Matthew made several useful edits to the question Difference between equal temperament and just intonation but one of them's bothering me. Matthew removed the sentences

I also want to know which one is better. Thanks for the help

Asking which is better is clearly wrong for our site (like many Stack Exchange sites we advise that questioners avoid questions that are primarily opinion-based, or that are likely to generate discussion rather than answers) but surely that should be pointed out to the questioner in a comment rather than an edit? I also think that in this case the request is an add-on to a good question and the answers are not blown off course. In fact the answers explicitly address the point. For example Wheat starts his answer by saying "one is not better than the other"; but Wheat's statement seems odd with the sentence removed from the question.

Similarly we state in our introductory tour that "There's no chit-chat" but "Thanks for the help" is not chit-chat. Isn't removing that just changing the original poster's voice? Surely that's not good?

So is this over zealous editing, or have I misunderstood best editing practises for our site?

3 Answers 3


Removing the 'which one is best' helps the question, as it removes the opinion based part.

Removing the 'thanks' piece gets rid of unnecessary chit-chat, which again helps the question.

This does clean up the question nicely, doesn't change the meaning, and leaves us with better content.

  • Thanks - that's worth knowing and different from how I was interpreting the editors job. I saw it as just using edits to "fix mistakes, improve formatting, or clarify the meaning of a post" (quoted from our tour). Removing opinion solicitation and thanks does not seem to be any of those three.
    – dumbledad
    Apr 10, 2015 at 15:27

For the thanks part, see this post on meta.SE:

where generally, they say that these kind of stuff are usually removed from the posts.

  • Thanks - I've been trying (and failing) to find one place with a more detailed explanation of good practise editing posts on Stack Exchange sites.
    – dumbledad
    Apr 10, 2015 at 15:28
  • 1
    "...where generally, they say that these kind of stuff are usually removed from the posts." To a great deal of (quite understandable) controversy, I'd say after reading it.
    – user16935
    Apr 10, 2015 at 23:46
  • 1
    @Patrx2: To me it seems that there's a clear majority that thinks it's a good idea. Apr 12, 2015 at 18:04
  • @MeaningfulUsername, it struck me that there was a clear, but bare, majority that thought quite the contrary. There were several answers in support of the policy by one person.
    – user16935
    Apr 12, 2015 at 18:32
  • @Patrx2: There's a lot of votes for the answers agreeing with this policy. Apr 12, 2015 at 21:42
  • @MeaningfulUsername, there were a lot of votes for answers that didn't agree with the policy as well. I'm very Canadian: I like manners in social discourse, and questions, being requests for information, are by definition just that. This is where SE differs from, say, Wikipedia. I think the big difference is that people like me don't down-vote often at all, and up-vote only when we really, really approve. I can't see the up/down split on those answers because my rep here doesn't carry over, but I'm curious.
    – user16935
    Apr 13, 2015 at 0:12

One of the answers contained this:

I can explain the difference, but "better" is a subjective term that involves making tradeoffs between the pros and cons of each, depending on what you want to be able do (why, yes, I am an engineer).

Personally I thought that was sufficient. I don't like repeatedly hitting a new user over the head with comments about how their question is failing to be perfect, I find it to be discouraging.

That said, you're correct that it should be placed as a comment. I've edited that out of the answer and left a comment.

Regarding whether I should have edited out the "best" part: My other option was closing the question and telling the poster to do it themselves, which I think is incredibly unhelpful and at best a waste of time.

The meat of the question was quite good and solicited the kind of answers that would let him decide for himself what was "better", which is what we want to do here — "teach a man to fish" and all that. So I don't view this as changing the meaning of the question.

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