On Stack Exchange we are encouraged to edit other peoples posts if we believe this will make them better. When an edit is possibly controversial or I need clarification, I tend to ping the author or assume that they can revert the edit if disagreed with (easier to ask forgiveness than permission).

I just learned that the author of a post I wanted to edit for clarification sadly passed away in 2015.

This makes me feel somewhat queasy about editing his post. I can't quite pinpoint it, but it doesn't feel right. Probably he would have been fine with my edit, but he's not around to clarify the unclear point anymore, and

Should I take any particular consideration when editing posts of users who are deceased?


If you personally would like to refrain from editing or be more considerate then that is perfectly fine, and admirable, but that is a personal choice of yours...

As a function of Stack Exchange that's not something we can enforce on others; there is no process to "memorialize" or otherwise distinguish an account for deceased users, so it doesn't work simply on a practical level to treat such users differently. How exactly would we treat such user's content anyway? Lock it all in its current state? To me that doesn't seem practical, useful or in line with the way Stack Exchange works.

Implementing such a memorializing process has been discussed. See:

How should a user's death be handled?

...In which Jaydles ♦ says:

We concluded that, for a site like ours, a formal policy or process around memorializing the accounts of the deceased might do more harm than good.


I have edited a number of posts of a formerly very active member of a site after being informed of his decease several years ago.

Knowing that he is no longer able to see my edits makes me edit with even more care than usual.

However, knowing also that he was a great advocate for the SE site we shared, gives me confidence that he would be disappointed if his contributions did not continue to be improved beyond his lifetime.

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