I assert that the reason for the edit privilege is for fixing grammar and spelling. Removing sections of someone's answer you disagree with or even think is off topic is both bad etiquette and an abuse of power. That's what the downvote button is for.

  • Part of the purpose of editing is to improve the clarity and quality of both questions and answers. Editors regularily rewrite sentences and delete portions that cause confusion. This happens on a regular basis through out SE and doesn't seem to cause issue. This thread has more to do with personal dissatisfaction with one particular edit than any site wide pattern. I could make some edits to make that clearer.... Sep 14, 2011 at 18:34
  • I think the key here is to improve clarity. Sep 14, 2011 at 21:21
  • Berin: I agree in principle, but "clarity" is subjective, and the way SO sites work is that reputation provides influence to those who've earned it (in a transparent way).
    – Argalatyr
    Sep 20, 2011 at 1:40

2 Answers 2


I don't agree that the information was off-topic -- the OP clearly asked about the context of a parent with a newborn baby.

At worst it was extra information, more than was asked for, but in no way was it a problem or tangential or unrelated. And since when is going "the extra mile" to answer a question ... bad?

I would say the edits were probably more invasive than they should have been -- but that's OK, that's why the "rollback" function exists... thanks for bringing it to meta to discuss.

  • It was a problem because the result was 6 comments discussing parenting, and none of them discussing fitness or nutrition.
    – michael
    Sep 11, 2011 at 14:11
  • 1
    sure, but that's a problem solvable by moderating the comments, which I totally support. If it turns into an extended digression that's bad, but as background to an answer it's fine. Sep 11, 2011 at 23:06
  • Here's my metaphor. What if someone on the cooking forum answered a question about good recipe software and someone answered: "You should really use a mac instead, that will fix the problems you are having with the recipe software." I would say that answer is off-topic, and not particularly useful, because it is subjective. The subjectivity of Berin's answer is part of the problem. If you do read the parenting forums, you will see that his suggestion is about as contentious as mac vs PC.
    – michael
    Sep 12, 2011 at 1:16
  • But, Berin asks a more general question, "Should users with edit privileges change someone's answer?" And, according to the FAQ, I say yes, independent of this specific context.
    – michael
    Sep 12, 2011 at 1:17
  • -1: Jeff's "answer" seems to be a comment on a specific situation, and not an answer to the question posed.
    – Argalatyr
    Sep 20, 2011 at 1:37

The FAQ says:

When should I edit posts?

Any time you feel you can make the post better, and are inclined to do so. Editing is encouraged!


Try to make the post substantively better when you edit, not just change a single character. Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged.

I agree that you should not edit something you just disagree with. I think removing off-topic information from an answer makes it substantively better.

It's not the first thing I tried, by the way. I put in a comment that your content was off-topic and belonged on the parenting site, but you continued the off-topic conversation you started and showed no inclination to do anything about it. So, I used the privileges I have to improve the site.

  • (RE: fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/3717/…). My counter questions are: since the OP volunteered that information as a reason why he is not getting any sleep, would it be wrong to point out that there are things they can do to help the situation? Also, what would give the OP a reason to go to "parenting.se" to find the answer? Is it really so wrong as to have a couple comments to help the new parent along? Life is messy, particularly with kids. I did attempt to keep the section relatively small. Sep 8, 2011 at 11:27
  • 2
    Now, it's not your opinion of the content I have that I see is the problem. It's not even the fact that you edited my answer. It is that your edit cut out information that I felt was pertinent to the OP's situation. Edits should not fundamentally change the answer. Sep 8, 2011 at 11:29
  • 1
    You have no foundation to stand on here. I've defended my position completely, and I am done.
    – michael
    Sep 8, 2011 at 13:05
  • +1: not endorsing any specific action, just voting for an answer to the question backed up by a reference to the FAQ.
    – Argalatyr
    Sep 20, 2011 at 1:38

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