Since obtaining my shiny-new edit privileges, I have been a bit worried of editing too much, too often.

This is particularly the case with this question, where a user (with a high reputation on another site) has commented that my edit (Revision 2) should have been a comment or an answer.

Did I cross the boundary between making the question more clear, and inadvertently answering it? Personally I don't think so, because it still incorporates the crux of the issue. However, this is for the community to say (and subsequently roll back, if so).

  • 5
    I thought your edit was just right. The person who commented on your edit has very little rep here at ELU (but a lot at SE). Maybe our standards are different?
    – Mitch
    Jul 4, 2017 at 21:12
  • 2
    Since the linked question was about making the description clearer, the edit should have been part of an answer. And your aside about rep, that is not an indication of one's ability or knowledge - only only about how many posts or answers have been made. Low rep =/= ignorant. Jul 4, 2017 at 21:54
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    @Mitch I understand thank you. Your comment shows how status rules over content. Jul 4, 2017 at 22:03
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    The OP seemed OK with your edit. As for me, I am clearly missing something, because I don't see what the fuss is about.
    – ab2
    Jul 5, 2017 at 0:13
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    @WeatherVane - You might not be able to roll back, but I think you can propose an edit (subject to review). Jul 5, 2017 at 1:24
  • @Mitch I didn't know anything about this edit prior to this post, but I don't see a problem with it. I think you might be on to something regarding 'standards'. I think that because this site is very much language-oriented, correct grammar, etc. is expected. Whereas StackOverflow, technical information takes priority over such things. Hence, I'm usually hesitant about making edits on SO.
    – Dog Lover
    Jul 17, 2017 at 22:47

3 Answers 3


The revisions page shows that the OP added Revision 3 after your Revision 2, without rolling back your edits. This indicates that your editing hadn't gone "too far" in the OP's view.

The actual substantive edit you made led to the following change, where "provide templates" simply echoes existing terminology from the question:

  • while A4 is both in Word and Writer (Version 1 - by OP)
  • while for A4, we provide templates in Word and Writer (Version 2 - by you)

The heart of the question was about the use of the word explicit. Your editing simply reworded the OP's commentary about the intent behind their choice of words.

In my opinion (and I'm conscious that others hold a different opinion), you have left their main question alone and have improved the English of their commentary.

I'd therefore consider your effort to be a shining example of good editing on EL&U.


I've gone and read the revisions, starting at the original. My thoughts went as follows:

  1. I read the original question. I was confused as to what was available in what format.

  2. I read your edit (revision 2). I found it to be a lot clearer, and worried that you'd set it to your own interpretation, which might be wrong.

  3. I went back and re-read the original. And found that your edit was correct: there was only one interpretation, but it needed reading twice to understand it.

  4. As others have said, the OP didn't disagree with your rewording, so it clearly was the correct interpretation.

I think your edit was fantastic, and made the question much clearer.


I'm afraid I think your insertion of italics into the question is definitely questionable, both for what you did, and for what you didn't do.

The OP didn't use italics. It is possible that using italics would make that note clearer, and it could be an answer to do so. You made the note clearer in the question. To this extent, you have changed the author's intent and potentially eliminated a point which might be made in an answer. However, the reformatting of sizes — including mm and inches — doesn't affect the question materially: that's OK in my view, even though you could also usefully have used × to produce an × symbol.

The word explicit in the last line is a mention:

I'm not sure explicit is the right word.

If anything is to be italicised, it should be that word, and you didn't do that.

I'm not sure explicit is the right word.

So, credit for asking here, but yes: it wasn't entirely successful in my opinion.

  • Thanks, I admit I was trying to beautify it with italics. (Letting my preferences overflow into other questions). Insofar as future edits go, any suggestions? Is there a handy meta guide I haven't noticed yet? Jul 4, 2017 at 21:39
  • I would suggest just only editing the non-essential content. If the OP asks for help clarifying a statement, don't edit the structure or "beauty" of the statement in question. You can make it into block quotes but don't add spacing, punctuation, or proper measurements to it. That's the type of edit that should've been a comment or question, not the other stuff.
    – Hank
    Jul 5, 2017 at 13:19
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    @marcellothearcane I am sure you had the best of intentions, but editing a question or answer without infringing on the primary intention of OP is a fine art here at ELU. Which is why I rarely edit anybody's post except to correct a glaring typo or, exceptionally, to clarify a question that has been 'put on hold as unclear' prior to applying for reopening. Jul 5, 2017 at 14:49
  • @marcellothearcane I bookmarked a discussion that touched on pre-emptive editing within a wider conversation. It's only loosely related to the current (Meta) question, but you might be interested to take a look. Here's a related Meta question I asked, also related to editing that goes beyond yours.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 6, 2017 at 14:40

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