I rejected an edit because though I agreed that the question or title could be more clear, and might even work better in a search engine if it were improved, the editor was trying to change British/Canadian spelling to US spelling as well as other edits for grammar and phrasing. It did not improve anything and is, imo, rude. This is a world-wide site that uses English.

I understand that a misspelling in a title/question often makes searching impossible and that editing there is important and necessary.

I think that correcting spelling and grammar in the body of the question for a person whose first language is not English is not usually necessary. If we do not understand, we could ask the OP to explain it, or correct it and help them do that. Sometimes the language choices explain to (us) the reader that the OP is young or is from a different culture. This is the crux of the matter for me. Also, this is not an English usage or learning stack.

I am not talking about bad/poor questions or answers. That is a completely different subject.

I have noticed that many people here are careful not to judge others on sexual preference or culture -- and I really like that about this site. This speaks to having that same sensitivity in edits.

Here is an example of when editing did not work. The views on the question show there is interest in the original question, even though it was awkwardly worded.link

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    You said "the question or title could be more clear". Did the edit fix that problem and also change the usage, or did it only change the usage? If the former, I believe you can modify the edit.
    – Warren Dew
    Jan 11, 2017 at 5:38

2 Answers 2


My opinion as a moderator: people should not use edits as a means to be rude. I once rolled back an edit where the only "improvement" was changing 'lay' to 'lie'. (Also, I agree that changing BrE to AmE is kind of rude, and would reject those changes.)

I also feel edits should be substantial enough to improve the question.

My opinion as a user: though this is not an English & Grammar site, it is a site using only English to communicate. I don't think it's rude to improve the comprehensibility of a post if that means correcting grammar and spelling.

If I were to post on a Spanish-using website, my post would be pretty poor. I would be grateful to anyone who took the time to correct it/"clean it up", but that's me. I wouldn't think badly of the person at all. So I try to treat others as I would want to be treated, and that means I sometimes "clean up" a post. However I try to remember to invite the poster to roll back if they have any objections to my edit. And the user can always roll back any edit they feel is insulting in any way.

Knowing that a user is from another country does matter in some cases, and when it might, one can always ask in comments what county the user is posting from. I see that comment often.

Being sensitive to different mores in different countries is important to me; I think the best way to handle that is by being respectful in our answers and downvoting and/or commenting on (and flagging if offensive) answers that are not.

  • I would agree that if I knew I understood but the question needed help to be clear, I'd edit. Thanks.
    – WRX
    Jan 9, 2017 at 19:15
  • ^This. The only part I disagree with is it being "kind of" rude to change BrE to AmE. It's absolutely rude ;)
    – user420
    Jan 13, 2017 at 19:16
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    @Beofett - Yes, it is. I agree. I have a tendency to use "softening words", though, even when they don't really apply. (<- See what I did there? ;)) Jan 13, 2017 at 19:37
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    I would never (knowingly, intentionally) change BE to AE (or AE to BE), but as someone who suggests edits often, I maybe can shed light on a possible reason for such behaviour: The edit has to have a minimum of 6 characters. It's possible that someone wants to correct a few typos, but they're not enough to reach the limit and then makes such unnecessary changes. I would abandon my edit attempt in such a situation. The user could also leave a comment pointing out the mistake, if it's really problematic, e. g. because it becomes ambiguous. Apr 29, 2018 at 17:05

I think that significantly correcting spelling and grammar in the body of the question to improve readability and comprehensibility is to be encouraged.

Based on your description of the situation I think you should have accepted the edit (and then reverted the change between British/Canadian spelling and US spelling).

A major emphasis by the founders of stackexchange was to encourage the top answer to be the best it can be, and is to be maintained.

This is one of the key things that makes SE different and better than other sites.

"Our goal is to have the best answers to every question, so if you see questions or answers that can be improved, you can edit them." -source: SE tour

It specifically encourages folks to: "Use edits to fix mistakes, improve formatting, or clarify the meaning of a post."

If folks are offended when others do so, they should be made aware of the design of the site and after that, really shouldn't be.

  • So, I can approve an edit and then go and improve it? Or even both at the same time?
    – WRX
    Jan 13, 2017 at 12:42
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    If you chose to "improve" an edit instead of reject, it lets you make some modifications (e.g. preserve the British spelling, which isn't a valid change) whilst also accepting as legitimate the previous user's changes (the ones that weren't spelling related)
    – Acire
    Jan 13, 2017 at 13:20
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    "Based on your description of the situation I think you should have accepted the edit (and then reverted the change between British/Canadian spelling and US spelling)." That's also how I have dealt with such (and comparable) suggested edits on stacks where I have enough rep to review them. Apr 29, 2018 at 16:56

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