on this answer https://unix.stackexchange.com/posts/283528/revisions I added example code to actually accomplish what was in the answer. It said use tool XYZ and I showed how to use it specifically as an answer to the question (as in, XYZ parameters...).

My edit was later reverted back to the original answer.

Two questions here:

  1. when is it okay to add examples/code to an existing answer? I didn't want to duplicate an answer just with some more examples.
  2. was it okay to revert the answer back to the original that did not include examples and, at least in my opinion, is slightly less useful to answer-seekers?
  • 10
    I'd personally welcome an edit like that on one of my answers. And BTW, one of our mods has restored your edit.
    – derobert
    Apr 10, 2017 at 17:51
  • 2
    @derobert and it's been reverted again. Maybe a community answer will help, by leaving the original author's post untouched but providing a space for the examples to live. Apr 16, 2017 at 13:50
  • 7
    Just so you know: your edit was great. Precisely the sort of edit that we want and encourage. The OP doesn't understand how the site works, but please keep doing this sort of work, it is very appreciated!
    – terdon Mod
    Apr 20, 2017 at 10:22
  • @roaima Why not let the OP create an answer? That would give him the rep he deserves. Apr 24, 2017 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


I agree with improving existing answers; so does the help center:

When should I edit posts?

Any time you feel you can make the post better, and are inclined to do so. Editing is encouraged!

Some common reasons to edit are:

  • to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes
  • to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it
  • to correct minor mistakes or add addendums / updates as the post ages
  • to add related resources or hyperlinks

I can't speak to the decision on the roll-back, but that appears to have been updated recently.

  • 1
    Maybe a better editing link: unix.stackexchange.com/help/editing
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Apr 10, 2017 at 17:54
  • 1
    I'd really love to help improve this answer, but I can't think of any code to add that could make it any better. :-p :-D Apr 11, 2017 at 6:43
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    @tudor: if (spelling_errors.count() > 0) spelling_errors.fix();?    :-)    ⁠ Apr 11, 2017 at 18:27
  • @G-Man well, that's a 'shocker'. :) Apr 13, 2017 at 14:16
  • I tend to agree with this, except that I like to respect the author's wishes (which ultimately did not happen in this case); at the point the author disagrees, well, I can add a new question referencing their answer.
    – jpaugh
    Apr 13, 2017 at 16:53
  • @jpaugh I created a community answer on the question. Apr 18, 2017 at 22:56
  • @jpaugh if the author objects to an edit which clearly improves their answer, then the author's wishes begin to be irrelevant. This edit was a clear improvement and didn't in any way deviate from the original, it only added to it.
    – terdon Mod
    Apr 19, 2017 at 10:31
  • @terdon but when one gets into an "edit - reversion" fight it's a pointless situation. Easier to side-step it, surely. Apr 19, 2017 at 20:26
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    @roaima oh yes, absolutely. Never get into edit wars! Posting a CW answer is the best thing a user could do. I just wanted to clarify that the edit was good and if the edit was good and the OP dislikes it we'd generally keep the edit regardless.
    – terdon Mod
    Apr 19, 2017 at 21:02
  • @terdon "...if the author objects to an edit which clearly improves their answer, then the author's wishes begin to be irrelevant..." Spoken like a true tyrant. You are not fit to be a moderator.
    – Yokai
    Apr 20, 2017 at 10:07
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    @Yokai I suggest you take some time to visit the site help center or the main meta and peruse similar discussions. If you object to edits that improve your post, you are not going to be happy here. Posting an answer on SE means you give everyone the right to modify it. If that bothers you, this is really not the site for you.
    – terdon Mod
    Apr 20, 2017 at 10:09
  • 2
    Perhaps unix.stackexchange.com/help/editing is useful.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Apr 20, 2017 at 10:14
  • @terdon Might I deny your suggestion and recommend you keep suggestions that aren't useful to yourself. You aren't helping anything. Just leave it alone moderator.
    – Yokai
    Apr 21, 2017 at 7:05

Let me try to be as very clear as I can as to why I reverted back to my original.

Reason 1: "People found it to be useful regardless of your edits."

Reason 2: "I found xdotool on my own, my suggesting it was enough."

Reason 3: "I provided a few basic features of the tool I suggested. Enough to get one researching if interest peaked."

Reason 4: "The tool's --help argument and man page is HIGHLY readable and easy to understand. No code was necessary."

Reason 5: "I don't need anymore reasons."

In all practicality, since this IS a communistic site where the majority vetos the minority, you moderators, terdon, and others can simply delete my answer, manufacture your own, and post it. It was a 4-year-old question for god's sake! Make a big deal from something petty all you wish fellas, it doesn't make this kind of forum better. Matter of fact, you all have made it worse from childish tantrums rather than allowing information to be learned by others. A nice lesson that the tech world needs to learn is: SPOONFEEDING DOESN'T TEACH.

Take another lesson from Richard Stallman:

Control over the use of one's ideas really constitutes control over other people's lives; and it is usually used to make their lives more difficult. ~R. Stallman

Call me an extremist or whatever, but my madness has a method and the method has pretense. And it doesn't matter if anyone agrees with it or not.Don't wine and cry to the moderators because you didn't get your way. That is called being spoiled and immature. Want to improve the information provided? Make your own answer posts...

  • 8
    Yokai, you have now confused me. You are arguing that your post is your idea and the community should leave it as you want it. In support of that you provide a quote from R. Stallman. If I understand that quote, and the rest of what he said about it, that single quote, as applied to your logic, make you the tyrant, not @terdon amd the community. Incidentally, when you posted that, you licensed it to the community, and they can do anything they want with it. Even make it worse if they want to. You stated the stone rolling down the hill, but that boulder is no longer in your control.
    – Chindraba
    Apr 21, 2017 at 5:40
  • @GypsySpellweaverI am not understanding how I am making myself the tyrant here when I pretty clearly pointed out that the reasoning for my reverting edits is because I hate spoonfeeding. I provided enough information, as well as features of the tool, for the OP to get his/her task completed. Then others sought to undermine my intent and method fo helping rather than making their own answer post referencing the tool I mentioned. I am not the bad guy here. The moderators and spoiled asshats, wanting spoonfeeding, are.
    – Yokai
    Apr 21, 2017 at 7:01
  • And for the record, providing the tool I mentioned to the OP WAS my idea. No one else suggested it.
    – Yokai
    Apr 21, 2017 at 7:02
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    Once you submit answer, it is no longer yours. Community is free to improve it in any reasonable way it want instead of endlessly duplicating information in new answer just to stroke your overblown ego. Apr 21, 2017 at 9:28
  • 9
    Let me cite unix.stackexchange.com/help/editing for you: Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you. Apr 21, 2017 at 9:31
  • 3
    Wow! The OP donated you a code sample, letting you benefit from all the potential rep the improvement could bring, and instead of being grateful you just sent him away, summoning an angry mob of downvoters instead? This takes style! Apr 24, 2017 at 14:12
  • 1
    @DmitryGrigoryev Careful. Although Yokai has a viewpoint that many disagree with, this is a valid answer and this is on-topic for meta. Whilst you are agreeing with the viewpoint of many other users and the site founders, sarcasm is often perceived as very aggressive.
    – wizzwizz4
    Apr 24, 2017 at 17:02
  • 1
    @wizzwizz4 I know it's a valid answer, I didn't flag it as NAA or anything. I really don't understand why the OP did that, that's why I asked. And how exactly is "This takes style" very aggressive, while this may not be the site for you and stroke your overblown ego are not? Apr 24, 2017 at 17:16
  • @DmitryGrigoryev I'm deliberately not passing judgement on the user because what can be said has been said. I'm sorry for the confusion; I probably meant "passive-aggressive", not "aggressive". You might want to look at the user's profile.
    – wizzwizz4
    Apr 24, 2017 at 18:28

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