I came across a post on the main site just now that I think could use some changes. I found the editing help page in the Help Center, but its write-up is pretty cursory and high-level.

What makes for a good edit on Chem.SE?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I was thinking of writing something like this, but Jan said it would be too much like Hidden Points of Editing. Just leaving a link because it's damn relevant: chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3044/… $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ @M.A.R. I think this Q/A should probably be discouraged from being added to, except for more links in the final bulleted list. If people have more nifty ideas about editing tips and tricks, they should go in HPoE, I think. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 10:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I wonder if it is a good idea to have a second answer on editing tag wikis. There is very little guidance on this so far (it is mostly in comments IIRC) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 18:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @orthocresol I support creating something for tag wiki edits, but I think it should be a separate meta question. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 18:41

1 Answer 1


On Stack Exchange, we generally like having substantial edits being made. Somebody who edits a post to correct one or two typos is helpful, but somebody who also takes the time to improve the title and retag the question is even more helpful.

Therefore, here are some basic guidelines for editing:

  1. Titles

    • Please make sure that a descriptive title is added that accurately reflects the question that is being asked. Some examples of how to construct a good title may be found here. This also makes it much easier to find questions in the future if they are still needed.
    • Please do not use MathJax in titles unless absolutely necessary. Generally, we like to spell out the full names of chemicals, i.e. "What is the density of potassium carbonate?" rather than "What is the density of K2CO3?" However, if the name is too long, then use your judgment to write something shorter. For example, "Reduction of a ketone with NaBH4 in the presence of an alkene" is probably better than "Selective reduction of the carbonyl group in (4-methoxyphenyl)(2-methylenecyclopentyl)methanone with sodium borohydride".
    • Please avoid using title case titles unless absolutely necessary. Read more here.
  2. Body

    • Fix grammar and/or spelling.
    • Remove any unnecessary information.
    • Typeset chemicals with \ce{...}, units with \pu{...}, mathematics with MathJax, etc. However, don't go crazy on this: excessive MathJax slows down loading times. If the only chemicals in the post are NaCl, Na, and Cl, then there's no real need to. See this post and the answers therein for more information.
  3. Tags

    • Remove any irrelevant tags. Especially remove any tags you know of that are slated for removal from the site based upon a community decision in Meta.
    • Add relevant tags to the question. If you are not sure about what a tag means, or if you are not sure what tags are suitable for a question, feel free to ask somebody else in chat, everybody is willing to help.

    • Flag any old unneeded comments as obsolete, e.g. comments that have been added into the question; thank-you or welcome comments. If an entire thread of comments is unneeded, simply flag the top comment for moderator attention and explain that the thread is no longer needed.

Additional information on the community's consensus/philosophy regarding edits can be found at the following posts:

Please note that editing old posts also bumps them to the front page. Thus, while we welcome all edits - trivial or substantial - that improve the quality or content of the post, kindly keep in mind that editing several old questions in a short span of time and bumping them to the home page is likely to distract users and is generally frowned upon. This implies that users, especially +2k rep, should try not to edit too many posts in quick succession, unless there is a official event like Spring Cleaning going on.

  • $\begingroup$ The majority of this answer was relocated from orthocresol's original post in the Spring Cleaning FAQ, since heavily revised. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 4:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's much better using the []() notation for community wiki post links as they stay with the instances they are used and don't 'travel' to the bottom of the source. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ I have been going through several old meta posts lately, and I find a lot of them could use some neat presentation and be fed to newcomers. It's a shame that this excellent meta post which gives a broad overview of editing for new users has only 67 views. Thoughts? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 5:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .