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I frequent the review queues on SO and in the middle of flagging an answer as "not an answer", I noticed it had just been edited. This was odd since this answer was actually asking a question.

The user who made the edit won't keep the 2 reputation for the action but obviously he shouldn't be making such a trivial edit on something that should be deleted. All he did was remove "thank you".

How would I go about handling this, preferably letting the user who made the edit know that he shouldn't edit posts like this but rather just flag them?

The post is here.

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Meta question, should I tag this abuse and or review-abuse? –  Austin Henley Jan 9 '13 at 4:06
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Mwah, I would not really call this review abuse. This user won't get any rep out of it anyway (>2k). The only "bad" thing about this edit is that it's incomplete and, as you say, unnecessary. Perhaps you can @reply the editor in a friendly comment, but that's about it. –  Bart Jan 9 '13 at 4:13
    
@Bart Makes sense. Could still be grinding towards a badge but I will take your advice. I didn't think the comment would send him a notification since he has not commented on the question. –  Austin Henley Jan 9 '13 at 4:22
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It's also possible that they were in the same queue as you and simply mistook it for a question and hates to see "thanks in advance" in questions. So he did a quick edit. Also you have to let go of stopping people from doing something marginally helpful while grinding out a badge. –  Some Helpful Commenter Jan 9 '13 at 4:38
    
@SomeHelpfulCommenter I thought it was the opposite of helpful. That could send an impression to the poster that him asking a question as an answer is allowed since someone edited the post but only focused on that minor detail rather than the problem. –  Austin Henley Jan 9 '13 at 4:41
    
Did you flag the post by now? Did you downvote it to indicate to the author that he should not be posting questions as an answer? –  Bart Jan 9 '13 at 4:45
    
@Bart Flagged it immediately. –  Austin Henley Jan 9 '13 at 4:46
    
Great, so the author will get the message sooner or later anyway. :) –  Bart Jan 9 '13 at 4:46
    
@Bart Was just hoping to solve the long term problem. Multiple people have told me that I need to help educate other users rather than just dealing with the immediate problem. –  Austin Henley Jan 9 '13 at 4:48
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Which is why I have left the comment for the editor now. It educates both the editor and the author of the post. –  Bart Jan 9 '13 at 4:49
    
@Bart Exactly the kind of statement I was looking for, I think you should add it to your answer: "It educates both the editor and the author of the post." –  Austin Henley Jan 9 '13 at 4:57
    
@AustinHenley By marginally helpful I meant in regard to edits on questions to remove the "thanks". I was giving the editor the benefit of the doubt that he mistook the answer for a question, which can happen when viewing it in the queue (e.g. Hanlon's razor). –  Some Helpful Commenter Jan 9 '13 at 5:31
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note author can edit their deleted answer then flag for moderator to undelete; and if there was substantial improvement, post will be undeleted (as an example, three first posts of this user went through process like that). From this perspective, edits made prior to deletion can potentially be helpful in some cases –  gnat Jan 9 '13 at 9:00
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1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I would not call this behaviour abusive. The edit itself is not terrible, though incomplete. The user focused on a single thing, where he should have focused on the post as a whole....if it were not for the fact that the edit is useless in the greater scheme of things. As you indicated, it's rather pointless to edit something which should be deleted outright.

Given that you can @reply editors, you could simply leave a comment indicating that a flag might have been better in this case. This educates not only the editor, but also sends a message to the original author.

Given that this is a user with >2k of reputation, he won't get any rep out of the edit anyway, so I can only assume he was trying to constructively help, but overlooked some issues. Perhaps, as you say, he's working on a badge, but then we would need to look at overall behaviour, which I haven't done. This particular single case is not overly offensive.

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