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After reading a question and providing an answer on math stack exchange, I often find myself thinking about it from time to time and making more progress on a fuller understanding of the issues/problems/concepts or a better way to explain the answer/calculation. At what point is it considered overboard to continually edit answers to improve them?

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    $\begingroup$ You are the author of the post edit it how you see fit. $\endgroup$ – dustin Mar 9 '15 at 3:59
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    $\begingroup$ You have to be exceptionally talented at spamming edits to catch someone's attention. Fortunately, there are no restrictions on edits. You can edit your posts as you please. $\endgroup$ – AvZ Mar 9 '15 at 4:35
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    $\begingroup$ Older discussion: How much (self) editing is too much? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Mar 9 '15 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't excessive editing cause the answer to switch to CW? $\endgroup$ – GEdgar Mar 9 '15 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ @GEdgar, see answer below. Apparently it used to but not any longer. But it seems an auto-flag is generated. $\endgroup$ – jdods Mar 9 '15 at 13:55
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There are no official restrictions. But a few comments/observations/pieces of advice:

  1. Frequent edits begin to annoy others at some point. Edits "bump" the thread to the front page of active questions, so if you give the impression that you are trying to hog the attention of others, then expect negative reactions. An old rule was that after edit #10 the post becomes Community Wiki - meaning that you will no longer get any rep points from it. This rule has been abolished, but at that point the system will raise an automatic flag. This will cause a moderator to investigate, and give you an opinion/advice. Or, in a rare case do something more drastic.
  2. (Questions only) Do not alter the gist of the question (or replace it with another one). This will annoy others (what robjohn says under Woodface's answer). The exception is that you should, of course, fix any clear typos and/or add the omitted assumptions and such. Particularly when the question is a fresh one.
  3. If you really want to fine tune your post a lot (improve LaTeXing, gradually add a lot of detail,...) it is a good idea to use the sandbox. It was created for this purpose. Read the instructions there (immersed in the question body).
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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the detailed response. I wondered about the bumping thing. The sandbox appears to be closed, however, I sometimes will type an answer in texworks before posting. That works for the most part as long as I pay attention to not used obscure tex packages. I don't think I've done too much editing then. $\endgroup$ – jdods Mar 9 '15 at 13:34
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    $\begingroup$ nvm... I misunderstood the sandbox! I see how it works now! $\endgroup$ – jdods Mar 9 '15 at 13:39
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    $\begingroup$ Are you sure you mean "ostensibly" there? It sounds to me as if you're saying the poster claims he's trying to get an earlier timestamp but really has a more nefarious purpose than that. $\endgroup$ – Henning Makholm Mar 9 '15 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Henning: You're right. I didn't think it through, and I need to rephrase and/or find a correct adverb. Well. I ended up deleting that bullet completely, because it was a rant as opposed to friendly advice from a friendly moderator :-/ $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Mar 9 '15 at 14:44
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It's not a problem unless your repeated edits begin to annoy people.

When they begin to annoy people, they will tell you to knock it off, using some combination of comments and downvotes.

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    $\begingroup$ People will probably become annoyed when the edits make their answers obsolete. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Mar 9 '15 at 4:36
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    $\begingroup$ "using some combination of comments and downvotes" and flags. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Mar 9 '15 at 5:40
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    $\begingroup$ @robjohn The question is about editing one's answer; this is not likely to make others' answers obsolete. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Mar 9 '15 at 5:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Woodface: True. My comment only applies to changes to a question. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Mar 9 '15 at 6:07
  • $\begingroup$ What about editing an answer to the point that it becomes better than the accepted answer and the asker changes accepted answers? Assume the original accepted answer was fairly thoroughly and explanatory, and that the newly added/edited answer only provides a few more details but maybe explains things differently in a way the OP decides to like better. I assume people would get ticked off at losing rep for their accepted answers. $\endgroup$ – jdods Mar 9 '15 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ @jdods: Well, that happens. If the edited answer really is better (for the OP) than the previously accepted one, then that means the system works. We want to encourage that behavior. $\endgroup$ – Henning Makholm Mar 9 '15 at 14:23

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