I was skimming through new questions, such as this one. I suggested an edit I couldn't make myself. The OP made the change, but added it in as "EDIT: Thing X means blah". Is there ever really any point in adding an "EDIT" to the question? My arguments for not doing this are:

  1. This functionality is already built-in to the system. When you click the "edited Y mins ago", you will see exactly what was changed and by who.
  2. It's confusing for people who come to the question and look at it for the first time.
  3. It's everyday business. Edits happen (and/or should happen?) all the time.

Right now, I'm trying to understand if there's a counter argument I may have missed. If not, I'd like to encourage other users to remove things marked with "EDIT", and incorporate the information nicely into the question.

Or maybe this has already been discussed somewhere? I think this could be seen as a similar thing such as removing unnecessary thanks, or adding an initial at the end of the post, and so on.

EDIT: Corrected "an" to "and" in the first bullet point.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the self-reference. $\endgroup$
    – frafl
    Commented May 24, 2013 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


I agree with you, there should almost never be any indication of edits. Posts on Stack Exchange are meant for the long term. Only a tiny fraction of readers will have seen the pre-edit version of the post, so the post should not be optimized for them. The post should read naturally. When you write a book, you don't write “EDIT: added a comma” — so don't do it on Stack Exchange either.

For the few readers who may be interested in the edit history, a prominent link appears under the post.

The one exception I can think of is if a question receives some answers then is edited in a manner that affects these answers. In this case, it is sometimes useful to warn readers that some answers may be partially inconsistent with the question. Do note that these are rare cases, edits to a question should not invalidate answers. In such cases, don't add a note to state the new meaning (“EDIT: I meant ‘recursively enumerable’ above where it says ‘recursive’”), edit the question properly and add a note at the end to warn readers (“Note that an initial version of the question stated ‘recursive’ instead of ‘recursively enumerable’, but this is an uninteresting special case.”).

Shog9 found these posts on the main meta: When is "EDIT"/"UPDATE" appropriate in a post? Edit before or after original post?

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    $\begingroup$ Let me add that such notices also make sense for some wrong answers. Occasionally, an answer is wrong for non-trivial reasons explained in the comments. Then, the note makes sense to warn people early, and it makes sense to leave the post up in order to prevent people from falling into the same trap. (Or the mistake itself may be illustrative.) $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 22:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael Agreed, that's another rare case (most of the time you should just delete your answer if you realize it's wrong, but occasionally it's useful to keep a subtly wrong answer around together with the explanation of why it's wrong). $\endgroup$ Commented May 24, 2013 at 12:44

I usually use "Edit:" to indicate when something has changed that requires acknowledgement. For instance, someone may have commented or said something in an answer that made me realise I should improve my answer, or a comment has been useful and I changed the question to address it.

Even so, I use this to flag the change and acknowledge what prompted it, but also make the change in the body itself. I agree that just tacking on a bunch of new stuff, and especially when this is done multiple times, is tacky.


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