Consider this answer, which appeared on my low-quality queue. A user (ibid) commented a very good link backing up this answer. I then started to edit, but realised afterwards that I had completely changed the answer.

The old post:

I haven't done any research on what house she is in but my friend told me she is in Hufflepuff.

My edit (That I have not yet posted):

In an old BBC interview from 2000, JK admits she took a fan-made quiz online and got the result of Hufflepuff.

Is that a danger with the internet?

The Internet! Twice I've been on the internet. Friends of mine were telling me what's on there and I'd never gone looking before. First time, I thought I was never coming back, it's too scary. Some of the stuff that's out there is very weird. Second time I went in there someone had set up an unofficial fan site where you can be sorted, they have a Sorting Hat, and I was Hufflepuff. I wasn't that pleased! If anyone's meant to be Gryffindor, it's me.

I realised that in editing the answer to incorporate the link, I have effectively deleted the user's original answer and replaced it with my own. Is that the right course of action? Should I edit a low-quality post to the point where it no longer resembles the old post, or should I simply recommend it be deleted?

How much editing is too much?

1 Answer 1


I think you should just make a new post and recommend that one be deleted.

My own rule of thumb is this: I don't put more effort into editing a post than the author put into their post in the first place.

The original post is one line, no research, saying "this is what my friend said". That effort is near enough to 0. It's worth 0 editing.

What you've done is perform research, find a BBC interview, extract a relevant quote from it... I'd only edit that into a post that's done at least that much effort all on their own.

One of the extra considerations for this is that reputation earns people privileges, with which they unlock the ability to modify our site. Reputation can only be earned by demonstrating you already understand the basics of how to use our site: through good questions, answers, and edits. This user has displayed no understanding of our site and is not yet ready to hold any of those privileges, and so they should not yet be receiving upvotes and reputation. Substantiating their post for them stands to give them reputation they need to not yet have.

  • 1
    I disagree. If it's a drive-by user, then the crap post will possibly rest there forever, because crap answer are apparently still answers. I see nothing criminal in improving an owner-less post, especially with the site's CC copyright policy. Jun 15, 2017 at 18:01
  • 1
    @Gallifreyan Unless 10k users vote to delete it, which they can and probably ought to. Jun 15, 2017 at 18:31
  • *20kers (character limit)
    – Mithical
    Jun 15, 2017 at 18:48
  • Oops, yes, 20kers. Jun 15, 2017 at 19:10
  • 1
    +1 for "they should not yet be receiving upvotes and reputation", you're absolutely right about that. Jun 16, 2017 at 8:34

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