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I liked this suggestion so much — and think it makes a poor 20k ability (sorry Andy) — that I'm suggesting it directly:

Temporarily lock questions from being edited, to prevent ridiculous edit wars like this one.

This could be handled by automatically locking any post with E edits in T minutes. It could be limited to just a day or two, then automatically unlocked, if moderators finding time to review the post is a concern. However, it could require a new locking type, as I believe posting comments on these questions might still be useful.

For E=10, T=60, I don't remember any false positives (barring quickly-wiki'd, discussed below), but it would cover the mentioned case, the "bomb effing USA" troll (okay, he used several posts, but it would've slowed him down and reduced frustration for important users), and others.

For the quickly-wiki'd problem, I have a solution as well, which would eliminate them as false positives for this feature.

I expect E and T need tweaked, with an attempt at gauging effectiveness.

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Even cooling it off for 1 hour would help. –  yhw42 Nov 13 '10 at 6:03
I concur with @yhw42. Overall, though, an excellent idea. –  IAbstract Nov 14 '10 at 6:41

2 Answers 2

It's a good idea -- we had this slated during The Great Edit Wars but demand for it seemed to wane over time.

It's probably safe to auto-lock (for a set duration) based on a heuristic of a very large number of edits by a small # of users in a small amount of time.

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Would a 1 hour cool-off period (for example) be triggered if a post is edited 5 times within 2 minutes? It is rare, but in the event that I continue to find grammatical errors or ways to clarify a question, would I trigger a cool-off? –  IAbstract Nov 14 '10 at 6:40
@dboarman: That sounds like accidental conflicts (when a question is new) rather than intentional edits/reverts, and the latter is the focus of this. Incidentally, the linked suggestion fixes those (as I'm sure other suggestions would as well), which should eliminate them from being false positives on the "edit war" trigger proposed here. –  Gnome Nov 14 '10 at 8:10

Edit wars are so extremely rare that we don't need an automated system to deal with them.

Just wait until a moderator can jump in, usually it doesn't take very long.

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I also thought about this, then realized I'd seen it happen three times with plenty of frustration and aggravation; even counting for only finding one through meta, how many times have I not seen it? My usual 10:1 ratio to estimate that is still a drop in SO's bucket, but I'm throwing this out there because I think it could be worthwhile. –  Gnome Nov 13 '10 at 7:57

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