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On our beta-site Sustainable Living a new site self-evaluation round has just started. I am participating in the evaluation and encountered a question with several typos. I have fixed those and added a new relevant tag, but it feels a bit like cheating the evaluation. Others who review the same question after me are now more likely to rate it higher so I'm influencing the evaluation.

What do you think? Is it ok to improve questions part of a site's self-evalution, and if so should you only fix small typos or also make bigger improvements? Or should I wait until the evaluation is over? Not sure if it will matter in the discussion, but I am currently a pro-tem moderator at Sustainable Living.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Let's look at this another way: Suppose you came across that typo-filled question organically. Would you edit it or not?

Let's look at two different scenarios:

1. The site self-evaluation is going on. A less-than-perfect question is selected for the evaluation. While participating in the evaluation, you come across the question. You fix it.

2. The site self-evaluation is going on. A less than-perfect question is selected for the evaluation. While browsing the questions list, you find the question. You fix it.

You see? Regardless of whether you are participating in the evaluation or not, you are already "influencing it". Everyone who participates after you edit the question is going to be influenced by your edit, regardless of whether you edited as a result of the self-evaluation. The alternative is to refrain from editing altogether during evaluations, which is clearly absurd. (No, that's not intended to be offensive toward anyone. The concept is absurd, not the suggestion.)

Yes, the whole point of the evaluations is to make the site better. However, they are merely a support for our main focus: Asking, answering, and improving questions and answers. The process serves its users, not the other way around.

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This is hardly an offical Stack Exchange answer, but here are my two cents. The way I understand the self-evaluation period, it's a dry run to see if a site really has a sustainable community (no pun intended), and if it's "worth while" keeping it open - is there a suffient volume of new questions coming in? Are they getting answered in a timely and proffesional manner?

Another aspect of this sentiment, (again, as far as I can understand it) is to see whether this is just a site, or whether it truely becomes a community, in the self-moderating Stack Exchange way.

I don't think that evaluating whether 100% of the userbase write their questions without any typos and tag them perfectly is interesting. What is interesting is that when these mistakes happen they self correct, by actions like yours.
So my bottom line - this isn't cheating - on the contrary.

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