5

The problem

I found an answer that I thought could be improved.
The way I see it, I had two options:

  • Make a comment proposing improvements to an already-acceptable answer;
    • With or without upvote;
  • Edit the answer.

What should I do? Which would be the preferred approach?

My interpretation

Neither of these options feel ideal, to me:

  • If I add a comment without adding an upvote to what I think is an acceptable answer, I might sound snob.
  • If I add a comment but add an upvote, there is no major incentive for improvement.
  • If I edit an improvement suggestion, I might come across as forceful, imposing, brute.
    I mean, the asker could always rollback. But that would force her to actively reject my change, which is socially awkward.

Am I just reading too much into this?

A concrete case

What does «acerto electrónico de chaves» mean?

Original answer

Check meaning 4. from Aulete:

4. Mec. Regulagem de máquina, motor etc., para que funcione perfeitamente.

Acerto could indeed be a form of the verb acertar (indicative, present, first person, singular), but not here. In that case, it would be pronounced with an open e, rather than the closed one of the noun acerto.

My edit proposal

Check the meaning 4. from Aulete:

4. Mec. Regulagem de máquina, motor etc., para que funcione perfeitamente.

Acerto could indeed be a form of the verb acertar (indicative, present, first person, singular), but not here.
Here it would mean "to fix", "to correct", "to improve".

In this case, it would be pronounced with an open e, rather than the closed one of the verb inflexion acerto.

"Acerto eletrónico de chaves" is the electronic correction of keys. This would probably mean that they have an electronic machine (as opposed to a manual machine) that takes an original key and corrects a copy (which might be worn down, or might have been badly made).

I know this is not a great edit; I would work on it.

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  • I have to say, it depends. Sometimes I try to explain in a comment but if I know the user I can edit the answer and comment "if you don't agree with my edition you can revert" and other times I make my own answer and I quote the other answer. – Jorge B. Jan 19 '16 at 12:08
3

The help centre page on editing says this, in the "When should I edit posts?" section:

Any time you see a post that needs improvement and are inclined to suggest an edit, you are welcome to do so. (...)

Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it. Common reasons for edits include:

  • To fix grammar and spelling mistakes
  • To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)
  • To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the information relevant to the post is contained in one place
  • To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages
  • To add related resources or hyperlinks

It also says this, right at the top (emphasis is mine):

All contributions are licensed under Creative Commons, and this site is collaboratively edited, like Wikipedia. If you see something that needs improvement, click edit!

Edits like the one you propose do not come across as forceful — they are presupposed by our model. Also, don't forget comments are supposed to be disposable, so any relevant information to the post should be included in its body and not below it, in the comment section.

Of course, the edits should not deviate from the idea the author was trying to convey: in cases like that, posting a new answer yourself is the best course of action.

So, to put it shortly: edit away. Don't forget there's a built-in review system for the edits to be vetted by your peers, so the community can trust no edits that drastically change the post will go through. If the edit comes off as "rude" to the author of the post, then maybe they need to be pointed to that page in the help centre. And if they find the article ridiculous, or something they're not willing to abide by, then... well, this model is not for everyone! ;)

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