While the underlying policy for voting seems quite clear I am not sure how to judge answers that were initially not helpful but then went through a rewrite by an editor.

For example I was reading a new answer to a good question. This new answer was far worse than the already accepted answer while at the same time stating that the user with the original question should "just google it". So unhelpful and unfriendly, my mouse drifted towards the downvote button. Before I could vote a moderator edited this answer heavily, removed all condescendingly language, improved technical details and expanded the text.

So what should I base my vote on now? I want to upvote good answers but not encourage people writing unhelpful pieces that just get fixed by the community. Is there a consensus or recommendation in such cases?

  • 3
    I feel that it shouldn't matter who edited the post, a moderator or a regular user.
    – Luuklag
    May 18 '20 at 12:55

Base it on what you see.

An upvote post edit would be a useful lesson to OP - that the edit made it better. The moderator clearly saw value in the answer, enough to fix it. It also means that folks know the answer is good, and a user with a history/pattern of rudeness noticed by a mod will find themselves in hot water anyway.


I think you should always vote on the post in the state that you see it in at the time of that vote.

If it is edited so that it flips from useful to not useful, or the reverse, then you can always change your vote.


The Stack Exchange way is to vote on the content, not on the person(s) who created it.

Votes are intended to send a signal to the post author (and to affect their rep), but their primary purpose is to indicate to other readers whether a post is useful or not. So don't just think about the impact of your vote on the post's author, also consider the service that you're performing for the thousands of future readers of the page.

OTOH, I agree that it can feel like rewarding bad behaviour to upvote a post that was originally poor but which was later repaired. If you feel too conflicted, then simply refrain from voting on that post.

An interesting variation on this theme is to post constructive criticism on a post, and when the author ignores your comments, fix the post yourself (including an appropriate edit comment), delete your now obsolete comments, and then upvote the repaired post yourself. The therapeutic shock to the author may help them to see the error of their ways. ;)

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