I am asking this because there were a few occasions when I felt an urgent need to edit a person's solution that had been written rather poorly (e.g. using non-standard abbreviations or committing really gross spelling errors). In the end, after making the necessary edit, I received a rather rude response from the person.

I would like to know, is it an unspoken rule that one communicates privately with the person about what corrections should be made before effecting any edits?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you received a rude response as a comment on the answer then you might flag that comment for moderator attention. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2012 at 14:16
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think you edit too many unnecessary things. For example in this edit there are at most two or three changes that lead to visible improvement. Nevertheless you touched every single formula by introducing lots of braces and spaces. Please try to change only what is necessary. Everybody has their own way of TeXing and parsing other people's code is an unpleasant thing to do. $\endgroup$
    – Martin
    Jan 10, 2013 at 7:13
  • $\begingroup$ Ooof. This comment by Martin has me a little self conscious where is the post that discusses unnecessary edits? I am assuming that these are costly to the community in terms of just consuming other users' time in a way that is not appreciated. Is there anything else to this? $\endgroup$
    – Mason
    Jul 18, 2018 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ Related: math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2216/… $\endgroup$
    – Mason
    Jul 18, 2018 at 17:17

2 Answers 2


Unless you are a moderator, there isn't really a method to communicate privately with another user. If a comment and reply were expected before every edit, the comments would become littered with messages about editing. However, if an edit might affect the meaning or tone of a post, a comment asking about the change would be a courtesy.


Always note: There is nothing wrong with editing a poor-quality post; this is a community driven website.

Make sure that the edit is very meaningful and respects the original author. Do not make unnecessary additions to the post unless a community wiki. Sometimes, people do think that it is disrespectful to their post when you edit it, but it's not! An edit makes a post much more valuable. There is no etiquette as such. In addition, you can always write a proper reason to what you edited and why you did so. It'd be enough in my (and most on this site's) opinion.

  • $\begingroup$ Please, either add hyphen between words “community” and “driven” or change grammar away of passive voice. $\endgroup$ Dec 8, 2014 at 19:44

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