I've seen related questions regarding tag editing, but not editing of an actual response.

Is there a way to edit a response to a question without bumping it back up to the top?

I find that I sometimes leave a few things unsaid, or find a typo, etc., in a previous post. I would like to update it in case anyone comes across the post later, but I often don't want it to be bumped all the way back to the top of the active list, especially if the thread is already "stale". (This is mostly so as not to "annoy" other users by bumping up a post that may be a week or two old.)

Is there a way to do this?

It would be handy for those of us that like to refine our answers over time when we think of something new, albeit minor, to add.


What if you inadvertently change the meaning of your post? E.g., you leave out a "not" in a statement or you add (or remove) an ambiguity. The thread could stand for a long time (and perhaps be viewed and referenced by many visitors) before anybody noticed the change. Because what you write is always in the context of a thread of replies, comments, and votes, people must have an opportunity to see that a change has occurred, no matter how seemingly minor, and be able to react appropriately. The current system seems to be a gentle compromise between the advisability of such a mechanism and the need to keep the volume of system messages down to a manageable level.

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    $\begingroup$ @whuber, (+1) that's a fair point. I guess I have noticed myself going back to previous posts, or having lingering thoughts on past posts. When I finally get around to making the changes/additions, some of them seem minor enough that it doesn't warrant "bumping". I also wouldn't want to give the impression of trying to bring an old post back up out of the dust. Similarly, sometimes some users will make edits to 10 or 20 questions in one fell swoop. These all get bumped to the top, no matter how little the change. Providing the option to not bump in those circumstances seems reasonable. No? $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 6 '11 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Cardinal Yes, if you trust everyone all the time to do the right thing ;-). There's no harm in getting bumped, anyway: if you don't like seeing a long list of minor recent changes, just set the page to view the newest questions rather than the active ones. (That's my default setting, but once in a while I view active questions just to see what else has been going on.) BTW, nice work on the coupon collector's problem! $\endgroup$ – whuber Mar 7 '11 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber, yes, I go back and forth between newest and active. But, I think the default stats.SE view is "active". Or, is this customizable by each user? $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 7 '11 at 0:07
  • $\begingroup$ @cardinal Just save a shortcut. E.g., stats.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=newest $\endgroup$ – whuber Mar 7 '11 at 0:11
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    $\begingroup$ @cardinal I personally try to fix title, tags or formatting issues as soon as I see them, so that questions flow is not altered (and Twitter feeds show the right titles :-) I'm not the only one since @mbq seems to be doing like this too. Now, I still think it is better to bump up a question because you want to fix something, even if this appears to be a minor edit. I like the last sentence in @whuber's response, and don't forget that users are encouraged to revise their Q&A in order to keep this wiki live and informative. $\endgroup$ – chl Mar 7 '11 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber, a bookmark: nice simple solution. Also, I managed to skip over reading your compliments on the coupon-collector problem. Thanks. It was fun to work on! I'd like to see a reference to a similar proof. It's hard to imagine it doesn't exist somewhere. $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 7 '11 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ @chl, (+1) on comment. I want to be clear that I very much admire and appreciate all of the work that you and @mbq put into editing and cleaning up a lot of the posts. It is hard work and makes for much nicer reading. I hope I didn't leave the impression that I thought that was an unimportant service! I suppose in posting this question, I was trying to gauge some interest in added flexibility on the part of those like yourself who do so much to keep this place running and lively. $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 7 '11 at 4:34

I don't think so. The questions tab shows questions in chronological order, though.

Also, I don't think this is annoying, especially when this is for fixing typos, adding clarification, etc. I think everybody will agree that doing so shows on the contrary that you are actually minding about the quality of your response. Moreover, updating the content of your response might result in additional upvotes (I guess this is not the motive, but it is still evidence that the community values your contribution).

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    $\begingroup$ (+1) Good points. Some times I want to make changes that seem minor enough to not warrant additional up-votes. Maybe that's just me. $\endgroup$ – cardinal Mar 6 '11 at 23:59

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