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I recently approved an edit to an answer (as I write it awaits another reviewer). This edit added three sizable paragraphs to the answer. Indeed it had enough content to be a separate answer, in my view. It did not conflict with anything in the existing answer, But perhaps it is enough of a change that it "changes the meaning" and so is not a proper edit? I am, not unsure of my own approval

Should suggested edits similar to this be approved? Should those with unrestricted editing privileges make such edits to another user's answer? Or would such content be better posted as a separate answer?

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No

The only person that should do sizeable additions to an answer is the writer. Something that adds three paragraphs most certainly is bound to change the meaning at least a tiny bit and thus is not a proper edit.

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    I agree with you as to this edit (it definitely adds meaningful changes to the content, and really could've/should've been its own answer), but while the edit's size is a good rule of thumb, it's not dispositive. Extensive edits can preserve the original meaning while only elaborating on it (consider, for example, an edit adding relevant quotations from cases the author cited), but this one simply goes too far.
    – Ryan M
    Jul 15, 2022 at 22:37
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Yes

Posts on Stack Exchange belong to the community (in the sense that they are irrevocably licenced to SE), not to the person who posted them. If you can edit a post within the editing guidelines the size of the edit is irrelevant.

Questions should be approached more cautiously as the OP has some particular problem they want to be solved, but answers are fair game.

In either case, the OP can always roll it back if they don't like it. If they do that, take the hint and leave it alone.

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  • It is not so clear that a CC license really is "irrevocable". In the US, under 17 USC 203 it can apparently be revoked, although only after many years. Jul 16, 2022 at 18:12
  • If an account is linked to an individual, and that individual accrues points as a result of votes from the community, then you can't really say that the individual's submitted material belongs to the community and not the individual. Jul 17, 2022 at 17:31
  • @Michael Hall Belongs is I think used here in the sense of copyright ownership or control. SE has the legal right to re-distribute the post, or to make derivative works from it, and distribute those, under the same license.. "Belongs" is a somewhat vague term in regard to text, but it often refers to copyright. Jul 18, 2022 at 17:08
  • @DavidSiegel, yeah, I get it, but I'm not arguing for any legal "right" an individual's may hold over their thoughtfully crafted answer, only that the entire model of this site is based on individuals competing for the best post. Excessive editing dilutes that fundamental intent. Jul 19, 2022 at 0:52

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