How can we encourage people to edit existing answers (I know this is a known problem with the perverse incentives of SE), and/or contribute as much as they can, even if it doesn't provide the "perfect" question or answer?

Given that this is the economics SE, we should be able to come up with some work arounds. :)

  • $\begingroup$ Different sites have different expectations of what appropriate edits are. Are you proposing that major changes to other users' answers be encouraged? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 8:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Are there questions or answers that currently need to be edited? Note that editing is generally done to correct problems, not to expand an answer. If an answer needs expansion, it is often better to come up with a new answer. $\endgroup$
    – Brythan
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ Also, a possible solution is to post more "follow-up" type questions. I was questioning an answer given in one question so I posted a question that was essentially about the answer given: economics.stackexchange.com/questions/134/… It's like incremental question asking. $\endgroup$
    – jmbejara
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 3:52

2 Answers 2


There are badges for editing questions and answers. There are badges for editing questions that you've answered. (see the Moderation section of the badges help page) And while you've got a rep under 1000, there's 2 rep points for each accepted edit.

Those are the extrinsic incentives.

The intrinsic incentive is in knowing that you've helped make the internet a better place, that you've propagated knowledge in place of ignorance, and that you've helped build a site where experts can exchange their expertise.

  • $\begingroup$ but the question stands, what can WE do as founding members? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 16:25

Are you talking about editing your own posts or someone else's?

In terms of encouragement for editing your own post, remember that editing bumps the question back to the top of the "newest" list. That means that it gives people another chance to upvote your answer or question. Also, if a post is out of date, people may start downvoting it. Accepted answers may also lose their accepted status.

EnergyNumbers already covered the reasons for editing someone else's post.


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