I had an edit to a post that removed an "EDIT:" flag from one of my posts. I see this as counterproductive and obfuscatory.

Stack Exchange has a tools and cues throughout the interface that allows anyone to see the detailed time sequence of edits. This is for a reason and has been well though out.

However, if there is a particular addition that would not otherwise be understood as an addition in the timeline but a user has a reason that they would like to acknowledge the change and make note of it to other users, they will sometimes add am editorial mark of a few characters like note or edit to all this out.

This is the discretion of the post writer.

I don't understand the benefit to the site of just going in and removing these from other users posts. This seems to be a "I wish people wouldn't write differently than the way I want them to" more than a genuine beneficial edit.

In this case (compare edits 3 to 4) the third-party edit was substantial. Some people like to leave the strikethrough's in place to demonstrate the evolution of thinking, and again that's at the discretion of the author.

Why do these need to be removed? Why do the intentions of the author need to be overruled?


There are times when the 'Edit' callout is useful.

Despite Stackexchange not being a forum, on occasion an answer generates a lot of comments1. Then the writer of the answer improves his answer. In this case, it's no more than polite to indicate where the changes are to the people who left comments. I don't want to reread 10 paragraphs to find one changed sentence (or worse, go though the edit history).

I do agree that an answer should be able to stand alone without knowing the history. But they usually are, even with the Edit callout in place. (Example)

1: And this is a good thing. The comments are a way for people to contribute to an answer without meddling with the original author's intent. This is not a discussion or conversation, it's collaboration.


The reason (as discussed in both those posts Andrew linked to) is that having EDIT: makes it harder for future readers. Any question should be able to stand alone, with any comments wrapped in to the post and deleted. That edit or update timeline is really only useful for folks reading and answering as a question is updated, which should be a small percentage of the visitors who are expected to read a question overall.

I agree with you that here we try to leave each others writing style alone, but the main aim of the site is to provide questions and answers useful to future visitors so that's why we remove these sorts of things unless there is a good reason not to.


Stack Exchange is not for stream of consciousness information dumps or back-and-forth conversation; forums are more appropriate for that. Stack Exchange is for questions and answers, and both should appear in their best form as if they had always been that best form. Doing otherwise is detrimental to the experience for future users. Questions and answers are for more than just the individuals posting them, questions and answers are for future users reading them.

There is some wiggle room on the "stream of consciousness" angle for answers that need to walk through the steps used to reach a conclusion, but there is no need to call out changes: the edit history is tracked by the system. Even then, any needed walk through should be part of the answer's final form, not sliced up as separate thoughts.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for stopping by! "stream of consciousness" isn't even the right term since it is linear, whereas adding an occasional edit: in the middle of the post is absolutely nonlinear. It sounds catchy but distracts from the topic. I think your answer would be good posted at one of the links here but it doesn't directly answer my question: Why are “edit callouts” being removed from other people's posts? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 27 '18 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh It answers the question just fine, if you don't ignore half the text and boresight on one particular turn of phrase. In any case, I've tweaked it a bit. Tell me this... In the question that prompted this, how does your edit call-out improve the content or readability of the answer? $\endgroup$ – T.J.L. Dec 27 '18 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ The first sentence of the first paragraph of a post self-boresights ;-) "stream of consciousness information dumps or back-and-forth conversation" is drama. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 27 '18 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh You're still doing it. That's a phrase within a whole sentence, and there's no drama involved. Again... In the question that prompted this, how does your edit call-out improve the content or readability of the answer? $\endgroup$ – T.J.L. Dec 27 '18 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ I'm just thinking that you might have answered something like "I make edits like this because I feel it improves the experience for future users, and I only do so when it doesn't interfere with the content or logical flow. If I find that it conflicts with the author's intent, I edit elsewhere." That would be a great answer for example! This just sounds a tad dogmatic and preachy. This is a relatively sleepy site and it's okay to let defenses down a bit and just converse. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 27 '18 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ It isn't a question of "let[ting] defenses down". Stack Exchange is for questions and answers, it's right there in the tour: "This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.". There's a chat function for "just convers[ing]", but it is kept separate because the focus of the site is Q&A, not conversation. $\endgroup$ – T.J.L. Dec 27 '18 at 14:09

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