This question just got asked with a specific mention of experience with substance editing, and a request to not be edited.

(Due to past experiences on this site, please do not edit my original posting with valid context)

However, I believe that much of the context is not as important as the asker believes and could be made less wordy. Should this question be edited despite the OP's request?

Normally I would just edit it down myself, but since the OP specifically asked against it, I would prefer some extra backing from the community or a mod. Thanks.

A prior question from this user (likely the one alluded to) with a resolved Content Dispute can be found here and involved the removal of contextual combat tactics by one of the other users. (see Revision 2). This context may have indeed been pertinent, but a lot of the more recent question feels more like a rant disguised as a question than anything else.


2 Answers 2


If the amount of detail is truly excessive beyond what's necessary for answering the question, you can take a machete to it: a question being 5x longer than necessary will kill peoples' patience to read and understand it, influencing both the likelihood of answers and well-informed votes.

However, also consider what's going on for the user: if it's mostly workable then go with it. They had a bad experience last time they came here because their question was basically messed around with by overenthusiastic editing. We don't want this to be a norm to them.

In this case the question's not excessively long (it's long but broken up, only a few paragraphs, etc). I'd be inclined to leave it be.


I'm aware that this goes against some SE guidelines, but this advice is based on excessive personal experience from a user who genuinely enjoys helping others by editing. (I've the Copy Editor gold badge and everything.)

Do yourself a favor and don't edit that content

If a user specifically requests that their content remain untouched, respect that and leave the content alone, no matter how much better an edit—big or small—would make that content.

For some users, their content is profoundly sacred, untouchable, and flawless, and an editor doesn't know this until after he's edited that content in good faith and been subsequently excoriated by such a user for doing so. In the case of a user who straight-up says that their content is off-limits, editing it anyway is a sure path to unhappiness, no matter how much any edits actually improve the content.

Be safe and let someone braver, thicker-skinned, or less invested take a crack at editing that content instead of you. Even if your edit's only to show the user how much better their content could be with the edits, the user will still see any edit as a violation of their content's purity, roll back that edit, complain about the edit, and usually take it personally that you edited it anyway. Often you'll have made an Internet enemy by trying to be helpful, and it's just not worth it.

Eventually, an SE user must get comfortable with the idea that their content will be edited, but that user isn't comfortable with that idea yet. Be patient and wait until that user is comfortable before touching their content.


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