communism (which has failed, miserably). Commented Oct 28, 2009 at 15:46
  • 1
    More like anarchy: everyone doing what's right in their own eyes. In a capitalist system, Jon, Marc, and tv could buy and sell the rest of us.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 28, 2009 at 16:11
  • How is this odd? Maybe I should start posting link-only answers and let the editors take care of the rest. ;-)
    – dlux
    Commented Oct 28, 2009 at 16:51
  • @DLux: you're welcome to try it. No guarantee as to how that'll work out though...
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 28, 2009 at 18:56

IMHO, editing is often its own reward.

However, we could perhaps do more to discourage the abuse sometimes directed at editors by those with an overactive sense of ownership.

Perhaps a more subtle indication of the editor in the post itself, combined with a separate "recognition" page highlighting those who've contributed heavily in the past week/month...?

  • Nice suggestion Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 19:28
  • 1
    "editing is often its own reward." - isn't that equally true of answering? Why add extra reward for one but not the other? Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 8:36
  • 1
    @Marc: Sometimes, yeah - when a question really sparks my interest, and i get to learn something new while researching the answer. OTOH, writing a detailed explanation for something i know cold isn't all that compelling. Editing rewards me by letting me scratch an itch: a post that annoys me with poor punctuation or grammar will no longer annoy me afterwards. YMMV, of course.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 2, 2009 at 14:52

I understand the impetus behind this however I must warn you of the flak you are about to receive by haters of the Editors Guild that lives deep in StackOverflow. I am talking about the 3 or 4 users who have itchy "edit" button fingers who wrack up dozens of "edited by ..." credits within minutes of a post by changing tiny things.

These people are necessary as they keep posts fairly clean. Their rewards are intrinsic and they do not require more motivation. Its a minor miracle that they haven't been banned outright because of their over zealous meddling.


In response to @Ólafur Waage's update to his question, I don't think more people need to be incentivised to edit posts. I think even without the current crop of editors the most egregious errors will be corrected in due course.

  • 2
    I think SO's editing is ok, but when Rich and his Mafia go to sleep, edit counts go down and many many strange and oddly worded/formatted posts are posted. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 17:44

While not everyone feels this way, there is a significant number of people who simply love to edit. I am not sure we need to encourage even more people to do so.

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