15

I asked a question a few months ago that was answered very succinctly. I thought the answer fit perfectly; it had the exact amount of information that someone with the same problem would need to resolve it. The answer had more than 50 upvotes already, lending credence to its usefulness.

Not long ago, the answer was edited very significantly. Personally, I think the edit is not an improvement. While it might have some useful information in it, it's not particularly relevant to the question I asked.

Most of my experience with Stack Exchange communities has been with Stack Overflow, where complete answer rewriting like this is frowned upon. Is that the case here as well?

16

No, not cool. Such an extensive edit should have been its own answer, not an edit. The suggested edit should have been rejected.

  • 1
    And the edit was not an answer so at best, it should have been a comment. – fixer1234 Jan 20 '15 at 16:13
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    Would you consider rolling back the answer to the first revision? – jstricker Jan 20 '15 at 20:46
  • @jstricker one of the reasons we can decline an edit is if it goes against the author intentions, if that's the case, roll it back, I had to do it twice to an answer I wrote because one user kept trying to get the same edit through the queue – Ramhound Jan 21 '15 at 0:45
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    I am almost disgusted with those people who approved this edit, our process failed, this edit might be wonderfully but it's clearly a response edit which shouldn't have been approved by anyone. – Ramhound Jan 21 '15 at 0:50
  • I notice the answer to the question hasn't been rolled back to the original. Would a moderator mind doing that? – jstricker Jan 21 '15 at 16:37
  • Actually, it originally was its own answer, here: superuser.com/a/866980/38062 . When that got marked as a duplicate, M. Irish went to the original question and merged in his answer. – JdeBP Jan 21 '15 at 20:08
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    While I can understand why he thought it might be a good idea to move his answer over, I don't think the content of his answer matches his actual question (or mine). – jstricker Jan 21 '15 at 22:12
  • @jstricker - Now I am torn. I question if most of those votes are because of the revision. I suppose thats the reason it will be possible to reverse the vote. I will let a moderator do that, even though, everyone seems to agree. – Ramhound Jan 21 '15 at 23:50
  • The large majority of the up votes (on the question and the answer) happened on the 13th and 14th--well before he rewrote the answer. – jstricker Jan 22 '15 at 3:21
7

Oliver reached out to me to let me know about the discussion here. Really appreciate that, thanks!

OK, so it probably helps to tell the whole story so you see where I'm coming from. Apologize for the length…


I work on the Chrome team so I wanted to help communicate about this change. It's a big and contentious change. I myself don't like it and apparently a bunch of users don't like it either. When they don't like it, they go googling for information on how to fix it.

StackExchange sites are pretty much the perfect search result for people looking for answers; they're up-to-date, community maintained and are on the bleeding edge.

So I think it makes sense to have some knowledge shared on this platform that is more authoritative than some of the guesses, hacks, and this-is-what-i-figured out answers. I'm not admonishing those answers, and in fact, I leave them too. But it's awfully nice when you can get more context and a fuller answer.

Previously I've done this before by way of a self-answered question. It's a really effective means of communicating about an unwanted change: https://stackoverflow.com/q/18365315/89484

I wanted to do the same thing on this issue because people are confused, googling for help and trying to understand what's going on. This information is available in Chrome's user forums, but they're hardly discoverable for most people. So I added a self-answered question to superuser: What's the new user menu in Google Chrome?

It was closed as a duplicate, and I saw a variant of the question had already been asked before.

So why did I edit the existing accepted answer instead of adding a new one?

First up, multiple answers that are voted separately obviously imply they are competing answers. What I had to share didn't compete with the existing answer; it was including additional information and resources. This appears to be inline with the editing guidelines.

To be specific to this Chrome UI issue, people will be searching for a fix because of three reasons:

  1. they don't use profiles and don't need this
  2. it's slower than before and that sucks
  3. it's in an weird error state and communicating unclearly.

They sound pretty distinct concerns here as I spell them out but to users all three start with a search of how disable chrome profiles button. So it feels unfortunate to give all three audiences the same answer that addresses 1/3 of the issue.


In the end, I feel my edit preserves the value of the original one and only augments it. I actually clarified the original answer, by spelling out the common mistake of not hitting "Restart" at the bottom (believe me, everyone misses it).

Policy-wise: I wasn't able to file this as a separate issue, which kinda makes sense (depending on how you look at it). I also appear to have satisfied the guidelines that "Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it.".


Hope that helps explain what I was thinking.

  • 2
    If you really are a subject expert thats all the more reason you should have published your own full complete answer. Answers do not and should not compete with one another, a question, can have multiple correct answers. – Ramhound Jan 21 '15 at 23:47
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    I appreciate hearing your motivation, but I can't get over the fact that the original answer was already a complete one. While very interesting information and possibly useful to someone asking a different question, I don't think the original answer should be hijacked like that. – jstricker Jan 22 '15 at 3:12
  • I just wanted to mention that it's also fine to have valuable, additional information in a duplicate question. Given the feelings expressed in this discussion, I would appreciate a rollback of the edit and a separate answer. – Der Hochstapler Jan 22 '15 at 8:44
  • I've added a new answer. (Thanks for the downvote already :) Not sure how to officially rollback my edit to the other answer. Oliver is gonna help me out when he's back. – Paul Irish Jan 22 '15 at 22:41
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    I've reverted to the original answer: superuser.com/review/suggested-edits/333794 – Paul Irish Jan 23 '15 at 0:47
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    @PaulIrish - good to hear, I think the downvote was because it (now) looks like you're copying another answer verbatim :). Oh, what a twisted web we weave!. Once the edit is rolled back, I'm sure it'll all work out. – Robotnik Jan 23 '15 at 2:49
  • @Robotnik hah. sounds about right. :) – Paul Irish Jan 23 '15 at 6:02

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