I took a look at some Stackoverflow Q&A and noticed the thorough scrubbing that's done. The main thing I notice is the scrubbing for conciseness (after the usual grammar, etc is done). One effect is that the question is less "personal", anecdotes of how the problem was reached is removed. In the end, the question may indeed turn out to be very different from how it was originally phrased.

Do we eventually want to do similar scrubbing? Do we want to strive for those "standards"? Or do we want to be a little less formal?

Or whoever has the time and interest to do such scrubbing, should just go ahead? Or would we prefer that they defer doing such type of activity for the meantime?

For reference, one of the questions I stumbled where I looked at its history more: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1642028/what-is-the-name-of-the-operator

I don't know how "representative" the question's history is, so I may be unduly influenced by it. In my opinion, the scrubbing it did does make the question sound more professional with its crispness.

2 Answers 2


I have performed and still perform lots of scrubbing on Bitcoin.SE.
I fix tags, titles, grammar, spelling, and sometimes even improve phrasing. Also, I remove salutations and anecdotal information that isn't necessary to understand the question.

When users come to our sites, they are looking for an answer to a question they have. What they really need foremost is too get a sense of whether the question they are looking at, is the one they are looking for. Especially for popular questions that get read thousands of times, making them shorter and easier to understand can save our site visitors a lot of time in total.

I'm also certain that overly long questions turn potential answerers away.


Another thing to keep in mind is that with the rapidly growing / improving technology, an answer from even a month ago may not be 100% correct anymore, or there may be new information. While grammar and fluff should be fixed, I think the more pressing issues are (1) removing outdated information if it is no longer correct, (2) updating existing information or clarifying that it pertains to X version, and (3) adding new information as it comes to light.

I would like to know the best way to handle the (3) above. Is it better to just post new answer (at least while the number of answers per questions is relatively small)? Should a note be edited into to the top answer explaining it may be out of date, or the new information just added onto it?

For example, a simple one that comes to mind is backing up Mist. First there was no backup in the menu so you had to go to the folder. Then there was and it was called Backup, directly in the top bar. Now it's under accounts. The top answer shows only one short-lived version (0.3.9) and no longer applies.

  • 1
    I think asking #3 as a separate question would be better, so answers to it are clearer and not written as comments here.
    – eth Mod
    Mar 11, 2016 at 18:54

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