If I know how to answer the question, I start writing--and usually I'm not satisfied until editing the answer multiple times. (I write answers the same way I write essays and papers.) Generally, should one just keep editing the saved draft instead of publishing that answer?

  • 2
    Is your first draft already a complete answer? How long does it take for your numerous edits to be done? Editing an answer is fine, as long as you don't post something too premature and embryonic.
    – commando
    Aug 7, 2016 at 22:56
  • An essay takes me weeks. An answer takes days. Although, I agree that the one this is linked to is too incomplete. I felt I was getting heat for the question not being good enough, and decided impromptu to show a little instead of tell more and more.
    – adamaero
    Aug 7, 2016 at 23:10

3 Answers 3


A couple other things worth mentioning:

  1. The volume isn't as heavy here as on StackOverflow. There are few cases where you benefit from posting early.

  2. The length of answers shouldn't be so long that editing is a big deal. If you get to the main point quickly and cite some references, then that's all there should be to a good answer. Beyond that, your post might be straying into original-work territory.


I think that most users read a new answer more carefully than an edited answer. So, if you edit your answer extensively after posting it, your post may not reach the score it could get if you would have posted a polished version later. This is not only bad for your reputation, it also means that your post is read less because it's further down the page. In addition to that, the asker gets a notification when you post the answer, but not when you edit it.

Minor edits are fine and encouraged, but if they make the difference between an OK answer and a good answer, you should wait with posting. Notes in an answer like "This is unfinished" are a "not an answer"-flag indicator for me; after all, you never know if the post will ever be finished.

  • From now on I will publish the first draft and most likely delete it. This way, I can always see it, and undelete it when it's complete.
    – adamaero
    Aug 8, 2016 at 21:27
  • 1
    @AdamUraynar I'm not sure if deleted posts are removed at some point, you could check this on Meta Stack Exchange.
    – user2953
    Aug 8, 2016 at 21:36

I'd suggest that writing a post is far from writing an essay which takes more planning and work; generally, I try to keep my answers short and to the point, so it's more like the notes that might go into an essay; so your notion of it being an unfinished draft of an essay is apposite.

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