If I wish to edit a question to improve its quality, what are the general guidelines to keep in mind?

Sometimes I feel I deviate from the OP's original style when I use formatting. So, what all aspects should we try to preserve in our edits?

  • $\begingroup$ The FAQ on the central meta already has several questions about editing, and e.g. this explicitly talks about what to edit/not to edit. Is there specific guidance you're looking for not covered by that? $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Sep 14 '20 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ I could not directly find the answer to what I was looking in that site link you sent right now. Mainly I ask on if we should try to preserve the 'style' of op when editing $\endgroup$
    – Buraian
    Sep 14 '20 at 10:43
  • $\begingroup$ Can you add one or more examples to your question of an OP's style (that might or might not have to be preserved)? Without using "Update:", "Edited:", or similar. $\endgroup$ Sep 14 '20 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ A simple case would be a person who uses no formatting at all. Formatting his answer may feel like you're changing his style severely even though the question as a whole is more high quality. $\endgroup$
    – Buraian
    Sep 14 '20 at 17:47

The general rule of thumb is to that changes should make the post objectively better, while preserving its original intent.

For example, while a massive block of all-caps text with no punctuation could arguably be called a stylistic choice, it is objectively harder to read than properly formatted text. On the other hand, things like adding two spaces after a period or using American and British English are purely stylistic and you probably should respect these styles in any edits you make.

More importantly, editors should make certain not to change the actual content of the post. For example, this means cutting out parts of a question to make it more focused should be left to the OP, since only they can know what part of their question is most important to them.


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