7

First it sounds like, yeah of course. But here's an example:

bot not playing music

This question has almost no information. But what I can read out of it, it's about a discord bot that refuses to play music in a channel. But can I add this information just because I think that this is the question? I mean, this example is obvious, but there could be questions where I add false information I think are correct.

I could add "I use Discord.js for a Discordbot I create, but he refuses to play music in a voicechannel". But this information could also be wrong. Maybe the bot doesn't refuse, it just won't activate in a specific channel. How far should the improvement go?

  • 4
    Keep in mind there's a specific refusal reason for edits that "go against author's intent", so keep that in mind. – Mast Dec 17 '19 at 10:48
10

No, you don't! Unless they confirm that information. From help:

When should I edit posts?

Any time you feel you can make the post better, and are inclined to do so. Editing is encouraged!

Some common reasons to edit are:

  • to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes
  • to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it
  • to correct minor mistakes or add addendums / updates as the post ages
  • to add related resources or hyperlinks
  • For balance, let's put this bit in bold too: Any time you feel you can make the post better, and are inclined to do so. Editing is encouraged! – Rebecca J. Stones Dec 19 '19 at 9:51
  • @RebeccaJ.Stones Actually feel free to do so :) Anyway done. – Mukyuu Dec 19 '19 at 9:52
  • 1
    Cool (I actually realize the irony of not doing that myself). My point is that I read this snippet and come to the complete opposite conclusion: Editing is encouraged! – Rebecca J. Stones Dec 19 '19 at 9:54
6

But can I add this information just because I think that this is the question? I mean, this example is obvious, but there could be questions where I add false informations I think are correct.

This is always going to be a matter of 'how wrong do you think you could be'. If you're feeling sure, make the edit, perhaps always point out to the OP that they can roll it back if you did get it wrong.

If you feel you're leaning more towards 'I could be wrong about this', a comment asking if X is what is meant is often better. A leading question often gets a better response than an open one, in my experience, so make sure to not just ask 'what do you mean with X?', but ask 'do you mean X is happening?' instead. Let people know how you're reading their question.

I could add "I use Discord.js for a Discordbot I create, but he refuses to play music in a voicechannel". But this information could also be wrong. Maybe the bot doesn't refuse, it just won't activate in a specific channel. How far should the improvement go?

In this case, it sounds like just adding that in would probably not improve the question, as 'refuse' is still vague. So, given the above, phrasing this like a comment (instead of an edit) is probably better: "Do you mean your bot is just refusing to play music, or is it not activating in this channel?".

6

But can I add this information just because I think that this is the question? I mean, this example is obvious, but there could be questions where I add false informations I think are correct.

Well, instead of editing the question to add missing information, you rather should leave a comment for the OP to clarify and improve their question (as you did already).

I could add "I use Discord.js for a Discordbot I create, but he refuses to play music in a voicechannel". But this information could also be wrong. Maybe the bot doesn't refuse, it just won't activate in a specific channel. How far should the improvement go?

As you mentioned such edits may quickly become speculative and obfuscate the real problem stated in the question.

The purpose of question edits is more to improve grammar, clumsy wording and style (e.g. correct formatting), not to add missing information.

  • Adding missing information is fine and also a large part of editing. But it does have to be information, not misinformation, and unless you know which of those two things you have in your hands it should be kept far away from an edit. – Lightness Races BY-SA 3.0 Dec 18 '19 at 18:15
2

This question has almost no information.

That is the key point here.

Making "semantic" changes to a question is always critical, as you interpret the intention of the OP. When you get it wrong, you turn their question into something they didn't ask about.

My personal strategy: I only make such "semantic" changes when I am 99% convinced that I A) got the intention of the OP and more importantly that B) my edit makes the question answerable.

Meaning: when you think you can enhance the question so that others can answer it without the OP making changes themselves ... then go for it.

But when you think "I could add this here, but in the end, the OP has to enhance the question, too, in order to get it answerable", then just add a comment and suggest to the OP to fix their input.

Editing is the act of fixing a question so it can be answered. If only the OP can fix the question, then be really careful about editing.


I differentiate between pure formatting edits (and maybe fixing typos) and "semantic" changes that really affect the amount of information within the original post.

0

Importantly, the question is now closed and downvoted with no answers, so it's going to be automatically deleted unless some major content-changing edits are made:

If the question is more than 30 days old, and ... (a) has −1 or lower score, (b) has no answers (c) is not locked ... it will be automatically deleted.
Enable automatic deletion of old, unanswered, zero-score questions after a year?

With no answers, and being in line for deletion, I have no qualms with content-changing edits:

  1. Edit the question as best you can, even if you make content-changing educated guesses.

  2. Leave a comment to explain that you've edited as per your understanding, and explain how further edits should be made if that's incorrect. E.g.:

    This question will likely be automatically deleted unless major edits are made. I've made edits as per my understanding, but please continue [edit]ing if I have made any mistakes.

They can revert your edits if they think they're totally wrong. In less than 30 days, it'll probably be deleted either way.

But... with this particular question, is it really worth bothering? There's probably better questions worth salvaging.

  • Well, If you let your autistic self out (I'm not an autist, but sometimes I just love when things are sorted and corrected), you just can't see such a question without the urge to make it clear in a way that everyone clearly understands. Which is difficult if you would change the meaning of the question – DudeWhoWantsToLearn Dec 19 '19 at 12:40

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