Motivating example: This suggested edit corrects a clear error in an answer, but the error is central to the answer's premise—it answers a question about sitting presidents as litigants, and the error is that the litigant was not a sitting president at the time of the lawsuit, but in fact the president-elect.

On Stack Overflow, we tend to reject edits that substantively change an answer, even if the original answer was wrong, but it's unclear if the same policy makes sense here.

How should such suggestions be handled?

2 Answers 2


"Edits" by the non-author should only address presentation and not substance. Factual errors and the like should be pointed out in the comments. However, I also believe that questions and answers should be treated differently, so that fixing a question by removing the "request for legal advice" properties is a good thing, but patching errors in an answer is a bad thing.



This is the guidance on the edit privilege (my emphasis):

When should I edit posts?

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

Some common reasons to edit are:

  • to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes
  • to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it
  • to correct minor mistakes or add addendums / updates as the post ages
  • to add related resources or hyperlinks

-Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged - try to make the post significantly better when you edit, correcting all problems that you observe.

What you describe does not "clarify the meaning of a post without changing it" - it changes it fundamentally.

Commenting and downvoting are the correct way to deal with factually incorrect answers; not editing.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .