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There are two prevailing approaches to editing an existing question or answer:

  1. Marking the edit with a keyword such as "edit" or "update", or setting it off using bold or italics.
  2. Blending it into the existing text seamlessly.

Since we have many frequent repeat visitors, yet the majority of a questions views accrue slowly over time, I suspect that many new people come to this site all the time and check out plenty of old questions, perhaps more so than the typical stack. For the dual benefit of the site and the broader Internet, what is your opinion regarding what our approach should be?

I posted answers below for each possibility. Please up vote your preference or add your own.

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I think it depends on the context.

Normally, I use seamless editing for minor changes (spelling, grammar etc.). However, when updating with new information and/or changing the sense of the question in a way that could make current answers obsolete/not complete, I try to maintain some addendum marker (mostly "edit" or "update") to make it clear that there were some major changes to the content. The only time I would seamlessly edit a big part of a question is when a complete rewrite/clarification is needed.

That pertains to editing my own questions/answers. When editing someone else's posts, I think seamless edits are the only way to go. And most of the time it's fixing some minor stuff either way.

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It is important for all visitors, current and future, to understand the evolution of a question or answer without having to check the revision history. Leave such markings or offsets as they are. The OP knows what's best.

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Edits should be incorporated seamlessly. Those interested in the evolution of a post can check out the revision history. All posts which have been edited subsequent to original posting are clearly marked as such. Editing of existing posts to incorporate updates seamlessly is to be encouraged.

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I don't have a clear opinion on which option is best, but I find a little disturbing the fact that you edit every single post on the site. Even if you do that for the best reasons, most of the times those are really minor edits but as a consequence, the identity of the person that has been posting his question is replaced by yours (I mean in the question thread) giving a weird impression.

If those edits could be done in little more discrete way I think this would be for the best, otherwise I think you should refrain a little your enthousiastic editing impetuosity.

Best regards

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  • $\begingroup$ I worry about that as well. I've tried asking for opinions on this matter on MSO and on the chat for this site. I'll hold off for a while. $\endgroup$ – Tal Fishman Oct 25 '11 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's a separate case. IMO the best of both worlds would be to show both the OP and editor on the main page/questions list (as is now for individual question pages), but that's more appropriate for a MSO discussion. However, this problem shouldn't impact current editing behaviors. $\endgroup$ – Karol J. Piczak Oct 26 '11 at 16:45

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