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Is there any reason why many posts are getting edited by non-authors soon after they are posted with almost no visible change?

I want to believe that these fictional edits are not just for give-me-that-600-edits-badge which would mean that Stack Overflow's driving force is pure vanity, but on the other hand there's no such a thing as free lunch, so I guess, either people get badges and credits for what they did, including ridiculous edits, or Q&A service won't be able to exist in the current shape.

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Can we see an example of these fictional edits? – jjnguy Dec 13 '10 at 17:32
There's plenty , but I do not want to point at particular individuals as such, I'd rather point at the whole phenomenon which I believe is not hard to notice – matcheek Dec 13 '10 at 17:33
@matcheek - are you sure that it isn't tags that are being modified? – tvanfosson Dec 13 '10 at 17:37
Two users making the same edit (fixing spelling) could be colliding. This would mean the 2nd users edits would be apparently non-existent. – ChrisF Dec 13 '10 at 17:39
99% or maybe some white spaces were added, but definitely not tags – matcheek Dec 13 '10 at 17:39
@ChrisF: that's a good point – matcheek Dec 13 '10 at 17:40
Without an example, this is extremely difficult to answer. – Rebecca Chernoff Dec 13 '10 at 17:40
@Rebecca: I do not really want to point at individuals. Did anybody notice such a practice taking place? – matcheek Dec 13 '10 at 17:42
@matcheek are you referring to minor corrections like the one I did to this post? Or edits where nothing meaningful is changed at all? If the latter, please show examples. I've not seen that happening as a widespread practice – Pëkka Dec 13 '10 at 17:45
@Pekka: I've been looking for some edits you just did, but couldn't find any, without revision control system at hand it's not apparent. What are these edits? – matcheek Dec 13 '10 at 17:50
@matcheek He changed "is" to "are" and "exists" to "exist" ( revision 2 ) – Michael Mrozek Dec 13 '10 at 17:51
@matcheek fixed some spelling errors, just to prove the point that minor edits are okay when they serve a purpose. Some people will edit typos and such when they see them - I usually don't, but I don't think there's anything wrong with doing that in principle. It would be different with completely meaningless edits, but as said, I haven't seen many of those – Pëkka Dec 13 '10 at 17:52
@matcheek Click on the time where it says 'Edited X minutes ago'. You'll see all the changes. – Tyler Carter Dec 13 '10 at 17:52
@Tyler: didn't now we've got such a feature accessible for all, blimey – matcheek Dec 13 '10 at 17:54
Read – Shog9 Dec 13 '10 at 17:54
up vote 4 down vote accepted


  • someone keeps editing and editing for no apparent reason (e.g. just to force the post to be CW),
  • two people start an edit war over whether it's called "Javascript" or "JavaScript" (with the third guy voting for "ECMAScript" just around the corner), or
  • they actually change the meaning of the post,

I don't see a problem. If some minor corrections improve the post, why not? As the FAQ says, it's kinda like sorta like bearing a certain resemblance to Wikipedia.

And since you don't want to point to any specific examples, this theoretical statement is all I can give.

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The fool! ECMAScript is completely different from JavaScript! – Aarobot Dec 13 '10 at 18:02
@Aarobot: You mean "from Javascript". – balpha Dec 13 '10 at 18:10
so not true. – Pëkka Dec 13 '10 at 18:16
@Pekka: oh come on, you just edited that Wikipedia page right now – balpha Dec 13 '10 at 18:19
bwahahaha! I edited it years ago expecting this specific moment! – Pëkka Dec 13 '10 at 18:21

I don't know what small edits other people do, but about the only thing I edit for is obvious typos (and not capitalization, either, actual mis-spellings). I do that about once or twice a month.

Are you sure you're seeing this behavior from a small group of people? Or are you actually seeing a lot of different people touching up the spelling/grammar of other's posts once or twice a week?

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