I'm a little frustrated and more puzzled about why an edit I made to a question was rejected this evening on the grounds that "This edit deviates from the original intent of the post."

The original way question involved--Does a Smartphone contain all the essential properties of a Smartcard? If not, what is missing?-- was written struck me as one of those that:

(a) Was "trying to ask" about a really interesting & important--if super-duper-broad---topic: whether typical smartphones have the secure hardware within them to do what smartcards & PCs with TPMs can do. (To put it very roughly.)


(b) Could use some, uh, significant "improvements" of the kind that editors are encouraged to make. :) (You can look at the original question yourself.)

So I set out to try to improve the question while staying very faithful to what I thought the asker was trying to get at. I substantially reworked the first half of the question to improve the clarity, focus, and accuracy while still keeping the question about what hardware-based security capabilities smartphones have vs. smartcards & PCs with TPMs. Moreover, I deliberately decided not to narrow the ultra-broad scope of the question. Even though I realized that doing that would make the question easier to answer and would probably lead to better quality answers. Because it seemed to me that the original asker's intent was exactly to ask a very, very broad question.

In sum, I tried to be faithful to the "original intent" behind the question by keeping the substance & scope of it the same. (As I did explain in my edit description.) But, at least in the eyes of a couple reviewers, I went too far. Can anyone give me some feedback about where I went wrong? Or is this maybe a case where making extensive-but-legitimate changes to a question was perhaps ... misinterpreted as changing the intent of the original question?

(I ask partly because this isn't the first edit I've had rejected on "original intent" grounds.)

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    Can I ask what your source is for your statement that editors are encouraged to make this kind of significant improvements?
    – schroeder Mod
    Nov 29, 2015 at 15:56
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    "When should I edit posts? Any time you see a post that needs improvement and are inclined to suggest an edit, you are welcome to do so." Also: "If you see something that needs improvement, click edit! Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date." security.stackexchange.com/help/editing Nov 30, 2015 at 1:10
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    Well, okay, admittedly those words don't directly say "If you think a question needs substantial improvement, feel free to try to make such improvement." But you might see how one could draw that message... Nov 30, 2015 at 1:15

1 Answer 1


In my eyes, you took over the question. In your own words, you "removed an incorrect statement", which is beyond the scope of an editor. You also doubled the word count of the question (from 78 words to 143 words).

In your other linked edit that was rejected, you also made sweeping changes.

When someone writes, they have a tone, a voice, and hidden subtext. When you made the types of edits that you did for those two questions, you removed all those things and made them your tone, your voice, with your subtext.

When I edit, I try to keep the authors voice intact, which can be difficult when you need to correct a lot of grammar and syntax (or remove offensive language), but I try to not add to the voice or add to the information included in the question.

If you feel that sweeping changes are needed, leave a comment and prompt the asker to make those changes themselves. With the threat that a poor question might be closed or downvoted, people tend to be willing to make improvements that are in keeping with what they wanted to say.

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    Thanks (sincerely) for the feedback. I think from now on I will just adopt a policy of trying to suppress impulses to make edits to questions where my reaction is "Well, this person seems to be trying to ask an interesting/important question; they're just doing it very badly. Let me see if I can just make it a bit better..." , as I'm the type of person who (in life generally) not-infrequently has a little difficulty limiting myself to just trying to make appropriate improvements at the edges in such things. Thanks again. Nov 30, 2015 at 1:54

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