It would be nice with a guideline how to edit a question or an answer - please expand the below list - maybe we could agree upon what to edit.

I think of several reasons to edit:

  1. The English should be correct. In particular all sentences should begin with a capital letter.

  2. The logic should be correct.

  3. The LaTeX code should be readable.

  4. The chosen tags should be related to the question.

Please think of all these things whenever you are editing.

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    $\begingroup$ If the only thing wrong with a post is a sentence beginning with a lower case letter, and if editing it would boost an old question from well-deserved obscurity back up to the front page, I would live with the incorrect English. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 4 '11 at 11:56

The title should reflect what is asked in the body of the question.


I disagree with the second and third reasons. Correcting the logic means changing the contents of the answer, which not only should be discouraged but even tabooed. The LaTeX code need not be readable either, just its compiled output.

Good reasons to edit however are changing the formatting to improve readability, to insert needed links, correct links and/or images, and when needed to add useful bibliography.

One last reason is to correct citations into a proper format or if they are incorrect. This is the only change in contents we should actually encourage.

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    $\begingroup$ If you have to "correct the logic", then you probably should be writing a separate answer anyway instead of fiddling with someone else's take. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Nov 4 '11 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ ^especially if the bad logic is in the question, since you don't want to misrepresent the OP's understanding! $\endgroup$ – The Chaz 2.0 Nov 4 '11 at 23:54

Somtimes mistakes should be left intact and commented on, so that one can explain that certain things are mistakes. But I often edit TeX style and then comment, saying what I did. E.g. someone wrote \underset{x\in A}{\mathrm{sup}} or something like that and I changed it to \sup_{x\in A} and explained in the comments.

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    $\begingroup$ That is basically imposing your aesthetic standards on others. There is nothing wrong with the first version. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker May 20 '12 at 2:42
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    $\begingroup$ To say that changing \underset{x\in A}{\mathrm{sup}} to \sup_{x\in A} is "imposing [my] aesthetic standards on others" is laughably absurd. This is standard usage and it shows people that it's not necessary to write a lot of complicated code for which there's already a simple on-the-shelf built-in expression. Users usually appreciate being made aware of things like this. On numerous occasions they have thanked me for pointing it out. No one's ever complained to me about such an edit. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hardy May 20 '12 at 16:49

In midst of Dos, I want to add a Don'ts.

Don't Edit to boost your reputation. I have observed some new users sometime do this even if it is mere 2 reputations.

Changing one word to similar but other or changing slight formatting style is sometimes seen which is unnecessary.


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