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Users with reputation 2,000 and over can edit other people's questions and answers. Additionally, a feature was recently added to allow people to propose edits that need to be approved.

How does that work? Also, is there anything I should or shouldn't do when I edit someone else's post?

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Indeed, anyone can propose edits to a question or answer. For those with insufficient privileges to edit outright, these proposed changes go into a queue that is visible to users with 10,000 reputation (or more) and moderators. These users can inspect the change and approve it, reject it, or delete the entire post. If approved, the person suggesting the edits gets 2 reputation points. You can earn up to 1,000 reputation points through suggesting edits; of course once you reach 2,000 points you can edit without prior approval. (Note, of course, that all edits are recorded and can be rolled back if necessary.)

When you edit someone else's question or answer, keep these things in mind:

Do

  • Fix typographical errors
  • Correct spelling mistakes
  • Fix broken links
  • Remove e-mail addresses
  • Improve formatting
  • Take out greetings ("Hi!") and sign-offs ("Thanks in advance -- Username")
    • although, if this is the only reason you are editing the post, it is probably better to leave it alone

However, and more importantly...

Do NOT

  • Change the meaning or content of someone's post
  • Add your own commentary
  • Delete content
  • Add information

In other words, your edits should change the readability of the post, not the content. Otherwise, leave a comment.

  • There were two suggested edits in the queue when I logged in this morning, and both were firmly in the "Do NOT" category. – ale Feb 24 '11 at 14:18
  • The "Add information" bit might be somewhat disputed when applied to new users, as they have restrictions on e.g. uploading an image, and they have to link to it instead (if at all). But otherwise very reasonable guidelines. – Martin Tapankov Feb 24 '11 at 14:58
  • Good point @Martin, although I did explicitly mention "fix broken links" under "Do". "Linkifying" a raw URL counts for that, in my opinion. – ale Feb 24 '11 at 15:00
  • I think simple typos and mistakes that don't obscure the meaning should be lumped in with greetings and thanks -- don't edit if that's the only reason. – Matthew Read Feb 24 '11 at 16:14
  • While true that you shouldn't change the meaning, if it's off-topic you're doing them a favor. If you don't edit it, it will remain off-topic :-) – Ivo Flipse Feb 24 '11 at 17:47
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    If it's off-topic, then it should be closed and/or deleted. There's no point in rescuing something not worth saving. – ale Feb 24 '11 at 17:55
  • Only closed if it can be resurrected as on-topic, also deleted if not. For an example of the former (closed, then edited and reopened): android.stackexchange.com/questions/6140/… – Matthew Read Feb 25 '11 at 19:15

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