# Editing whitespace

This question originally had a lot of vertical whitespace; I made an edit to reduce the whitespace and make the question easier to read with less scrolling. However, after making the edit I'm second-guessing myself.

Usually when a question has excessive whitespace, it's because the author pasted badly formatted code with a bunch of random empty lines; when I see this, I'll remove excessive empty lines from the code to make it easier to read.

However, in this case, the author intentionally used the whitespace to separate logical thoughts.

Did I overstep my bounds by editing out the extra whitespace? Should I have added a horizontal rule to maintain the intended separation with less vertical space? Should I have left the question as-is?

• Thanks for taking the time to ask about this here. As a mod, I usually like to hold off on answering to see how the community might like to weigh in, so I don't overly bias the outcome. So, let's see what folks have to say...
– DMGregory Mod
Apr 9, 2021 at 0:08

I would have approved the edit had I found it in edit review queue. And I would have made similar edits if I came across the question in the new posts review queue.

You applied your best sense of judgement; I don't see that as over stepping. And the risk in this case is low - if you had erred, your changes could have been rolled back.

I agree that the use of &nbsp; suggests the user had intentionally added the line breaks. But intentionality doesn't necessarily have precedence over community standards. And the community standards are in part determined collective best judgement of the members.

I've removed a lot of line beaks. I've also left in some that I wouldn't have used in my posts as a matter of aesthetic because taking them out didn't necessarily improve the post. If you're following the editing guidance of "edit to when it improves" and adjusting when needed based on feedback, you're doing a good job.

Thank you for taking the time to help.

• +1 to everything Pikalek has said. I'd particularly emphasize that rolling back an edit is very easy if folks disagree with the choices, so I generally err on the side of eagerly editing, and accepting that sometimes my edits won't stick.
– DMGregory Mod
Apr 10, 2021 at 21:36
• Thanks for the input! Apr 13, 2021 at 18:12

(I started to write this before the other answer was posted, but could not finish it earlier, so I'm posting it anyway. The other answer is good and I have upvoted it.)

I think one of the reasons why we don't have a vast array of font sizes and colours available for editing questions is to try and keep some consistency across the site.

In line with that, the vertical spaces between paragraph also helps consistency across the site, so IMHO, it makes sense to remove the white space as you did. However, yes, I think replacing those empty paragraphs with horizontal lines would have helped keep the logical separation of thoughts.

Did I overstep my bounds by editing out the extra whitespace?

I don't think so.

Should I have added a horizontal rule to maintain the intended separation with less vertical space?

I think so.

Should I have left the question as-is?

I don't think there is a should or should not here. You think you improved the post to make it easier to read, and that's what we expect when the posts are edited.

I find them useful to separate a post with multiple aspects to them, like...

An intro.

A core.

A conclusion, or a set of notes or references.

But they can be annoying if they're over used.

Alternatives exist when you want to add variety:

# Big Titles

## Titles with dashes

Bold stuff on its own line

(with the continuing text...)

You get the idea...
More information about these alternatives is available in the Markdown Editing Help or the subsequent Advanced help:

• Thanks for the input! Apr 13, 2021 at 18:12
• I'm glad you posted. My answer neglected to address the <hr> component of the question. You went one further, covering that & some useful alternatives. Thanks! Apr 13, 2021 at 18:50