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I have this question that I want to up-vote an answer for it, namely Algebraically Simplify $n =\left( \frac{ \left(5\right)^{\log 5}} { \left(2 \right)^{\log 2}} \right) ^{ \frac{1} {\log 2-\log 5 } } = \frac{1}{10} $, but I wanted to make sure that the answer author gets the full bonus for the check acceptance of his answer.

Currently, this answer is the one directly under the question, and I have provided feedback to the Answer Author feedback about what is necessary, but it seems that the Answer Author might need more time. For me, it would be nice to get this answer approved as soon as possible as soon as the corrections are complete, as this question fills the gap between an expert Mathematician Ph.D Professor or Professional, also providing clarity for mathematicians at least at the College Level.

If I edit his answer, providing formatting updates that I feel are important for a fully-good-answer, does that in any way diminish the credit that the original poster would receive if I then immediately up-vote the answer with the check mark?

I want to make sure that by pressing the edit button for his answer, making the edits, and then saving it, that I do not transfer ownership to myself, as that would be counter-productive towards giving the answer-author full credit (after these formatting issues are done to make the answer perfectly clear, without doubt).

I put in my comments to the Author's Answer the necessary edits. But the answer still has these formatting difficulties and seems to be taking more time then I have for a bit to resolve.

What can be done to make sure that the formatting is fully correct and that the original Answer Author can only after then get full credit?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean this answer? $\endgroup$ Mar 7 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Context: related to same main question in OP's recent meta question. $\ \ $ $\endgroup$ Mar 7 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ Please Don't Capitalize Every Word Of Your Question Title. I've edited to fix that. $\endgroup$
    – KReiser
    Mar 7 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ Hello @KReiser: I was following the convention here at the grammarly web-site. I could reference other sources for the capitalization of articles. Is there a Stack Exchange Mathematics Meta site that you are familiar with that has a different capitalization standard for articles here? $\endgroup$ Mar 18 at 14:16

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There is no "partial-credit" for answers. After the questioner accepts the answer by clicking the acceptance checkmark, the answerer gets $15$ reputation points. Before that, zero points. People who edit the answer, before or after acceptance, do not share any of the reputation points. The act of someone editing the answer does not alter the reputation points assigned to the answerer in any way, no matter who does the editing. The one exception to this rule is when the answerer decides to make it into a "community wiki" answer, and then no-one gets any reputation points for that answer.

But perhaps you are asking whether there is some kind of "conditional credit"? Credit that is assigned provisionally but is put off until some kind of task is completed? While I do not know for sure, I am quite confident that no such thing exists on the stackexchange network (if I'm wrong about this probably I'll just delete this answer). If you want to insist that the answerer only gets reputation points after making the edits, your only option is to wait for that to be done before clicking the acceptance checkmark.

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Thank you for asking! Please feel free to edit the answer to improve it.

If by "credit" you mean the number of reputation points they gain from an upvote or "accept", then yes, they will still receive the same number of points. Editing their answer will not diminish the number of reputation points. Editing their answer does not transfer ownership to you.

If by "credit" you are referring to some notion of attribution or authorship (e.g., who gets "credit" in a scholarly sense), then no worries, it's fine to edit. The original author's username appears under the answer as the author of the answer, even if you edit their answer. If your suggested edit is accepted, then under the answer it will list them as the author, and list your username as having edited the answer.

Finally, let me offer you one last cautionary note. While I believe that editing their answer to improve it is simply beneficial for all, not everyone in this community agrees with me. Some people frown on editing other people's answers or are wary of significant edits to other people's answers, and may react badly to such edits. I think those views are harmful to the site and deviate from the Stack Exchange model, but many people disagree with me, and they have good reasons for their preferences. Perhaps one of the practical reasons for these views is the risk that edits can introduce errors. The larger the edit, the greater the risk, and the harder it is for reviewers to verify the correctness of suggested edits. I suspect another reason is a philosophical or moral difference: I suspect some people believe that authors should have "ownership" in their own text and "moral rights" and control over its contents, and believe it's not right to take away control from the original author. (To my mind, that means they don't agree with the Stack Exchange model.)

So as a matter of realpolitik, I suggest exercising caution about making anything more than de minimis changes. If you are making a clear improvement that does not change the meaning or style of the answer (e.g., fix a typo, improve formatting in a way that is unambiguously an improvement), and your change is very narrowly scoped and obviously unobjectionable, it is more likely that such changes will be well-received. If you are making major revisions (e.g., changing the style of the answer, adding significant additional content, anything whose correctness is hard to evaluate or might be a matter of preference), there is a very significant risk that such an edit will trigger some backlash and unhappiness. I apologize in advance that you have to deal with it. It sucks that you have to think about this -- in an ideal world, I think you shouldn't have to worry with that, and you should only have to worry about whether your edit improves the answer -- but if you want to avoid a backlash, I think it's best for you to be aware of this risk.

I appreciate your desire to ensure that the original author retains credit.

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    $\begingroup$ "I suggest exercising caution about making anything more than de minimis changes." Not meaning to disagree with this, nor with anything else you've written here, just to note that recently another user got very upset with someone who made de minimis edits to one of their answers, complaining that the edits were so small that they made no perceptible improvement to the answer. $\endgroup$ Mar 8 at 19:04
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson, thank you for sharing that experience! Perhaps I was too optimistic. $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Mar 8 at 19:57
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    $\begingroup$ While I, personally, generally agree with your second-to-last paragraph, you are correct in noting that the culture here is very much opposed to edits which change the intention or meaning of a question or answer. Editing for grammar, formatting (MathJax, etc), spelling, typos, etc. is fine. Editing for "style" or content is typically frowned upon. This may not be in-line with the original intentions of the SE network, but it appears to be in-line with the local community consensus. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 10 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Gerry Myerson: Sadly, I think that the point about the author getting upset about the edit is most important to avoid, as the author could take reciprocal action down-voting the question (for an answer edit) or answer (to a question edit). Maybe it is better to leave a positive comment to clarify any typo, so the author feels good about his or her contribution instead. Thank you community for your pointers. $\endgroup$ Mar 18 at 14:06

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