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Today (one/two hours ago, to be honest) I happened to see a suggested edit to a question in the main site.

While the edit was actually pretty good (it would have removed a flaw that probably wasn't considered by the OP), I was wondering if users should do such heavy edits to another user's question. With heavy, I mean adding rules, changing the tag ( to for instance), or something else that could invalidate some answers or change the spirit of the question.

My question now is: should we just suggest such edits in the comments, and leave the edit task to the OP, or not?

I personally think that this should be is enough, since changing the rules should be the task of the OP (if he didn't use the sandbox, otherwise changing rules wouldn't have been necessary in most of the cases), but I'm asking your opinion.

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Once you post anything on a stack exchange site, you don't really "own" it anymore - you just get to keep any internet points it generates. It's really a case of giving due respect to the author.

We (our community) want the community to improve questions. Especially those from new comers who sometimes have a good idea for a question but phrase it badly.

If the change isn't wanted there is always rollbacks/comments.

Deliberate vandalism on this site is quite rare (so far)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I really liked this answer, I think it's the most exhaustive. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – Vereos Feb 28 '14 at 8:29
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(Speaking as a long-time Stack Exchange user, not as a moderator.)

Making edits directly is the Stack Exchange way. If the OP doesn't like the edit, they should revert and/or amend it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What should the reviewers do, then? \$\endgroup\$ – John Dvorak Feb 26 '14 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JanDvorak Same as on any other SE site: if the edit is good, approve; if it's poor, don't approve. When I say "revert and/or amend", I don't mean at the "suggested edit" level, I mean the OP actually edits the post after the suggested edit is successfully approved. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Jester-Young Feb 26 '14 at 16:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JanDvorak And yes, there is a "radical change" rejection reason if the reviewer does feel that the suggested edit is such. Don't be afraid to use that if you feel that that's the case. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Jester-Young Feb 26 '14 at 16:15
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It depends. Try answering these questions. If you answer "yes" to any, it should probably be a comment, not an edit.

  • Will it invalidate existing answers (other than removing obvious loopholes)?
  • Is it a radical change (i.e. could it reasonably be posted as a new question)?
  • Will the OP probably disagree with your edit?
  • Are you changing the winning criterion? (Adding one OTOH is probably ok)
  • Did the OP explicitly state that he/she did not want it changed?
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If you think that the OP would probably agree with the change, simply do it. Just today, I did this in two different questions.

If you have little doubt, do it, and drop a comment asking for the OP what he thinks about.

If you think that the edit will be good, but is unsure of what the OP thinks, ask him/her. If he agrees, he/she will probably edit the question. If he/she agrees, but do not edit the question, do it.

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