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When someone has asked a question using bad grammar or bad formatting, I find it difficult to read. So, the natural response? Clean it up. However, I'm realising that I make these edits fairly frequently. Should I keep pestering my peers with edits like this, or should I just let everyone else fish their way through it?

  • 8
    You should edit stuff that worth your time. If you feel that it doesn't worth your time, probably you should instead flag for closure or/and downvote it. – Braiam May 25 '16 at 17:05
37

Go for it! That's what edits are for.

When you reach 2,000 reputation, you get the ability to edit things without needing to get it reviewed.

Editing is a good and important part of the site! Keep it up!

13

Since there are many users worldwide posting here and, many posters are non-native English speakers; editing can be very helpful.

  • 1
    Good point - which leads to the question - in the case that some of the terminal output is in another language, should I translate it when possible? – anonymous2 Jun 1 '16 at 13:00
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    @anonymous2 Yes, of course but only if you can translate it exactly, a spelling or translation error in output could cause a question to become unanswerable, if no one can understand it. Google translate should be avoided for code. – Mark Kirby Jun 2 '16 at 16:18
4

When I edit other people's questions I do so to:

  • Fix formatting issues

  • Remove fluff unrelated to question:

    "Hey guys, I've heard great things about this site, so I thought I'd step by and tell you about my problem. Well, I run this ______ website, and it's been going for 4 years ago or so, but I've been considering..."

    "I'd really appreciate any help you could give, because I have to finish these ______ by ______"

    "This is probably like the 50th problem I've had with this operating system so far, and I've been considering wiping the whole thing and going back to Windows, at least that won't require constant fiddling and research.

  • Add quoted section from linked page.

  • Make actual question more prominent by putting it at the top (sometimes the actual question will be buried in one of the later paragraphs).

When editing I try to ensure:

  • I don't modify the content of the question. If the person asking the question is IMHO not asking the right question, it's tempting to edit it but it's better to comment or answer why you think they're going about things wrong.

  • I don't make trivial spelling corrections, if they are fairly trivial and it's easy to see what they mean. (Others may disagree with me and I don't mind if others do it, I personally just don't see much utility from doing this). A spelling error in a tag or title might be important enough to fix.

3

I think you should because I am new to Linux, support forums, and the like. A helpful edit helps me improve my syntax and grammar, thus making my participation more effective. Just do not hurl insults, and I'm sure reasonable people won't mind. Though, keep in mind some people's shorthand may be a sign of where their priorities are, and are thus oblivious to the loosely agreed upon standards known as "grammar".

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