If a question title is :

'Why do Hindus eat beef daily?'

There are 2 things here - an assumption that Hindus eat beef daily. and a question about its reason.

This could come from 2 types of people - the misinformed. and the malicious.

So, those users who know enough about Hindus, will answer - 'They don't eat beef at all, forget daily.'

However, for a stray user browsing this site, if they simply look at the question title, and move on to other questions or close the site, then they are left with a possible assumption that Hindus eat beef.

But, if we edit to question to 'Do Hindus eat beef daily? If so, why?' - then the passerby user is left with a possible doubt whether Hindus eat beef.

I think this is a significant enough difference to warrant an edit.

I see many 'opinionated' or 'misinformed' questions that start with 'WHY DOES', when the answer is 'IT DOESN'T'

For e.g. this one Why does Makar Sankranti follow English calendar? , I removed the 'Why', but it got rolled back with reason 'intent should not be changed'. Why should intent not be changed ? I understand that, for the OP, changing the intent might affect him. But this site is not 1-1 private advice. All questions and answers are public.

e.g.2. This question - How powerful is Pashupatastra? originally said 'Why is Pashupatastra overrated?', which is obviously opinionated question, and I didn't want to remove the 'Why' because that still leaves it opinionated, so I edited it to its current form.

If we are able to cast doubt upon a misinformation at the question level, and then squash the misinformation at the answer level, what's wrong with that ?

  • 1
    I hv not downvoted but it does not make any difference for me (the way the Q has been asked) bcoz we can always answer by refuting the claims. We do not hv to search for hidden agendas.
    – Rickross
    Nov 20, 2018 at 8:29
  • @Rickross, i didn't say only hidden agendas, i also mean misinformation
    – ram
    Nov 20, 2018 at 8:33
  • 1
    We are getting a chance to correct that in the answer isn't it? So why bother?
    – Rickross
    Nov 20, 2018 at 8:34
  • 2
    I don't think we can alter the way a Q has been asked simply bcoz "we are not ok with it" or "it has wrong info". Users hv that much freedom here to ask in whtever manner they feel like.
    – Rickross
    Nov 20, 2018 at 8:38
  • "We are getting a chance to correct that in the answer isn't it? So why bother?" - I just gave an example in my question, of a casual user seeing only the question but not the answer.
    – ram
    Nov 20, 2018 at 8:40
  • Why is Pashupatra overrated? is a very bad way of asking a Q to be frank and it will fetch downvootes as well as close votes. But I am not sure whether we can alter the way it has been originally asked unless we are salvaging the post for re-opening.
    – Rickross
    Nov 20, 2018 at 8:45

1 Answer 1


It is very simple. We should not change the meaning of the post when we edit the question or answer. We should answer what we are asked and not put our words in the mouth of the OP. OP has the right what to ask. We should not change it.

From editing help:

Some common reasons to edit are:

  • to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes
  • to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it
  • to correct minor mistakes or add addendums / updates as the post ages
  • to add related resources or hyperlinks

There is an edit reason in the suggested edit reviews to reject edits which change the intent of the question/answer. This applies for the users with editing privileges also.

We can edit questions and answers to remove subjectivity and opinionated part but without changing what the OP is asking. Removing opinionated part is not the same as changing intent. Editing the question and then waiting for OP's response is not the right way because some new users do not know the functioning of SE. They think that that is the right way and things go here. If such edits happen, other users take place, other users in the community or the moderators intervene.

Allowing edits which change the meaning completely has an advantage. If that is allowed, everyone may add/remove based on the answer they have. We should not edit to suit our answer. We are here to answer what we are asked and not what we know and change according to that. If someone posts a question like "I know that there is no specific mention of tattooing on our body in Hindu texts. But what are the general belief in Hindus regarding this?", we should not change the question to "Is there a mention of tattooing in Hindu texts" just because there is an assumption. It is fine to have some assumptions while posting a question. The main intent should be seen. We can answer to clear that confusion by showing some reference or answering about beliefs on Tattooing. The problem is when the answer itself is given along with the question and predetermined they are not ready to accept any input from our side. Such questions deserve closure and again not editing out the answer or opinion. Let them ask what they want. Based on the question, we will answer. Otherwise, it is put on hold. It can be reopened again.

Regarding your examples, it is very clear the question which was asked and what is changed. The OP version should be respected. This is not a 1-1 private site but the way questions are asked, OP's version is always given importance. If the OP is adding harmful edits, then the community will intervene and those edits will be removed. That is where your definition of public site applies.

I see many 'opinionated' or 'misinformed' questions that start with 'WHY DOES', when the answer is 'IT DOESN'T

Then the answer should be "IT DOESN'T". When there is a misinformed question, there should be answer correcting it. That is what we are for. See What to do with those type of questions whose answers are simple yes or no?

Second example asked "why" and not "how" is the Pashupatastra powerful. The OP gives some reasoning why they thinks so. It might be right or wrong, that is another case, but changing the question is not the correct way. If someone answers the question how powerful is that astra, it is not helping the OP in any way. Though we see community here, helpfulness to OP is also seen first. Hence, editing should be done only to clarify the meaning and not to changing the meaning what the OP want to ask.

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