I have noticed that some editors don’t consider correcting some specific errors in questions. In my opinion, such errors should be corrected so that the asker of the question becomes aware of the mistakes he/she has made. When should the following points be edited in a question?

  1. Lack of articles.
  2. Poor construction of a question (“Are the usage of sentences here correct?”)
  3. Adding unnecessary comments in a question (“I want to learn English, so please explain the answer to me. Thank you in advance”).
  4. Lack or overuse of punctuation.
  5. Minor grammatical errors (“my friend is gonna to”).

Should we still edit a question if it only has one or two above mentioned problem(s)?

  • 4
    There are a number of discussions on this topic here on Meta - just a few: ell.meta.stackexchange.com/q/2769/9161 ell.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2465/… ell.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4865/9161 ell.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4669/9161 The summary is that some people feel it obfuscates the author's level of fluency, which can affect how someone might write an answer.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 21:47
  • It would be nice to be able to do that, and clear it up for readers, but the edit format makes it difficult to explain why you’ve changed what you’ve changed. Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 22:01
  • @Colleenv I have edited the question, I hope my concern is clear now. Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 22:37
  • Did you review the related discussions? Why do you think editing out the mistakes would help the author more than explaining the mistakes in an answer?
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 14:10
  • Yeah,+1, sometimes (or quite often) when my question is edited, I don't know what was the problem of my question was. The worst cast is the editor does not even correct my typo/misspelling but editing other lines(whose intention is unknown to me). But since I am not a native speaker, I am taking a stance "As you please" unless the whole question is completely rewritten. (which does not occur). This editing could be to some users very frustrating I guess.
    – user17814
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 15:01
  • @Princesadh Everything you Posted seems wholly reasonable… Which parts do you think are not covered in the SE guidelines? Since you raised lack or overuse of punctuation and minor grammatical errors, how is "Princesadh" not a fine example? Should that not be at least "PrinceSadh" if not, "Prince Sadh"? Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


Most of the time when I edit a question it's to put a quotation into block quotes, or to clear up some other problem with presentation.

Sometimes, I will edit to correct an obvious typo or glaring issue with grammar.

However, I never edit for style, to rewrite, or to fix systemic grammar issues. I don't believe that more than minor content corrections should be made. To do more than that is to take away the voice of the author without their express permission.

Some editors are employed to make stylistic changes. But when they are, either the authors have spelled out general guidelines for what changes they want to see, or the editors are working under the guidance of a publishing house and its particular house style-guide.

For context, I should add that I am a professional editor. A common mistake of editors, especially those who do not have years of experience, is to assume that everything should be "fixed" according to a particular style (most often their own). In reality, there are many different approaches and styles.

As time goes by, I learn more about how things can be written. But I also become more accepting of the number of widely differing opinions about how things should be written. In editing, everything being equal, it's the authors who are the owners of content in the final analysis. Editors should be helping them, not writing for them.

For the most part, editors should only correct glaring issues—unless they have been specifically requested by an author to do more than that. But what's glaring can differ based on different scopes of work.

A key part of editing, which isn't possible on this site, is the use of comments side-by-side with the running text. Even if you don't change any text, you can still comment on it. ("I suggest this phrasing," or "Are you sure you didn't mean to say this instead?")

When I see a post that doesn't appear correct to me, I seldom actually edit it. Instead, I leave a comment under the post asking if it's what the author had meant to say.


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