Over the last few days, a user has edited dozens of posts. That, in and of itself, is not bad. However, his edits are:

  1. In many cases too minor to bother with.
  2. In many cases, are bumping trash to the front page, without fixing the substantive content of the question to make it a decent post.

Could we stop approving these edits when it's not appropriate? Edits like this, this, this, this, this, etc, should not be accepted.

He's effectively gaming the system. He neither asks nor answers any questions. He just walks through the list of questions and edits them to fix minor problems. That's not something we should be rewarding 200+ rep for.

It should be noted that this comes up frequently on MSO, and the general consensus is to reject such edits.

share
2  
Agreed, the moderators seem to have just been approving everything, even the very minor stuff. Additionally, an approval from a mod is all it needs to pass, where as regular users like us need to have two people agree on accept or reject. For example an edit on a post from Feb 8 '11 just to remove the thank you, rejected by me, approved by @Noctrine: gamedev.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/9669 –  Byte56 Jan 28 '13 at 3:59
1  
@Byte56 It's interesting, I didn't even see the status of that edit on the queue. But yeah - I did accept a number of edits by this user. Also, I wasn't looking at the dates just the content - and editing out "Thank you's" and the like is quite common. –  Noctrine Jan 28 '13 at 14:36
2  
@Noctrine I would accept too if the question were just asked, but given that it was nearly two years old, I rejected. I think looking at date is important for any edit. Perhaps the date should be made more obvious. –  Byte56 Jan 28 '13 at 18:52
1  
Bummer, it seems the user in question has deleted their account... –  Byte56 Jan 29 '13 at 0:05
    
Most wikis have a checkbox for 'this is a minor edit'. Aside from not giving reputation, such a checkbox could be used to prevent minor edits (like fixing a single word/letter) from bumping a question/answer to active questions. –  sarahm Jul 8 '13 at 12:45
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I was coming here to post about this. If there's a limit to how many edits I can review in a day, there needs to be a limit to how many edits someone can make in a day. One day has 30+ edits, and I can only review 20 per day?

I completely agree with both your points. Most of them are capitalization fixes or fixing grammar by change "I've" to "I have". In addition there were a number of edits on closed questions.

I was going through rejecting all the minor edits, when I was told I'd reviewed my maximum for the day and to come back tomorrow. There was still some 30+ edits pending review.

Bleh, and it's totally messing up the active questions page.

share
11  
I really wish that SE had the concept of a "minor edit", which would apply the edit to a question/answer without popping the question to the top of the "active question" queue. If we'd had that, this whole event could have been much less of a problem. –  Trevor Powell Jan 30 '13 at 1:01
    
@Trevor Surely edits so minor as to be marked as minor were unnecessary in the first place? –  Anko Feb 28 '13 at 21:15
    
@Anko Unnecessary, sure. But fixing grammar, fixing spelling.. they help questions be found and understood via a search engine. It can have some value to the site. The problem in this incident was that so many minor edits were being made so quickly that it was disrupting the normal operation of the site by filling the front page with 2-3 year old questions, completely displacing all the newly asked questions. –  Trevor Powell Feb 28 '13 at 21:29
    
@Trevor If an edit adds value, I'd consider it no longer minor. I understand that the edits in question here weren't valuable. I just instinctively revolt when anyone speaks of adding complexity to a system where it's not absolutely necessary. :) This debate has been had before and results were [status-declined] by Jeff. –  Anko Feb 28 '13 at 21:58
add comment

If someone edits an old, inactive question (say, six months or older) for any reason other than to fix something which is seriously wrong with it (ie: bringing a dead link up to date), then it's probably an invalid edit, and we should reject it, full stop.

This is doubly-true when it's part of a single-user mass-edit spree, as we're seeing at the moment.

And quadruply true when the minor edits being made are to questions which should be (or already have been) closed according to current site rules. There's no point to cleaning up questions we don't want, particularly when it results in those questions we don't want returning to the front page. (Note that I have no problem with edits which are designed to make a closed question more suitable, for the purposes of attempting to get the question re-opened. I'm only talking about minor edits.)

share
    
I disagree. Edits to improve a question or answer, even minor grammar edits or edits to 6-month-old questions, only serve to improve the site, so I see no reason to actively prevent them. But should the user earn rep for them? I personally don't have a problem with rewarding a user a small amount of rep for going out of his way to improve the site. The only issue I see is that minor edits (or really, any edit at all) probably shouldn't bump a post to the front page, but I think that issue is pretty minor. –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Feb 8 '13 at 18:04
    
@BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft I don't think we disagree -- if edits didn't bump posts to the front page, then I'd have no problem at all with minor edits to old, non-closed questions. But bumping posts back to the front page every time someone fixes a misplaced comma hurts the usability of the site, especially as we saw in this incident, where every frontpage question was two-three years old (and most were closed). If bumping isn't going to change (and there's been no indication that it will), then the only rational option is to try to deny minor edits to ancient posts, to protect the front page. –  Trevor Powell Feb 9 '13 at 1:35
2  
tl;dr: Minor edits make the site a little bit better. Clogging the front page with ancient, already-answered, and closed-as-off-topic posts makes the site a lot worse. If we can fix the second, then absolutely we should encourage the first. But until then, I think it's a net negative for the site. –  Trevor Powell Feb 9 '13 at 1:41
add comment

You are right in a way, but even if very little his edits are really improving the questions. So based on current site policies we can't reject his edits.

share
7  
Actually, site policy is to reject "very little" edits. –  Nicol Bolas Jan 28 '13 at 2:35
2  
Note that my down vote doesn't mean this is a bad answer, just that I don't agree with it. As Nicol says, "Too minor" is one of the reject reasons proposed when reviewing edits. –  Byte56 Jan 28 '13 at 3:04
1  
@Byte56 I don't agree with my answer either. I mean I do think nicol made a valid point but I didn't know anything about those minor changes policy he mentioned. So I'm leaving this answer to be here. –  Ali.S Jan 28 '13 at 3:10
add comment

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .