I proposed an edit to an answer, and it was rejected. The reason given was: "This edit was intended to address the author of the post and makes no sense as an edit. It should have been written as a comment or an answer."

I suggested the edit to the top-voted answer for a few reasons:

  1. The answer was already well-written and covered most of the likely scenarios. It didn't seem appropriate to add a different answer when 90% of the answer would have been the same content.

  2. A comment would not have been as visible, easily discoverable, or appropriately legible to most readers, especially given that my suggested edit had some code-formatted text.

  3. When I searched for the problem I was having, the referenced question was the first hit on Google. Putting the information that actually solved my issue (which was very close to the accepted answer, but needed one additional step) in the answer seemed like it would help the most people and require the least amount of effort for future users seeking help.

Is adding a separate answer (or a daisy chain of comments) really the best approach here?

  • 2
    I think it was a good edit, and I would've approved it. I believe that is the aim for all SE sites, to make the answer the best it can be. Then again, I'm still relatively new here too, and each site does have it's own culture as well. Of the other two options, I'd go with a new answer and rather than copy the other one reference it with a link, typing something like `[Huygens' excellent answer](http​://​unix.stackexchange.com/a/68081/207673) then move on to explain your results, and symptoms, and add in your fix to the code. That give more room, and better formatting, than comments.
    – Chindraba
    Apr 26, 2017 at 6:26
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    I, too, would have approved it, as it's good additional information.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Apr 26, 2017 at 10:49
  • I would probably have rejected the edit. It's structured in a way that doesn't fit with the existing answer. Either a more refined edit (for example, just the first sentence) or posting your own answer where you can take the space you need to explain the caveats of this special case would be better. Apr 26, 2017 at 20:19
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    I am also leery of adding entirely new information to existing accepted or highly-voted answers that then can't be vetted through the voting system as part of the edit queue - as an edit reviewer I'm not positioned to judge if it's right or not. Apr 26, 2017 at 20:21
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    @MichaelHomer well, how do you believe authors should be able to edit their own posts?
    – Braiam
    Apr 26, 2017 at 23:12
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    @MichaelHomer If you can't judge if it's right or not, the correct button is Skip, not Reject. Reject is for when you can judge if it's right or not, and you judge that it's not right. Apr 26, 2017 at 23:28
  • Then the correct button is always skip for those sorts of change. You can't judge what the existing voters think of it and the edit queue is not the place for doing so. Apr 26, 2017 at 23:40
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    @MichaelHomer The existing votes have nothing to do with this. As a reviewer, your job is to review correctness, scale and style. Apr 26, 2017 at 23:49
  • @Gilles And that is precisely why I am uncomfortable with that system. Apr 26, 2017 at 23:52
  • "Scale", though, is a pretty good summary of the major problem with most of those sorts of edits (this one is borderline, but this recent case really was too large-scale - just post an answer!). Apr 26, 2017 at 23:53
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  • @Gilles, I'm not rejecting the concept of editing (and you well know it). I just don't think this was a terribly good edit. Apr 27, 2017 at 0:09
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    The bullet-pointed list in the article you link sets out a very good set of suitable edits, for example, with the appropriate caveats in place: "minor", "without changing that meaning", "spelling mistakes", etc. Apr 27, 2017 at 0:12
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    FWIW, IMHO, the "This edit was intended to address the author of the post and makes no sense as an edit." rejection reason is being grossly over-used. May 7, 2017 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


Thank you for improving Unix Stack Exchange! Your edit suggestion was indeed best as an edit to the existing answer. It's a minor increment to the existing answer, so it's best added to that answer rather than posting another answer that would have to repeat most of the material in the existing answer.

A comment would not have been right: comments are for unresolved issues. If you want to request some clarification about an answer, a comment is the right tool. If you want to suggest an improvement but you aren't sure whether it's correct then a comment is the right tool. But if you have a minor improvement that you're sure of then the issue is resolved and a comment is not appropriate.

Your wording could have been improved a bit:

  • “If the uid and gid do not match on the client and server” — no need to mention this again, it's the whole point of the thread.
  • On the other hand, you don't actually explain why forceuid and forcegid may be necessary.
  • “More information is available via man mount.cifs” — best to just add a link to an online copy of the man page
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    As the answer author I also agree with you. The edit is complementary.
    – Huygens
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:00
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    Nitpick: "best to just add a link to an online copy of the man page" not sure about that. The online man page will not necessarily reflect the version and implementation the OP happens to have on their machine. It is often better to give man command since then the OP will always find the correct manual. Teaching a man to fish and all that.
    – terdon Mod
    Apr 29, 2017 at 15:32
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    @terdon Not every reader will be in front of the appropriate system. I generally prefer to link to the relevant documentation, with a warning if there are important differences between versions or between platforms, which there aren't in this case. Apr 29, 2017 at 15:55

I am a little late to this party, but as one of the reviewers who rejected the edit, I will leave my two-cents. I will start by quoting from the (Help Center):

When should I edit posts?

Any time you see a post that needs improvement and are inclined to suggest an edit, you are welcome to do so. The original author of a question or answer may always edit their own post, regardless of reputation level.

Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it. Common reasons for edits include:

  • To fix grammar and spelling mistakes
  • To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)
  • To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the information relevant to the post is contained in one place
  • To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages
  • To add related resources or hyperlinks

So your edit, and the reviewers judgement of applicability of same, I think falls under To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning). So that is where I end up weighing this edit recommendation.

To my mind, this is a substantial contribution, and deserving of its own answer. And as such I thought it changed the meaning of the edited post.

The reject reason:

This edit was intended to address the author of the post and makes no sense as an edit. It should have been written as a comment or an answer.

is not ideal, but I think captures the intent.

So I would suggest this content would be best presented as its own answer, with a reference to the context of the answer you were originally editing. It is not uncommon to say something like:

To expand on Huygens answer:

If the uid and gid do not match on the client and server, you can force the uid and gid specified in the mount/fstab by adding forceuid and forcegid. More information is available via man mount.cifs. See below for a usage example:

sudo mount -t cifs -o username=${USER},password=${PASSWORD},uid=<user>,gid=<group>,forceuid,forcegid //server-address/folder /mount/path/on/ubuntu

Please allow me to apologize profusely if this edit rejection in some way discourages you from posting high quality content like this in the future. Cheers.

  • 2
    I think you managed to quote the help center and gloss over the most important point: Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it. Instead, you seemed to focus on an odd interpretation of a list of common (note it doesn't say exhaustive) reasons people edit posts. Your rejection reason is largely nonsensical: I was not addressing the author of the post and of course the change does make sense as an edit. The information I added makes less sense on it's own; adding it as a separate answer merely fragments useful information and frustrates readers.
    – jstricker
    May 4, 2017 at 21:00

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