5

votes

[Meta] Editing other PHers' posts: guidelines?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 17, 2012 at 10:41 PM

I searched the tags, but didn't find a thread that specifically addresses editing posts and comments, or the etiquette surrounding that. I've been able to edit posts for a while, but have never done so. However, with this morning's rash of inflammatory troll posts I was tempted to do some snipping--but didn't because I wasn't sure it was a good idea (and the threads were just going to end up closed and deleted anyway).

So, in the interest of making PH an even better resource and helping future would-be editors make appropriate editing decisions, I'd like to ask those of you who already edit questions and comments this: what guidelines do you use when deciding to edit posts, and under what circumstances do you choose to edit or not?

Do you edit for grammar/spelling/punctuation, or to clarify a poorly-worded question?

Do you go ahead and edit a non-question into a question, leave a comment telling the asker to edit it themselves--or just go ahead and vote to close it?

If an otherwise good question happens to have an affiliate link, or linkspam to the poster's blog (blatant or subtle), or has an insulting and/or irrelevant comment attached to it, do you remove the offensive part and leave the question? How diligent are you about doing that, and how tolerant are you of external links?

If you're casting the last vote to close a troll or spam question, do you go ahead and snip all or part of the offending text?

Are there any situations I haven't mentioned that you think are worth mentioning?

What do you, as individuals, think are reasonable uses of your editing privileges?

I'm not asking this to come up with hard-and-fast rules for how and when to edit; I'm more interested in getting a general idea of what's generally done and accepted here, and what editors' approaches are. Because once in a while, I do find myself wondering if I should edit something or not--only to end up not doing it because I'm not sure it's kosher. And since every time I have a question like this it turns out others do too, I figured I'd throw it out there for all of us. :)

Thanks!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:14 AM

It's too bad we can't do *more* editing for spelling and grammar, but there are only so many hours in a day! ;-)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:13 AM

I wish it wasn't seen as insulting to edit people's grammar and spelling. What the heck are they teaching in grade school these days, anyway? (Or is it "wish it *weren't*?) ;-)

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:23 AM

Thank you for your answer. I've also wondered what the etiquette was regarding editing. I've only edited a question once to make it easier to read. Even though there are many grammatical errors here, it would be a full time job to correct them all! I decided (for myself, anyway) that as long as the intent was clear then no need to do anything.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 18, 2012
at 12:15 AM

I tried to find something editable in this question, and sadly, could not. I felt tempted to eliminate a few passive verbs in favor of a more active voice, but decided some might consider that overstepping.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 17, 2012
at 11:51 PM

I just edited your post for the comedy value of editing a post about the etiquette of editing.

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1 Answers

2
A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 17, 2012
at 11:49 PM

Generally I think editing is best when done with a light hand.

I most commonly edit questions to add or fix tags, and to correct grammar mistakes and misuse of punctuation (like apostrophe's....er, I mean apostrophes.)--as long as doing so doesn't change the meaning of the question. I never publicly point out grammar mistakes when I correct them--that seems insulting.

I have also edited questions making assertions plainly in error (like someone misstating the percentage of fat in a certain grade of ground beef), by adding a line that says something clarifying it, and always acknowledging the edit.

We seem a diverse community, so occasionally I have edited to add English measurements (always in parenthesis) from posters using only metric. I don't do the reverse, however. Why not? I only have so much time, so I edit based on my own frame of reference. I'd be happy if others did the reverse.

Whenever I edit, I describe the edit as requested on the form, and sometimes acknowledge the edit within the question itself (as in the ground beef example above).

The FAQ invites editors to improve questions: "Above all, be honest. If you see misinformation, vote it down. Insert comments indicating what, specifically, is wrong. Even better (emphasis added) ??? edit and improve the information! Provide stronger, faster, superior answers of your own!"

Usually I edit when I consider the question a great one for which I want to see answers, but fear others may overlook it because of poor grammar or missing or ill-conceived tags.

Don't be shy about editing. As the FAQ says, editing comprises part of how this site works, and anyone uncomfortable with others editing their questions should perhaps reconsider participating.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:23 AM

Thank you for your answer. I've also wondered what the etiquette was regarding editing. I've only edited a question once to make it easier to read. Even though there are many grammatical errors here, it would be a full time job to correct them all! I decided (for myself, anyway) that as long as the intent was clear then no need to do anything.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:14 AM

It's too bad we can't do *more* editing for spelling and grammar, but there are only so many hours in a day! ;-)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:13 AM

I wish it wasn't seen as insulting to edit people's grammar and spelling. What the heck are they teaching in grade school these days, anyway? (Or is it "wish it *weren't*?) ;-)

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