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I recently came across an edit where a user has significantly changed the content of the answer of another user (whether it was mathematically correct or not does not matter). I rejected the edit as being too radical.

So I want to ask if it is alright to edit other answers yourself rather than requesting the original answerer to make the necessary edits? And should I approve such edits?

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    $\begingroup$ I am generally in favour of editing. I get annoyed when people tell the OP "You have spelled derivative wrongly. Fix it." I have more sympathy when the problem is a major cleaning up job, but I would still encourage people to do them (especially higher-rep users who avoid the review queue). However, when an edit is to change the meaning (even if it is to correct an obvious error) then my opinion is less cut-and-dried. I think, broadly speaking, that this is okay, because the OP is always informed of corrections and so they can vet the edit and see if the meaning is now what they meant. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Sep 8 '13 at 13:31
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    $\begingroup$ As the OP can revoke an edit and as some questions desperately need an edit (to become readable); which may not be possible for the OP (for example when his english is too bad), I full encourage "radical" edits as long as they preserve the question and the OPs' thoughts on the problem. $\endgroup$ – AlexR Sep 8 '13 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ Though the questions aren't exact duplicates, I believe that my answer here applies. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Sep 9 '13 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ I think minor edits where the error or omission is obvious are acceptable. Otherwise asking the OP for clarification seems the appropriate route. $\endgroup$ – copper.hat Sep 9 '13 at 4:09
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    $\begingroup$ I do not consider it acceptable to edit someone else’s answer in such a way as to change the content significantly. Cleaning up formatting and spelling is fine. Fixing obvious typos (e.g., $>$ for obviously intended $<$) is fine, if the intent really is obvious, but I’ve seen enough mistaken edits of this kind to be a little nervous about them; if the answerer is a regular, it’s safer to leave a comment asking whether so-and-so is a typo. Any greater change is unacceptable. $\endgroup$ – Brian M. Scott Sep 10 '13 at 3:55
  • $\begingroup$ I strongly agree with Brian. I hate it when people edit my posts for more than an obvious typo. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Sep 22 '13 at 7:46
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I do not consider it acceptable to edit someone else’s answer in such a way as to change the content significantly. Cleaning up formatting and spelling is fine. Fixing obvious typos (e.g., $>$ for obviously intended $<$) is fine, if the intent really is obvious, but I’ve seen enough mistaken edits of this kind to be a little nervous about them; if the answerer is a regular, it’s safer to leave a comment asking whether so-and-so is a typo. Any greater change is unacceptable.

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    $\begingroup$ Might one add to this answer never to edit someone answer before the person has had adequate time to edit it? I would usually wait at least $5$ to $10$ min after it is posted before editing an answer. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Oct 24 '13 at 14:25
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You can feel free to edit any other answers by yourself, but you should beware that the original answerer can feel unacceptable to your edits and roll back to the original version, since the original answerer always has the major right for any his/her own answers.

If the original answerer doesn't mind his/her own answers are edited by other users, editing other one's answers are really the good ideas, since for example you can replenish the other answers rather than add you own answers for avoiding the direct competition to you.

See my successful example and my failure example.

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