A new user posts a question quite innocently (but obviously without looking at the preview). It may be a fine question, but because of the user's use of
< in the code sections (which of course are not formatted as code), most of the question is not visible.
Because the question is in a popular tag, perhaps ten people with edit rights read it within the first minute. Five of them immediately edit it. One of them (perhaps myself) goes ahead and cleans up the text part of the question also, and still finishes editing first.
So now the question is cleaned up (except perhaps the title and tags), but four more people are still editing it. Since their edits are pretty quick to make, the simultaneous-edit warning does not kick in (not that it helps much anyway), and the question is turned to wiki within three minutes of being posted.
Besides being unfair to the new user (which may or may not be a problem, since as I mentioned the user could have prevented this by merely looking at the preview), this also penalizes those who took more than three minutes to compose an answer -- or those who stopped to improve the question before answering.
This is not the first time I've seen this happen, or I wouldn't bother myself about it.
What can be done to prevent this?
- Should the warning check more often? Is this feasible?
- Should there be a way to manually notify others that you are cleaning up the question so they don't need to? A comment could work, as long as no one had already gotten into the edit screen.
- Could edits be marked as "formatting only" and not contribute to forcing the post wiki (like this suggestion)?
- Could this be automatically detected if two consecutive revisions are the same (like revisions 3 and 4 in the example question)?
- Should rollbacks not count toward wiki status?
Five edits within the first five minutes caused a question to become CW -- probably a duplicate, but from a little different angle and posted before the simultaneous-edit warning was implemented.
(Also I'd written this whole question before finding it and it seemed like a shame to just throw it away.)