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One of my old answers has been nagging at me — probably too much time for thought during the pandemic. It needs expansion, not so much with the English but about the context, which is archaic Greek sculpture.

The answer was archaic smile, which IMO was 100% the correct answer, or at least better than any of the alternatives (e.g., smirk). I'm not aiming for points, just to get this off my mind. The edit would be a few sentences, not an essay.

Would this edit be OK, or should I just discipline myself to let this go?

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    Why wouldn't you edit it to improve it? That's one of the foundational bits of the Stack Exchange model; the information here is maintained and updated so that it is a reference instead of a forum where each person's question gets answered individually with a "single-use" answer. – ColleenV Jun 17 at 21:09
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    I think I got a badge for it before, or something like that. – KannE Jun 19 at 0:37
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    The risk is that by editing it you will have potentially changed your answer to something the upvoters no longer agree with. – GArthurBrown Jun 23 at 2:15
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    To add to @ColleenV’s comment: There are some Q&A sites that seem to have a culture, if not explicit rules, that the past is past and should be left alone. Stack Exchange is not like that: new answers to old questions, and new edits to old posts, are always acceptable if they are intrinsically beneficial. – Scott Jun 25 at 18:54
  • I see no real justification for editing / expanding the existing answer. It includes the salient points from a definition, together with a Wikipedia link to a more complete description of the meaning and origin, and a link a real-world usage example. What else needs to be said? – FumbleFingers Jul 1 at 16:29
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Go, make your posts better! The people deserve the best posts!

There are only a few cases where you shouldn't edit to improve an old post (neither of which seems relevant here):

  • You're replacing the content instead of building on it (for example, on a single word request, deleting the original word you suggested and replacing it). Nondestructive edits are fine, as is posting new answers when appropriate.
  • You've already edited a lot of old posts within a very short period (like more than 10 posts). You should allow other posts to have a chance to be seen on the homepage. In this case, you should come back another time and do your other edits then.
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    Non-destructive edits as in non-destructive testing in engineering? – Lambie Jun 20 at 20:43

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