I keep seeing questioners answering their own questions with an update instead of editing the question. Is this maybe a problem of a not prominent enough edit link? Since this site heavily depends on editing, we should make sure that people find it.

  • Conversely, I also see a lot of people posting answers to their questions that should instead be edits or comments. Maybe we need to make it clearer to new users when you use one or the other? Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 12:06
  • 1
    Related: meta.askubuntu.com/questions/1819/… Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 14:12
  • With the improved review page (described in the latter part of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/110935/…) we might be able to find bad posts easier. This is a SX with lots of new users so we'll benefit from any tools helping the review process.
    – N.N.
    Commented Nov 7, 2011 at 20:12

5 Answers 5


I don't think the problem is due to how well the links stand out but how well people are acquainted with the format of a Q&A site such as this. Some newcomers seems think of this as no different from a conventional forum (while it's not, see https://askubuntu.com/about) and therefore act as such. Thus, actions such as answering one's own question to provide details instead of editing the question or posting a comment as an answer may rather be the mistake of treating this site as a forum.

So, the solution to this problem is not, I think, to change the appearance of the links but to inform newcomers of how to use this site. This can be done via comments, flagging and also by discussion in chat. Maybe we should give pro-forma coomments that describes how certain aspects of this site works a push?

Finally, I think the appearance of the links are good as it is. It's good that they don't stand out too much so that pages look less cluttered. If you understand that each post can be edited you'll know that there are links below each post.

  • I agree that it should be made clearer to users that this site is not a forum. But to me, the issue is that a forum is what most new users here immediately think this is. As such, they probably don't expect that they can edit their posts, so I'm for making those links more obvious, even at the expense of introducing more visual clutter. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 17:45
  • Also, another note: while links back to the FAQ are good and all, it seems like that (and flagging) is what we're already doing, and yet we have this issue so I don't think that's a solution in itself. Besides, a lot of people have the habit of not reading the instructions first whenever trying something new (I know I sure didn't when I joined here). New users just jump on expecting answers right away, so we should make it more obvious to them exactly what they're supposed to be doing. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 17:49

Adding Hint Text Next To the Answer Box

I just had an alternate idea I'd like to add. Perhaps the problem is not with the links, but the answer box itself.

Here's how the top of the answer box currently looks:

Current answer box screenshot

To a newbie, there is nothing overtly obvious about this that suggests this is where you post the answer to your question. "Your Answer" could just as easily mean "Your Answer To The Previous Post", like in a forum. This could be a potential source of confusion.

A possible solution for this is to use some hint text that reminds the user what the answer box is for. Below are a couple ideas I just quickly made up in GIMP for what this could look like:

Version 1

version 1

Version 2

version 2

The wording/appearance doesn't have to look exactly like this, but it conveys my general idea.

In addition, if it is possible then perhaps the wording could change depending on whether you are answering your own question or somebody else's question:

Version 1 (someone else's question variant)

version 1 variant

The added advantage of this is that it could also help guide users away from misplacing comments on other questions, adding "me too's", etc. I think a lot of these all stem from users expecting our site to work like a conventional forum, and we should help point out to them the differences.

  • 1
    This solution makes much more sense. Maybe the highlighted text to be added should link to some place/places giving more details on how the site works and in particular what an answer is supposed to be.
    – N.N.
    Commented Nov 7, 2011 at 16:28
  • @N.N. That wouldn't be a bad idea. Commented Nov 7, 2011 at 18:35

In my opinion either the edit link alone or all the links could do with some more attention. Here's a (maybe too extreme) example:

enter image description here

Maybe it could also help to just switch the positions of tags and links?

enter image description here

  • I like the examples where the links take on an orange color. I think that makes them stand out more visually. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 11:59
  • I don't think there's a need for highlighting the links, it would only add to the clutter of pages. What is needed is rather too boost the understanding of how this site works as opposed to other types of sites such as conventional forums. See my post for details.
    – N.N.
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 16:46

Here is my proposal.

enter image description here

The links now have a light orange background and the font color is a slightly bit darker.

Note: The start a bounty link is standard!

  • It is interesting that the start a bounty link is given highlighting when none of the other links have it, but I think it serves more as a warning that using it will cause you to lose reputation. Other than that, this answer seems very similar to htorque's aforementioned approach. Commented Nov 6, 2011 at 23:42

I also think that maybe the tooltips shown when hovering some of these links should be updated. For example, the tooltip shown when hovering the "edit" link currently reads:

revise and improve this post

Perhaps it should be expanded a little to say:

improve this post with more details, corrections or an update

  • I don't think that the tooltips needs to changed. The meaning of 'revise' and 'improve' covers that of adding more details, making corrections and making updates, so adding such information seems only redundant and confusing rather than informative.
    – N.N.
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 16:42
  • @N.N. I still disagree. "Revise" sounds narrow in its purpose (the first thing it makes me think of is proofreading or simple corrections, but nothing beyond that), and to me is more confusing than my suggested approach, which I think makes it more explicit as to what the edit link is for. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 17:42
  • On second thought, I think I might have a better idea. Commented Nov 7, 2011 at 0:11

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