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When someone edits their question, I see two benefits to requiring an explanatory comment:

First, it makes you stop and consider, "Why am I editing this? What purposes does this action serve?" Sometimes when I'm required to explain my edit, I actually get more clarity about the purpose of my question, which can lead to a re-edit before posting. This process yields a refined, thoughtful question. I think building in an opportunity for reflection can help people like me pause, reflect, and write better questions, yielding better answers for this community.

Second, I occasionally would like to see comments on why another person changed their question. Otherwise the site may vulnerable to people changing their questions—which could make answers irrelevant—without readers knowing.

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  • When you edit a question there is the Edit Summary field for adding a description of the changes. Does the original poster see that?
    – stib
    Jan 29, 2015 at 0:38

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This is a low level StackExchange platform feature and would have to be addressed at the general Meta.SE level. That said, I don't expect it to go far. The design philosophy and community preference of SE as a whole has been that asking, editing and answering should be simple and don't require explanations for anything. You always have the option to explain your reason, but it is not required.

The thought process behind this is fairly simple, if you make edits hard, then it may prevent someone from making a valuable, but minor, contribution if they don't feel it is worth also writing up an explanation. It is better to risk someone making a change for unclear reasons (which can be easily be reverted by the OP or the community if it doesn't seem to be helpful) than it is to risk losing a contribution.

If an edit confuses you, you do know who made it and can ask for clarification as to why the edit was necessary (they may or may not give it, as that is their option, but you are also free to revert it if you don't think it helps.)

Similarly, editing questions in such a way that they make answers that have already been written irrelevant is generally considered an invalid edit and will generally be reverted by a mod or the community unless it was absolutely necessary to keep the question open. There's some leeway on this when it is the OP clarifying the question, though still, in that case a new question is generally preferred, even if not as strictly enforced in that case.

Forcing reasons doesn't really help with anything that community monitoring doesn't already provide or that can't be easily requested or fixed, but it does potentially prevent people from participating, so the vast majority of people oppose this kind of change, even though it has been suggested a number of times over the years. (Similarly, required reasons on down votes, close votes, delete votes, you name it, the same suggestions have been made and they've been declined by the vast majority of the community for the same reasons.)

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  • Clearly I made a mistake—I thought that on other SE sites I'd been required to explain reasons for editing a question. Must have mis-remembered that experience. Thanks for your explanation, AJ.
    – Crowder
    Oct 2, 2014 at 17:33
  • No problem, that's why I'm here. :) It may actually require a reason on suggested edits at low reputation under some situations possibly, since those edits have to be actively approved by the community first, but it's been a while since I had to deal with that on any site I use regularly. I'm not aware of any differences in editing requirements between sites though. They are pretty uniform.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Oct 2, 2014 at 17:35
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We have no requirement for them to add comments on why they have changed a question. Some people do, which is helpful, but others just update.

The favourite button can be useful, but doesn't cover this.

Please read this question on the wider Stack Exchange meta site - there is a StackApps solution.

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    Just edited my question to clarify what I want out of this feature. Oh, the irony.
    – Crowder
    Oct 2, 2014 at 15:20

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