Is it considered bad to edit old answers to add in headers so that the answers can be easily seen by tools using the SEDE or data dumps?

I can see pros and cons to doing this, and I what is the correct thing to do in this case.


  • Allows for easier analysis and searching
  • Can bring more answers to questions that didn't get much attention first time round
  • Standardises the posts using older header formats


  • Causes edits to old posts
  • Can cause old posts to be bumped
  • Adds to the Suggested Edits queue, taking up time

Also, are the rules different if it had a header from before the leaderboard became common? I try to make sure if I can improve a post then I do that at the same time.

This question is different to this as that one deals with occasional edits, where as this focuses more on bulk modifications.

I every so often stumble upon an oldish challenge and find myself compelled to edit a lot of answers in order to make them follow the standard/new header formatting (## language name, bytes count).

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are queues hardly ever have more than a few entries, and there's nothing wrong with bumping old posts occasionally to improve quality. I always edit posts with a bad/missing header. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pavel
    Feb 1, 2018 at 0:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have >=2000 rep your edits will not be queued. \$\endgroup\$
    Feb 1, 2018 at 1:18
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @user202729 They'll still be bumped (which, I think, is the bigger issue). \$\endgroup\$
    – Steadybox
    Feb 1, 2018 at 2:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Whenever we have people that want to go back and update posts (for tags, etc), we just ask that they do it in moderation (~3 an hour). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2018 at 6:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @jrtapsell Why do you ask on Meta whether those edits should be made, and then start doing them without waiting for an answer? \$\endgroup\$
    – Laikoni
    Feb 1, 2018 at 13:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Laikoni, I took Nathan Merrill's and Pavel's comments as a working answer (I paused edits when I posted this, and only resumed after Pavel's answer) \$\endgroup\$
    – jrtapsell
    Feb 1, 2018 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can also see that a reason for rejecting edits is This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability., does find include searching via SEDE and data dumps, which the standard header format helps with, or only the main site search? \$\endgroup\$
    – jrtapsell
    Feb 1, 2018 at 13:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jrtapsell I'm not sure what your current strategy for the edits is, but please stick to answer given in the dupe target question here, especially only if you don't bump many challenges. Note challenges rather than answers, feel free to bulk update all the answers to a challenge as that effectively only bumps one challenge once. \$\endgroup\$
    – Laikoni
    Feb 1, 2018 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Laikoni, Ah, I see your point, my old strategy was a SEDE query that found likely missing header answers (here), I have modified it to get questions sorted by bad answer count (here {it does have false positives though}), although it does look like there are a lot of questions that only have 1 bad answer, any idea how they should be handled? \$\endgroup\$
    – jrtapsell
    Feb 1, 2018 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ If there only is one answer to be edited, it is still fine to bump the question because of this, just leave enough time between those edits. \$\endgroup\$
    – Laikoni
    Feb 1, 2018 at 14:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ ... I don't like seeing old challenges, because some of them seems blatantly off-topic ... \$\endgroup\$
    Feb 1, 2018 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Laikoni does my answer below miss any key points? \$\endgroup\$
    – jrtapsell
    Feb 1, 2018 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


Based on discussions with @laikoni in the comments it seems the following rules should be followed:

  • Try to minimise the amount of bumped questions
    • This can be done by using a query like this to find the questions with the highest amount of answers with broken headers
  • Questions with low amounts of answers that are incorrect should have time left between fixes, to prevent bumping a large number of old questions.

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