The question Difference between “while” and “whilst” was recently closed as a duplicate of What is the correct usage of “while” and “whilst”?

When it was first posted, the question asked for Difference between “whiles” and “whilst” - a distinction which all answers addressed to a greater or lesser extent. It was the OP himself who edited whiles to while - after those answers had been posted.

I know I'm not alone in thinking the question as originally worded was not a duplicate of the one against which it was subsequently closed.

Is it reasonable to roll back the edit causing it to be a duplicate, disregarding the OP's apparent intentions? I know that seems a bit odd, but since I think there is a separate question concerning whiles, the only reasonable alternative is to ask this in a new question - which again seems odd.

2 Answers 2


I'm in favor of preserving the work of the people who answered the question if it is of good or better quality. The answers are more important than the questions and the answerers are more valuable than the questioners are to the success of this site.

So in this case, if the answers are good, I'd revert the question and then close it.


As it was the OP who changed the title, I guess he really meant to ask the difference between while and whilst.

Generally, editing a question when an answer has been already given, and when the edit makes the answer invalid, should be discouraged. I am not sure that applies also when the OP didn't write the word correctly, which apparently happened in this case. Whiles could have been written by mistake, as the difference with while is just a letter more; considering the position of the e, and the s on the keyboard, I would think this is probably the case.

It would be different if the OP didn't correct a typo in the question, but completely changed the question being asked. In these case, with answers already given, I would revert the edit done from the user.

  • In this particular case, the question that OP eventually asked was identical to a previous one (which imho had complete and accurate answers). I'll leave this question to gather responses for a day or two - but if the consensus is that it should stand "as is", I'll probably vote to delete it, and re-pose the question about whiles myself. Apr 26, 2012 at 20:38
  • 1
    But, about this particular question, why would one bother to distinguish 'whiles' and 'whilst'? They are so obviously not ever confused/replaced one by the other by native speakers, and they are easily distinguished for the non-native speaker by checking a reference (and parts of speech). That is, assuming an alternate reality where the question was intended as written, it's either general reference or NARQ. So reverted or not, (I think) it should still be closed.
    – Mitch
    Apr 30, 2012 at 1:55

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