1

By accident, I clicked Edit on someone else's post. I saw my error immediately, because I wanted to edit MY post, not someone else's. Then I wondered, why in the world is this site allowing people to edit each other's posts?

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jan 20 at 20:45

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • 2
    I had expected this to be a duplicate question, but I can't find a prior question on this subject. – Andrew Leach Jan 20 at 20:54
  • None of the answers given here apply to your specific question. You only have 49 reputation at most, so should not (yet) be able to edit any posts other than your own. Which site were you on? (English Language & Usage?) Do you still see an edit link under other people's posts? – Jason Bassford Jan 21 at 8:30
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the user has not taken the tour of the site and/or not consulted the Help Center. – AmE speaker Jan 21 at 19:26
5

This is answered in the Help pages:

Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work?

All contributions are licensed under Creative Commons, and this site is collaboratively edited, like Wikipedia. If you see something that needs improvement, click edit!

Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

You simply found that you were one of the "people" editing a post they themselves hadn't written.

  • This says "[migrated]", but where was it migrated to? I'm seeing it in the same place where I posted it. Getting back to the question itself, so questions and answers can be edited. Okay. Why would someone want to edit someone else's question? I can see correcting an answer that's wrong, but a question? I don't understand. – Alana Forsyth Jan 20 at 21:39
  • 3
    It was migrated from Main ELU where you asked it, to Meta ELU (here) where it belongs. This question is about the site, not the English language. Editing any post, question or answer, can be done to improve it. It is absolutely not OK to edit something because it's wrong. – Andrew Leach Jan 20 at 21:43
  • If you want to know how Stack Exchange works and this site in particular, start with the Tour and then read through the Help pages. You can use the link in my answer, because the sidebar on every Help page is a comprehensive contents list. – Andrew Leach Jan 20 at 21:47
2

While it's true that anyone can edit posts, it's a bit more complicated than just that.

  • Everyone under 2,000 reputation can only make suggested edits to other's posts. This means that the edit needs to be approved by one or two 2k+ rep users before it is applied to the post. This prevents many bad edits and trolling.
  • Everyone over 2k rep can edit posts freely.

However, any edit that gets applied to the post bumps the post onto the home page. This means edits by even 2k+ rep users are being watched by the community. In addition, nontrivial edits also notify the post owner.

Some specific guidance on when to edit can be found here:

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

Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged - try to make the post significantly better when you edit, correcting all problems that you observe.

In addition, there are some special cases where editing works a little differently. English Language and Usage Meta, which is where your post was migrated to, does not allow suggested edits, so users need 2k+ rep to edit others posts here. For more info see:

  • I am very confused by this site. I don't know whether I am coming or going, or where posts are located. When I click Questions on the left-hand menu, I get taken to a page that looks wholly unfamiliar, not at all like the page where I had posted my questions. The only way I could find my question was to go to the icons at the top-right of the page and click on something that had a red icon with a number (?) that I couldn't read. There I saw in a drop-down list, all the posts I had made, and so I found this one. This site is very confusing. There are no dates to help a user get oriented. – Alana Forsyth Jan 20 at 21:51
  • @AlanaForsyth You can get back to the main site via the right hand dropdown. On the main site, you can search for user:me to find everything you've posted there. You can also find a list of your posts by clicking your profile image in the top bar (again, do this on the main site and you'll see all your main site posts). – Laurel Jan 20 at 21:55
2

The reason Stack Exchange encourages constructive editing of posts is that it aims to be a reference site.

Questions must be well-formed, within the charter of the relevant community. Answers must be coherent, should be objectively correct, and must stand on their own even if material on linked sites change or become inaccessible.

There are times that the author of a post formats the post poorly because they don’t understand the text editor’s formatting conventions; or the author disappears without cleaning up their typos. That post would then look untidy to future visitors.

To help improve the quality of posts (and hence the reference site as a whole), the community is encouraged to make edits to improve clarity and correct typos etc. The only proviso is that the intent of the post should be preserved.

-4

I think it arises from the peculiar view that every question has just one right answer, at least for the areas of knowledge that are allowed pride of place on Stackexchange. Opinion doesn't matter -- only knowledge counts. (But of course that's just my theory.) So if a question or answer is correctly amended, this cannot be a misrepresentation. The Truth cannot be questioned.

  • 5
    Is there a view that there's only one right answer? The fact that a user can post multiple answers on a single question would point otherwise, as does the fact that it's possible to upvote multiple answers to the same question. Plus if you edit an answer you're not supposed to change the intent of it, even if it's factually wrong. – Laurel Jan 20 at 21:24
  • 2
    @Laurel, you demonstrate that the view I refer to is not followed consistently, – Greg Lee Jan 20 at 21:29
  • 1
    Even if this were an accurate view, it has nothing to do with the question as asked. – TimLymington Jan 21 at 17:58

You must log in to answer this question.

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