From time to time, I see a lot of editing being done that can be described as "merely a linguistic style choice", rather than a correction to spelling or a clarification of the question at hand. Often, these edits are made to years-old threads, asked and answered; and so the edits achieve little except bringing the posts back to the top of the lists.

I have had edits made to my posts (which I rolled back) that were essentially just alterations to the way I'd written something, rather than an amelioration of the content. I'd hope I don't presume too much in suggesting that my English usage does not normally require much assistance.

I'm not talking about formatting, which is of some value.

Is such a practice desirable? To my mind, if every question and answer sounds as though it has come from the same author, then something has been lost from the community.

  • 3
    If you see a pattern, can you maybe flag some of the edited posts so we can have a look?
    – nohillside Mod
    Jul 9, 2019 at 17:13
  • Upvoted as I can see the same in various StackExchange communities (not only this one). I don’t post much, but I see most of my posts edited unable to spot what has been edited. So, it appears that such edits are being done just to get the editor’s names out and visible (a.k.a. attention hashing).
    – Phoenix
    Jul 10, 2019 at 4:11
  • This is an absolute pet hate of mine. I recently left one SE community [with 20k rep] after relentless minor style edits from one of the moderators, who just couldn't resist "fixing" things that weren't broken.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 10, 2019 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


The literal instructions are to only edit a post that needs improvement so trivial edits are therefore not in keeping in the model for here.

Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it. Common reasons for edits include:

  • To fix grammar and spelling mistakes
  • To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)
  • To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the information relevant to the post is contained in one place
  • To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages
  • To add related resources or hyperlinks

I would also say that you should consider editing to be a social activity. If you are at a party or event and you find yourself the only one talking, there might be a problem even if you are strictly following the rules. Your point of being the editor is also something I consider to be a tie breaker - if the editor has a preference, I believe we should tend to defer to their choice and wording unless there is clear consensus on it needing an edit.

So, if you feel a post needs a substantial change, go ahead and make all the changes - small or large and then be open for feedback if people have questions or comments on the edit. You can always flag for a moderator if you are unsure how to handle a specific edit or post here.


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