# I question the inclusion of edit statements in the posts

In one of my recent answers I made a mistake, which was later corrected and I am thankful, that I don't have to do this myself. In this edit there was at the end the statement

edit: updated equation

included (link). I don't find this helpful at all, since chances are that future visitors don't have seen the original post and why should they care what happened in between.

I have seen a couple of other posts, questions and answers, where such statements are included. In most cases there is an addendum to the original post, lead in with Edit, sometimes more than one occurrence. I don't see how this provides anything to the post. If someone is interested in the history of the post, it can be looked up. I think a post should be standalone, meaning it should include all relevant information at once and it should read like it.

I would suggest keeping (especially questions) free of such noisy statements.

• I agree, these kind of statements need to be edited out. – user15489 Aug 5 '15 at 7:15
• – TRiG Aug 8 '15 at 21:06

## 3 Answers

I absolutely agree. StackExchange was meant to be free-of-noise. To achieve that goal the askers are encouraged to keep extra fluff outta their post.

Edit: Some people think adding things like "background:" or "main question:" or "edit" beautifies and organizes their posts. While I see this classification good for research-level answers and the ones that contain a lot of sections, I think I can safely assume that on 80% of the posts I encountered them in, they were noise.

Edit: I also recommend people not abuse backticks, bold and italics to over-format their p o s ts.

Edit: This is an edit. Thought you might wanna know.

## Edit:

This is an inspirational image for our editors and makes this post as if it had something important to say:

edit: removed typo

# EDIT!:

When is "EDIT"/"UPDATE" appropriate in a post? discusses this issue very well. Alas, "edit" statements are rarely needed.

• – TRiG Aug 8 '15 at 22:05
• Sometimes edits that others make to a question render your own answers non-responsive. I'm a fan of liberal application of edit tags in questions like those. – Curt F. Aug 11 '15 at 4:08
• @Curt if edits render a correct answer wrong, they shouldn't be there in the first place. They must be rolled back. If the edits show how the answer is wrong, they first should be in the form of a comment. I still don't see why adding a edit: will make a post easier to read. – M.A.R. Aug 11 '15 at 14:27

The edit statements seem to me of time-sensitive utility, loosely similar to the 'welcome comments' recently discussed. When I've been engaged in discussion on a particular question from early on, having a clear annotation of when content has been added/changed is helpful as it avoids the need to re-read the entirety of the question or answer. (Of course, sometimes such re-reads are beneficial, so this could be as much a detriment as a benefit....)

Once a question and its answers have lain unedited for some span of time, though... three days, perhaps? ... having an automated system reminder to the authors of the posts to clean up any "EDIT:" notation might be good. I could see that turning into a nuisance, though.

I completely agree that the running, substantive edits on questions are problematic. Early answers get transformed into irrelevancy (case in point) and the question as a whole loses the topical focus SE strives for. There aren't very good mechanisms available (visible to someone under 2k rep, at least) for performing the surgery needed in such situations to piece out a complex or initially-confused question into separate units without losing useful answers and information provided on the initial question.

• Edit: They're sometimes pure noise on some questions. Edit: I agree that in longer posts they're ranging from good to needed. Edit: See my edits. – M.A.R. Aug 7 '15 at 16:36
• When you don't want to reread the whole question, why don't you just read the edit history instead? It is indeed very unfortunate, when an answer is rendered irrelevant due to substantial edits. The OP should be informed, that this is very bad practise and the superior approach is asking a new question with linkback. (This of course excludes vandalism.) If you think this is a more general problem, bring it to meta, chat or flag. – Martin - マーチン Aug 10 '15 at 21:25
• @Martin-マーチン Because it never occurred to me to use the edit history in this way, and I assume it occurs only infrequently to others. This is similar to how it never occurred to me to consult the search help for how to craft a search to find messy "EDIT:"s in old posts that I could clean up. – hBy2Py Aug 11 '15 at 0:50
• @Martin-マーチン This is one of my main gripes with the SE model, actually: that I seem able to discover useful new interaction modes only by complaining (viz., posting on Meta somewhere), and then having a more experienced user write something with undertones of a dramatic eye roll, saying, "Well, [duh,] why don't you do this?" Maybe I'm just uncreative, but the trend has been pretty consistent. – hBy2Py Aug 11 '15 at 0:53
• I apologize if I came off rude, I just wanted to point out an option that you already have to spot the differences in the questions - as I use that quite extensively (but obviously for different reasons). There was no duh and no dramatic eye roll involved. I am sorry if that came across like that. However, I do not understand the first part of your second comment - what do you mean by new interaction modes? – Martin - マーチン Aug 11 '15 at 9:41
• I apologize as well, @Martin-マーチン, I did not get an eye-roll impression from you; the discussion brought up my reaction to the post at my above link -- which, rereading, was probably also unwarranted there. As re 'new interaction modes,' to chat ---> – hBy2Py Aug 11 '15 at 15:21
• @Brian I concur, SE's model is usually very hard to understand, and making good tutorials about it is their worst loss. I myself have figured out what to do in many cases by failing in one or two of them and then finding something to relieve my confusion. I might even go and write a meta post about it; please flag or roll back edits that render the answer irrelevant. – M.A.R. Aug 11 '15 at 21:18

I don't include "edit" notes in the posts, but there are occasions where I think it is helpful to clarify what was original and what was added later. Consider the following question: Why can't I reproduce this photolytic reaction of ferrocyanide?

Thanks to inputs in comments and an answer, the original question was amended. Those seem odd if it's not clear that the amendment wasn't part of the initial question. So I marked the new content as an Amendment.

Then, the experiment was rerun and more relevant details emerged. Again, if the original question was just re-written all previous content would seem irrelevant, and we would lose the "process" by which it was (hopefully) answered. So I put the new details in an Update.

In an ideal world, perhaps every time someone tweaks their question every commenter and answerer would revisit their posts and delete them as appropriate. But that seems neither likely nor fair when they contributed to the answering of the question.

• This is a common problem on Quora: someone will ask a question, get 10 answers, realize that this isn't the question they want, completely change the question, get 10 more answers, and on and on until you have 50 answers to all sorts of different questions and nobody know what's going on anymore. – chipbuster Aug 10 '15 at 20:03
• The key is that StackExchanges are not that kind of site. In theory, you are supposed to ask one question, get some good answers, and that's that. No back-and-forth. In practice of course, we'll need to patch up questions, and new information will come in, and things of that sort. In the example you gave, I think you can safely add the amendment without labeling it as such, but you're right in that the update would be confusing without a label. – chipbuster Aug 10 '15 at 20:06
• but there are occasions where I think it is helpful to clarify what was original and what was added later - Not adding an edit: cleared my throat will not help or un-help any classification of the content in the post. We have markdown for that. – M.A.R. Aug 11 '15 at 14:58