7

If an answer is written in such a way that it is comprehensible, but could be written more clearly, what is the correct course of action for another user?

  • Edit the answer to make it more clear

  • Leave a comment on the answer to clarify, or to point out what could be clarified

  • Write your own answer which adds no new content, but is more clear

Are any of the above the correct course of action? Is any preferred over any other?

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4

Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you. (source)

A reason given for editing is:

To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)

So I can't answer which is the best action to take, but editing someone else's work to make it clearer is 100% Glatt Kosher. If you want a place to own your own words, you may start a blog. SE is about community managed and collaboratively edited content.

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2

I think it depends on what you're doing.

  • If you're leaving the original idea intact, and just clarifying the answer, then you should edit the old answer; although if it's too much work, then you can always leave a comment, urging the original poster to edit his/her own post.
  • If you're adding new ideas, then you should add a new answer.
  • If you're leaving the original idea intact, and you're adding sources, then I think that either approach is fine -- you could edit in the source, or post your own answer. (For example, I edited in a source here, even though I could have used the same information to post a new answer. I felt like being nice, but I don't think that was strictly necessary.)

It's all about maintaining author's intent, I think. And, like Double AA says, editing is important.

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