There were two edits in the review today and I wasn't quite sure what to make of them. Both of them added a sizable part to an answer. As far as I got the topic the added content was not extending existing content, it was genuinely new. There was nothing obviously wrong with the content. Still I feel this is like putting words into the original author's mouth and might even change the overall meaning.

Approached from a different: The usual good edit that I accept adds context to existing content, might explain something or corrects style/language/minor factual errors - I probably forgot something, but the main point is it is based on existing content.

Is an edit as described in the first paragraph or not falling into the category of the second desirable or should it be rejected (and possible go into a separate answer)?


4 Answers 4


I would have rejected both. The editor is putting words into the mouth of the person who answered the question. The editor could have posted an answer saying he agreed with the answer of @whoever, and wanted to add a few points.

The additional answer would then be upvoted or downvoted according to its merits.

Putting words into an author's mouth is very different from adding a reference that supports the author's points (particularly if the author didn't have a reference) or fixing grammar or even fairly extensive rewrites for clarity.

  • What about this one? outdoors.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/8507 Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 2:20
  • @Charlie Brumbaugh That edit was an act of mercy to help out a tongue-tied 20 year old whose question was on the verge of being closed. I merely said what he would have said had he been able to say what he wanted to say. Sometimes I think I am part Betazoid.
    – ab2
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 2:51
  • 2
    My first instinct was to agree, then I thought about fragmentation: This way you will read the new answer, see that he extends a previous answer, so you need to switch to that answer first and then come back. So if the content fits into the other answer and the original author is fine with the new content, editing is in my opinion better. But in the queue you can't really assess the original authors will.
    – imsodin
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 8:43
  • 2
    @imsodin What the original author wants is paramount, and if he is fine with it, I am fine with it. But, as you say, one can't know what the original author will want when reviewing. One can't even be sure the original author will notice the edit. He may have other things to do than read messages from TGO.
    – ab2
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 13:02
  • I fully agree with you in these instances. These edits would have been appropriate with a wiki post but they seem like putting words in the OP's mouth.
    – Erik
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 22:48

This seems to be the authoritative question on meta.se.

As the help center says, edits should be used:

  • To fix grammar and spelling mistakes
  • To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)
  • To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the information relevant to the post is contained in one place
  • To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages
  • To add related resources or hyperlinks

In short; don't change the meaning of the question beyond the intent of the asker and don't make substantial edits unless absolutely necessary.


I think that we should leave it to the OP of the post. Twice people have extended my answers quite extensively here and here and I was perfectly fine with it. On the other hand I have seen much smaller edits get rejected by the OP.

The OP can always roll the edits back if they so choose, I am not sure it would be worth getting worked up over something that we don't know the OP is upset over.

  • Which is fine, really if your going to do this, then comment first. I occasionally expand an answer but I'll try and get the OP to do it first and confirm that what I think they're saying , they are definitely saying.
    – user2766
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 7:40

Thinking about this again I now know what I am missing: Another button in the suggested edit queue: "Leave decision to the author". I am pretty sure this is never going to happen (it probably has lots of downsides too). So my current opinion (weakly based, so subject to change) is to allow such edits like Charlie wrote, as the author will get a notification and thus the option to roll back. Otherwise potentially useful content will get lost a priori.

  • I think it needs only the OP to approve an edit, but I am not sure Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 5:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .