I'm new, so I'm not 100% sure this is the right place to ask this. But I'm pretty sure... >_>

I've come across a few posts (on photo and security SE sites) that have poor grammar/spelling/phrasing of questions. I usually put it down to English being a second language rather than laziness, but I'm frequently tempted to edit the posts to correct things. Is there a general rule around this? I trialled an edit earlier today, and it seemed to be fine with the moderators. Obviously it wouldn't be reasonable to re-format the entire question, but some just to clear things up from time to time. I assume it would have to be within reason, I'm just wondering what the community 'thoughts' are around it.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ That is absolutely what edits are for. They recommend not editing for a very minor single edit, but otherwise as long as you keep the spirit of the original post, edit away! \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 15:06
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ If the question is one long breathless paragraph, I'm all for re-formatting the entire thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 15:38
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, while you're at it, see if the title can be improved and add any tags that seem relevant. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great! I'll do so as i see useful then. Thanks! :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NULLZ
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 5:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Glad you asked. I have rejected edits where someone did nothing but change flickr to Flickr, but then I catch myself making similar trivial edits. One thing to be careful of is making fairly trivial edits to old questions, as that bumps them to the front page. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 1:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I love that my post just got edited! ^_^ \$\endgroup\$
    – NULLZ
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


Is there a general rule around this?

The general rule is that if you can improve a question or answer without changing the author's intent, you should feel free to do so. See Other people can edit my posts? in the [faq]. It's the same rule on all StackExchange sites, by the way.

Obviously it wouldn't be reasonable to re-format the entire question but some just to clear things up from time to time.

If reformatting the entire question makes it a better question, then do it. Again, respect the author's intent. But if someone posts a list of f/stops (or whatever) in a paragraph and you're pretty sure you can make it more readable by formatting it as a list, go ahead. Editing for spelling and/or grammar are fine. On the other hand, don't be too picky -- there's no need to edit a question to fix a single little typo where the meaning isn't in question.


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