Short summary: Is it acceptable to edit a question, so that it differs from what OP originally asked with the purpose of getting a presumably off-topic question on-topic? Especially, when there are already answers to the original question?


A few days ago, a question was asked: 'How much should I tip in restaurants in Germany?'. The question was originally closed as a duplicate of Is tipping mandatory at Restaurants and Bars in Germany? since many of the answers to that question also go into discussions around how much to tip. It was later reopened, since the question itself is not a duplicate, but I chose to spend another close vote. The question is IMHO primarly opinion based. I have been living in Germany for about 25 years now, have for a while worked on the 'receiving end' of tips and there simply is no expected tip amount in Germany. Customers tip what they feel like and even not tipping is not necessarily a hidden complaint about poor service.

Obviously as an attempt to get the question on-topic again, the question was edited to now ask 'How much do people tip in restaurants in Germany?' after two answers had already tried to go into the original question. OP even answered his question himself with a list of examples what he feels right to tip. Since OP answered the actual question himself, I doubt that we can here assume that he ment to ask something different.

In the help center, there are examples of 'when to edit', but nothing directly mentioned about what not to do when editing. One of the points is however:

  • To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)

Even without it being mentioned in the help center, my gut feeling tells me that it should be considered bad conduct to edit and change the meaning of a question, especially in this case, where the original question had already been answered. I suggested to David Richerby, who edited the question, that even if he is trying to get the question on-topic with the edit, it might be better to let the original question be closed as off-topic if it should happen to be so, and rather ask the other question in a new post.

How much do people tip? Can IMHO only be answered with numbers from surveys or statistics.

How much should people tip? Can IMHO only be answered with 'whatever you feel the service was worth more than what's already at the bill'. Noone is in Germany expected to tip a certain amount only because it is mathematically possible to calculate the average tip you might get as an answer to the previous question. I find this obviously opinion based.

  • *shrug* If you're determined that the question should be kept in a format that is unsuitable for the site, go for it. I don't care enough to argue any further. Nov 7, 2018 at 8:38

1 Answer 1


My current opinion is that changing the meaning of the question is not OK.

After initially not liking the edit (emotional response), I then found that it does indeed make the question more objective and that the change is minuscule and does not invalidate the existing questions. I was about to argue to allow the edit....

But then I found a point that counts against the edit. The way I asked the question was "What should you....". This can be answered by explaining social ettiquette. The edited question "What people do" can be answered only by statistics as Tor-Einar rightly says.

I think for travelers it is more important to err on the safe, more polite side and follow social ettiquete although it might not be what everyone does. Some people spit on the street in Germany, but it is definetelly bad ettiquete. What are travelers interested in? Probably that if you do it, you will be seen as anti-social lower class.

Additionally, I think there is useful knowledge where statistics aren't available and a gut feeling is good enough, just like with tips.

  • 1
    If you don't like the edit, I would suggest that you roll it back. Nov 6, 2018 at 15:00
  • 1
    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo: Thanks, I did. No other comments tried to refute "our" opinion. Nov 6, 2018 at 18:22
  • A description of German tipping etiquette would absolutely be an answer to "how much do people tip?" The idea that the only possible answer is something like "Germans tip, on average, 9.84% and round up to the nearest euro" is nonsense. Nov 7, 2018 at 8:41

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