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Today I discovered (and confirmed) how to tactically edit questions or answers in order to generate exposure to the associated question(s). By editing a question (which might not be mine, which I have definitely edited at least one time prior) or answer (which might be mine and might have been edited by me prior), the associated question is sent to the top of the questions list.

The questions I edited had answers by me, which were validly "good" answers and had generated good reputation for me prior to my edits. The edit I recently made to an answer was intended to remove some unintended "all-caps shouting"; I had edited this answer several times the day prior. After I edited this time, I noticed an up-vote. Certainly it could have been from an edit reviewer, but I also noted the question appeared again at the top of today's question list.

To check if this wasn't a one-time occurrence, I then deliberately edited a question which I had also answered yesterday (and gained several upvotes), making actual, valid changes and clarifications. This was not the first time I had edited this question. The edited question jumped to the top of the questions list. As it is a good question/answer, within the hour I had suddenly gained upvotes for my answer.

Had I not re-edited my answer for the first question or re-edited the second question I had answered, I would never have gained those upvotes. I had artificially re-exposed the two questions.

This re-editing creates artificial exposure. While exposure to questions is fine, this is a way to game the system. I am of the opinion that there should be a mechanism to prevent this exposure. Any subsequent edit (second edit) a specific user makes to a given question/answer should not send the question back to the top of the list. I want to know if any sort of prevention mechanism is being considered?

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Edit must sent the question to the top of the list. Otherwise, there is no way to detect vandalism edits or bad edit done by high rep user (in the rare case that it happens). –  nhahtdh Feb 17 '13 at 6:04
    
But isn't that what reviewing Suggested Edits is for? –  JoshDM Feb 17 '13 at 6:08
    
I mentioned "high rep user" - those who can do edit without going through the Suggested Edit queue. (The bump is also a chance for the OP to get attention again when he or someone clarifies/clean up the question). –  nhahtdh Feb 17 '13 at 6:09
    
My apologies; I had no idea that was possible. Oh hey, downvotes; guess this sort of question rubs the wrong way? –  JoshDM Feb 17 '13 at 6:10
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Votes are different on Meta And this question only has one down vote right now. It just, likely, means someone disagrees with your suggestion. –  Andrew Barber Feb 17 '13 at 7:28
    
Thanks for the link @AndrewBarber. –  JoshDM Feb 17 '13 at 7:47
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@Josh - This will trigger the "I've seen this question before" reflex for those of us who visit the site every day. When we can't locate the duplicate, your "trick" will be found out. –  Bo Persson Feb 17 '13 at 10:31

2 Answers 2

I've seen users do this sort of thing before, and one can really only get away with it for so long before others notice. Stack Overflow is moderated by the community, which means there are literally eyes everywhere. Do something like this enough, and users will start flagging these posts for moderator attention.

Moderators can then take actions such as leaving the editor comments, or taking further action such as timed suspensions if the behavior is repetitive or if there is a pattern of abuse.

So, if your edits really aren't adding value to the post, the best approach is to leave it be. Go find other good questions to answer instead. Not only will you be helping others, but you'll get just as much reputation as you would from gambling that editing the same posts over and over again are going to get you upvotes. In my experience, it's easier and less stressful, and more fun, to just go answer new questions. Good luck! :)

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I also find it easier to answer new questions and the only reason I did the second edit (well, besides making sure it really WAS a contributive edit) was to confirm my suspicions. I, myself, don't plan to game the system in this fashion, but I think it warrants being exposed as a flaw that could potentially do with some form of automated remedy. Especially considering that subsequent edits by he same user to a question gains them an additional +2 reputation edit credit for double-dipping. I know editing is capped at 1000, but still... –  JoshDM Feb 17 '13 at 7:01
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@JoshDM You do not get any reputation for editing your own posts. –  Andrew Barber Feb 17 '13 at 7:26
    
Yet, you do get reputation for editing a question, and then re-editing that same question 24 hours later, even if there were no edits in-between. –  JoshDM Feb 17 '13 at 7:46
    
@JoshDM Read my comment closely: You do not get any reputation for editing your own post; only other users'. –  Andrew Barber Feb 17 '13 at 7:49
    
Actually, any edit reviewer can leave @editor comments –  Undo May 23 '13 at 21:04
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Apparently there is a preventative measure in-place to discourage tactical edits and that measure is the transformation of frequently self-edited posts into "Community Wiki" posts, which disables additional awards for the post from being gained by the user. Granted, this only takes effect after the 10'th edit to the post by the original poster.

This doesn't help OCD perfectionists like myself, who perpetually re-edit their own post to add additional information or to clean up mistakes, but it does require moderator attention (and consequently, moderator review) in order to remove the automated community wiki status.

And let's be honest here: I shouldn't be typing posts with mistakes in the first place, right?

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