Is it considered too invasive to edit someone else's answer to include some links to the suggestions they have already made.

I'm specifically talking about this answer. I was quite interested in the question myself and this user gave and answer referring to some course material freely available from MIT. I looked it up and found the material he is talking about. I could now edit his post to include the links, but I'm not sure if there's any rules of etiquette I should follow? Should I make it clear that some one else made the edit so I don't infer that he is suggesting these links in case they turn out to be rubbish.

I could of course just add them as a comment, but there's quite a few links, and comments don't provide any way to format links very well.

It's been 15 minutes since he made an edit, so it's probably not something he's still finishing off.

5 Answers 5


This kind of behavior is fine, and in fact, it is encouraged.

The edit indicator will show that you edited the post, and the edit history will show what you changed. This is more than enough detail on your edit.

A comment is always nice however, and people can vote and reply on your edit this way so you can get a general idea of whether your edit was favorable or not.

  • 2
    Thanks. Editing in progress =:) Jul 24, 2009 at 14:05
  • 1
    @Simon: Good work.
    Jul 24, 2009 at 14:09

After actually going to edit the answer I noticed this along side the editing page:

Good Edits

  • Fix grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Clarify meaning without changing it.
  • Correct minor mistakes.
  • Add related resources or links. - Think that one answers my question.
  • Always respect the original author.

If I know there is a good link to some information, I always add it. Especially if it is something easy like "perldoc perlre", I know that I can post a link to http://perldoc.perl.org/perlre.html


Just do it, and if you're unsure, then also post a comment saying "I just edited your stuff to include X; remove if that's not okay."


I'd recommend you simply post a comment suggesting he add the link. Maybe he has some reason for not doing so.

If he hasn't added a link after a reasonable amount of time, why not add our own answer with the link, and refer to his?

I just reviewed that answer, and found two things:

  1. The edit (nice edit) was made almost a day later. I might not have waited so long.
  2. The links in the edit may not be links to the courses described by the OP. He never used the term "opencourseware". It's possible the links are to the wrong courses - MIT is a big place.

I think this particular case is one where a separate answer should have been posted, with the links, saying, "I think these are links to the courses referred to". A comment should have been added to the original answer, asking the OP if these are the correct links. If he says yes, then edit the answer to include the links. If he doesn't answer, maybe go ahead and do the edit anyway.

I don't see any problem in general in editing an answer or question to add links or other information. But, in this particular case, I don't think there was justification to assume that these were links to the courses the OP referred to.

  • 1
    This is not desired behavior. This site is meant to be a wiki. It is preferred that you edit the answer.
    Jul 24, 2009 at 14:02
  • Well that's what I originally thought, but as I've already found the links, it seemed silly to ask him to duplicate the work. Jul 24, 2009 at 14:02
  • 1
    @Simon: Indeed. Asking him is for people without edit privileges.
    Jul 24, 2009 at 14:07
  • I mean right after he writes it. I'm not talking about waiting forever. Note I said "reasonable amount of time"? I don't want to edit out from under someone who just went for coffee or for a bio break. Jul 24, 2009 at 14:11
  • 2
    @John, if you are simply adding a link, and not change or mucking about with any content, then I agree with Rich B, you do not have to allow them time to do it themselves.
    – devinb
    Jul 24, 2009 at 14:13
  • @John: And what would it matter if you helped the guy out and added a few links for him?
    Jul 24, 2009 at 14:14
  • Only problem would be if the author had some reason to not add the links, or a reason to add different links than you would add.I'd just like to give the author a few minutes to finish authoring. Jul 24, 2009 at 15:23
  • @John: That simply makes no sense in the context of a wiki.
    Jul 25, 2009 at 13:35

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