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Perhaps if the author of the accepted-answer were informed that his answer (after heavy editing) was accepted. "You can share a portion of your score with the editor." Have a bounty-like scrubbing bar and a send button.

Points to share: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15   Send

Original Idea (Scrapped)

Often times we'll see answers given, which are horrendous. Not merely their solution, but their presentation. The explanation may be vacuous, the code may be improperly indented and thus difficult to read. The problems go on and on.

Then, some good-willed contributor will come along and purify the post. Cleaning up formatting, grammar, spelling, etc. Sometimes these are rather substantial changes that require a great deal of effort.

It could possibly be argued that these changes are a sort of boost for the original author to get his answer noticed. Should these efforts go unrewarded? (Aside for the Strunk & White badge for those who edit tons of posts)

Would it be unthinkable to inform the Asker that

"The answer you have selected was a collaboration between n-persons. Award all points to original author, or divide points among all contributors."

Perhaps you could even offer them a short list of contributors with a summary of what they did:

  • Tom Smith - Original Author (View Original Post)
  • Mike Ceaver - "Cleaned up code-formatting, fixed grammatical errors" (View with Changes)

Each name has a checkbox indicated who will be of the few to receive a portion of the award.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

At the moment I don't edit posts for rep - but then again I only edit posts to fix glaring typos/grammar or formatting issues.

If there was the potential of rep on offer then I might be inclined to edit more posts and make more extensive edits to those posts. At some point I might even make the post worse that it was before or twist the sense away from what the originator intended. This would be a bad thing.

Editing with no thought of reward is probably the best approach. It means you edit because you think the post needs improving. If the OP disagrees they can always roll back.

NOTE: This was written before they opened up editing to all and sundry giving a +2 to accepted edits. I'm all for this.

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1  
I know that I would like to personally share the reward if anybody were to improve my post to the point it gets accepted. –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 4 '09 at 16:56
    
@Jonathan - I might too. But I was thinking of the motives of the other person editing my post if they thought there was "profit" involved. I'm reading "Predictably Irrational" which, in one chapter, talks about how the social contract between people changes for the worse if there's money involved. Rep is the "money" here. –  ChrisF Jul 4 '09 at 19:01
    
ChrisF, it could be argued that people are answering questions for "money" (Rep). Certainly you don't think that is a bad thing? –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 5 '09 at 4:03
    
Yes - but we edit for (almost) purely altruistic reasons. –  ChrisF Jul 5 '09 at 14:45

I've certainly changed some of my answers into community wiki before now, in order to include content from other people without trying to claim credit.

However, I'm not sure there really needs to be any specific actions. If people want to write a list of credits, they can - some people may frown on it, although I suspect that the more discreet the credits, the more likely they are to avoid being edited out of existence. Does anything in the system need to change? Can't this be handled on an ad hoc basis by the people involved? Does the person asking the question really need to be informed about this? They're likely to care far more about the answer than who is responsible for it - and that's the way it should be, IMO.

How much of a problem is this? Are people really that desperate for credit that they get cross about this? Presumably the editor in question knows the system: they know they won't get rep from it. Normally I'd expect they're doing it for the general good of the world.

EDIT: The ability to share the reward with editors is okay, but adds complexity for a problem that I still don't see as being terribly severe. It's possible that I'm underestimating how much of an issue this is, but I've never found it particularly galling to edit something but not get credit for it. Admittedly I answer more than I edit, but do we know whether others are really feeling aggrieved?

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They are doing it for the good of the world, right now. But why not offer the author of the accepted answer the ability to show his appreciation? –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 4 '09 at 16:43
    
It feels like extra complexity for a "problem" which really isn't terribly severe. I'm in favour of keeping things simple as possible. Maybe this is more of a problem than I think, but I can't see it at the moment. Are you personally feeling aggrieved that your efforts are going unrewarded? –  Jon Skeet Jul 4 '09 at 16:46
    
No. I'm being proactive ;) I know that I would like to personally share the reward if anybody were to improve my post to the point it gets accepted. –  Jonathan Sampson Jul 4 '09 at 16:52

here is a use case for point sharing:

I had a question on SO which concerned high-level overview of a topic, where diversity is a much more important feature, than single, well-explained topics; I'd very much like to offer a bounty of some amount, but offer a larger share to new collaborators (and well-thought out answers).

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I really would like to appreciate the proposal idea.

Well. It has got more of flaws than the benefits(to anyone). As per your suggestion, it merely depends on the will and wishes of Original author, not on the system (ie no rules of automation), he may not be ready to give out his part of reputation to some one else, or may misjudge the edition as unnecessary. Not all people around the world are nice ;)

On the other hand, It is prone to unnecessary editions of posts!!

If there is a minor modification in the posts, then it could be done without any credits.. if there is heavy modification required, then it's better to post a new answer. There is no wrong thing I guess.

If there are more than one editions .. then complexity goes on building.

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A few points I didn't see in the other answers:

  1. "Sharing" points should go both ways. If upvotes can be shared with an editor, downvotes should be shareable too.

  2. In the few months I've been on SO, it seems to me that people are pretty stingy with their votes -- and that's when it doesn't cost them anything for an upvote!

    I estimate that very few people will share points with an editor... (1) Most people aren't wired that way, and (2) Now there will be a cost to do the right thing.

    Anyone who shares should definitely get a badge. If they share, say, 10 times; they should be up for sainthood. :)

  3. There might be an increase in spurious edits (my guess is it won't be big). So, to combat sabotage or gaming, a "ban" button might be needed. If User-X gets 10 "bans" within a week/month, then he is prohibited from editing other people's stuff for some period of time.

All that said, I would like to have the ability to share points with an editor, and I think the net effect will be positive and fairer.

I just don't expect the feature to be used overmuch, and it seems like a lower priority than some bugs I can think of.

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+1 for valuable points :) –  InfantPro'Aravind' Nov 18 '10 at 14:24
1  
If the OA (original answerer) didn't like edits, can't they just revert or delete entirely rather than needing to be able to push off negative votes. I generally like symmetry, but don't see how sharing down votes helps in a way that isn't already addressable with existing tools. –  bmike Feb 10 '12 at 18:20

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