What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 128 Stack Exchange communities.

My 2 month old question (which has since been deleted) was edited by a user with editing rights in a very abusive fashion:

  1. The meaning of the question has been altered.

  2. Sentences and sources were removed so that people now post answers that I have originally mentioned in the question.

  3. The editor started his own bounty and choose his favourite answer that was strongly opposed by me as self-smart, all-knowing and totally not answering my question. I have previously rewarded a bounty to a question that gave me helpful, specific answer.

I don't know what else to say, I find this rude and abusive. This is not rephrasing or fixing a typo, the user has altered the meaning of my question and imposed his answer. That question is displayed under my account - my real name - and I strongly disagree with anyone putting his words into my mouth.

Moreover I can't see any added value in the edit - it is now asking a different question. It is said SO is run by the community but if it means that individuals can publish under your name whatever fits their purpose I am considering leaving StackOverflow.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Rosinante, hims056, Lance Roberts, Toon Krijthe, Martijn Pieters Apr 3 '13 at 6:32

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

6  
@daniel: You get more and more privileges as your reputation increases, but we still have separate users with even higher moderator rights (with a ♦ next to their name). Since moderator abuse would be more serious than a single user doing something you don't like, Arjan has edited this question to make that clear. –  Jan Fabry Jan 11 '11 at 11:21
    
Cool, that makes sense. –  daniel.sedlacek Jan 11 '11 at 11:34
    
@daniel: And also something to remember: up- or downvotes to questions on meta should not be taken personally, they are more an indication "I agree"/"I disagree", so the person who downvoted this (not me) maybe just disagrees that this is a case of abusive editing, not that you should not have written the question. –  Jan Fabry Jan 11 '11 at 11:35
54  
Please do not vote for bobince's answer? Seriously? –  Pëkka Jan 11 '11 at 13:23
25  
George Stocker's edit is not abusive in the slightest in my view. –  badp Jan 11 '11 at 13:35
    
@daniel.sedlacek Stackoverflow is You! So don't leave us all alone. –  abel Jan 11 '11 at 14:13
30  
Hi folks, thanks for helpful answers, I have learned two things: 1. StackOverflow is not help forum and It's my fault that I expected certain things. 2. I do not own my questions and they can be used as a cornerstone to a more abstract questions, even if it changes the original meaning. I think I can live with that if I adjust my expectations. Thanks. –  daniel.sedlacek Jan 11 '11 at 15:02
7  
Nice to see this is sorted. @Daniel thanks for listening to the arguments. –  Pëkka Jan 11 '11 at 15:10
    
@daniel, remember that you can do a rollback anytime on the edit. –  Lance Roberts Jan 11 '11 at 19:00

6 Answers 6

up vote 51 down vote accepted

I can understand you were surprised to see the edits to your question, but as an outsider I would say that they are not really that substantial. But if you really want to use your phrasing feel free to roll it back.

You will always retain the power to choose one of the answers as the one that helped you the most by accepting it. It will appear at the top of the list, even above other answers that got more votes by other users in the community.

Separate from that, it happens more that people upvote an answer they like but that is not the most useful for you personally. It may be that it is more generic and thus applies to more people, but again, this should not stop you from accepting the answer that helped you most. I would not have written the lines "warning" people not to upvote that answer: maybe you started an unintended Streisand effect?

Also separate from that, everyone has the possibility to put a bounty on a question and reward a user for an answer they think deserves it. This may or may not be the answer you liked the most, or that got the most upvotes.

This combines to make the most out of your original question: you get an answer you like, you reward the user who gave it, the answer can get more general so it appeals to more people, a visitor can see what answer "the community" liked the most, and individual rewards can be given.

Please don't leave the Stack Overflow community because of this. It might get some used to, but it should not be a reason to leave.

share|improve this answer
5  
+1 I was writing an answer, but this, in substance says most of what I wanted to say. You (Daniel) got the answer that helped you, you accepted it, I don't see why it's a problem if other people find bobince's answer better or more useful. –  Benjol Jan 11 '11 at 11:34
1  
+1 A great answer on so many levels. –  Cody Gray Jan 11 '11 at 11:53
2  
Clear and friendly answer. –  abel Jan 11 '11 at 13:10
5  
Hi folks, thanks for helpful answers, I have learned two things: 1. StackOverflow is not help forum and It's my fault that I expected certain things. 2. I do not own my questions and they can be used as a cornerstone to a more abstract questions, even if it changes the original meaning. I think I can live with that if I adjust my expectations. Thanks. –  daniel.sedlacek Jan 11 '11 at 15:05
5  
Let me explain my call to ignore bobince's answer: I was asking for real life workflow tips and because I didn't get any useful answer I decided to earn my first 50 points to set up a bounty. It helped, I got attention but certain people started to promote one vague answer that states "web is constantly evolving and there is not one single point of reference" and refers you to w3.org, MSDN and ECMA. I don't find it smart, I think it's smartass. I felt I was loosing valuable real life tips because of that and I decided to speak up. The situation reminds me of xkcd.com/435. –  daniel.sedlacek Jan 11 '11 at 17:19
7  
@daniel I can see your view, but bobince is still right. For your intents and purposes, there is no defined "HTML 5" like there is a "Flash" or "Flex". What is known as HTML 5 is an incredibly chaotic collection of syntaxes and APIs, with extremely patchy support across browsers. Arguably, the right way to get into this is indeed learning the basics of the DOM, JS and so on. Still, it is of course your right to disagree with the answer - it's just not wise to single it out the way you did, that is very much frowned upon. –  Pëkka Jan 11 '11 at 21:21

The reason I even edited your question in the first place was because of the inflammatory sentence:

Please do not vote for bobince's answer, no matter how right he is it is not a helpful answer to my question.

Were that not in there, I would never have touched your question.

Since I was in there already, I took the time to edit it for clarity and to try to take the view of someone who would Google that question. I flipped a mental coin, and started out by clarifying the subject line.

It originally said:

HTML5 - recommended workflow and tools

But that wasn't the full story, was it? Were you looking for workflow and tools? or were you really asking,

'Hey, I'm coming from a Flash Background, I'd like to learn HTML5, what are some good resources for me to get started?'

So that explains the title.

Now, let's get into the meat and potatoes of my edit:

  1. Not everyone who visits the question is going to want narrow answers: They may want good links to W3Schools. They may not know what W3Schools is. However, you'll notice that even removing that clause didn't lead to a deluge of 'Use W3Schools' answers, did it? That's because Stack Overflow rewards complete answers. It's more of a feeling than an outright scientific truth, but I've seen time and again that the more complete an answer is, the more upvotes it gets. You'll notice only one person put in a W3Schools link, and while it doesn't help you, it's potentially helpful to someone else stumbling on the question, and if the community thinks it's a good answer, they'll vote it up. If not, then there's really nothing for you to worry about.

  2. You asked about 9 questions in a one question answer. It really didn't have a theme, so I tried to break the question into some logical sections so that someone reading it wouldn't have a hard time following it. A better looking question gets better answers. Again, not a scientific truth, just something I've seen from being around here.

  3. I removed the 'tips and tricks' because that's awfully close to a List of X question, and those are not welcome on Stack Overflow. I didn't want your question closed by someone because it looked like a List of X question.

  4. Finally, I edited the question so that it would stand the test of time. The smileys and 'hi' and the school-room touch are cute, but they degrade the quality of the encyclopedic nature of the question. If someone comes from Google, they really don't care that you are thanking people, or that you put a smiley, or that you were being cute; they really just want a good answer to their question. That's the litmus test for a good question: Pageviews and how 'Googleable' it is. "How do I get started with HTML5' is very googleable -- that's a question I can see someone googling. I can't, however, see them googling 'Workflow and Tools' over it.

  5. The edit gave your question visibility. It received 5 more upvotes after I edited your question, and now it's on the radar because now it's easy to search for.

As for putting a bounty on the question and giving it to Bobince, I did that because there is value in his answer, and I thought it unfair for you to summarily dismiss his answer.

Bottom line: None of your inner questions were changed; all that happened was that the fluff was removed and the title was changed to focus on the crux of what you were actually asking.

I consider it rude to call out answerers negatively in your question, and that's what I thought you had done with that edit about bobince (I'm not the only one, editors generally edit that stuff out anyway).

As always, if you believe someone is abusively editing your posts (or showing malice in their edits), please contact a moderator (by flagging the post) or post here on Meta (If it's really abusive then contacting the moderator is the way to go -- if you just don't like the edit then posting here is a good idea).

share|improve this answer
14  
These edits do seem to be consistent with Joel's recommendations on the blog. See The Wikipedia of Long Tail Programming Questions if you haven't already. –  Bill the Lizard Jan 11 '11 at 13:47
13  
There is nothing wrong with this edit at all. Nor is there anything wrong with offering bounties on other people's questions and rewarding other, equally useful answers - especially when they provide detail that allows the accepted answer to get to a solution. –  user142852 Jan 11 '11 at 13:52
6  
There was however a certain lack of nice in predetermining who receives the bounty. Awarding two days after it was advertised means there wasn't really a fair chance for a new broad answer to win it. And if OPs crude wording triggered the edit, then that makes it appear to be just a revenge bounty. –  mario Jan 11 '11 at 14:02
8  
Why revenge and not just appreciation, @mario? (Especially as bobince's answer was posted before the OP's 2nd revision?) –  Arjan Jan 11 '11 at 14:10
    
@Arjan, well it appeared somewhat reactive. I didn't want to blow this out of proportion, just my initial thought. And I can see how that might have upset the OP. –  mario Jan 11 '11 at 14:17
2  
Or, it could be argued, offering a bounty and then automatically awarding it (I'm guessing you have to wait 2 days) is a way of saying "I agree with that answer more have a share of the rep". It doesn't have to be of malicious intent. I don't know, of course, whether it was done "in revenge" but I don't think so; malicious comments were removed from the OP and George chose to award some of his rep to Bobince. I don't think it was any more complicated than that. –  user142852 Jan 11 '11 at 14:17
5  
Hi folks, thanks for helpful answers, I have learned two things: 1. StackOverflow is not help forum and It's my fault that I expected certain things. 2. I do not own my questions and they can be used as a cornerstone to a more abstract questions, even if it changes the original meaning. I think I can live with that if I adjust my expectations. Thanks. –  daniel.sedlacek Jan 11 '11 at 15:03
3  
"It received 5 more upvotes after I edited your question, and now it's on the radar because it's easily to search for." <-- Correlation is not causation... editing a question bumps it back to the top of the Interesting (front) page, and adding a bounty bumps it to the Featured page. Neither have anything to do with rewording it to make it easier to search for, but both have the effect of attracting more views, which also has the effect of attracting more votes. –  Powerlord Jan 11 '11 at 16:35
1  
Let me explain my call to ignore bobince's answer: I was asking for real life workflow tips and because I didn't get any useful answer I decided to earn my first 50 points to set up a bounty. It helped, I got attention but certain people started to promote one vague answer that states "web is constantly evolving and there is not one single point of reference" and then refers you to w3.org, MSDN and ECMA. I don't find it smart, I think it's smartass. I felt I was loosing valuable real life tips because of that and I decided to speak up. The answer reminds me of xkcd.com/435. –  daniel.sedlacek Jan 11 '11 at 17:21
1  
But, @Daniel, you started the bounty after you called out to not upvote bobince, which was after you changed your question after bobince answered. I'm confused now! –  Arjan Jan 11 '11 at 17:28
    
@Arjan, that is right, the point is I didn't have what I was looking for, valuable real life workflow tips and I felt that people were attracted/distracted by bobince's philosophical truth both before and after the bounty. –  daniel.sedlacek Jan 11 '11 at 17:39
1  
@Daniel, I meanwhile understand that you felt like that, but to me it still reads as a good answer to your original question, especially as you were even asking for an SDK. –  Arjan Jan 11 '11 at 17:42
1  
"As for putting a bounty on the question and giving it to Bobince, I did that because there is value in his answer, and I thought it unfair for you to summarily dismiss his answer. " It's hard to see this as anything but an abuse of the bounty system. The point of the bounty system is to get new, better answers (as per the SO FAQ), but you intentionally did it to award an existing answer with a bonus. –  Powerlord Jan 11 '11 at 18:35
14  
@R. Bemrose See the FAQ for Bounties: It's permitted for: [...] you can award your bounty to any answer on the question. This makes it possible for users to reward particularly good answers with more rep than a standard upvote would provide. –  George Stocker Jan 11 '11 at 18:46
    
@Powerlord "Correlation is not causation" -- What you really want here is "post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy". "It's hard to see this as anything but an abuse of the bounty system." -- No, actually, it's not. –  Jim Balter Jun 13 '12 at 21:24

+1 for speaking out. It will help the community and perhaps help you too.

You need to chill. The community on Stack Overflow is generally very friendly. Being good is almost a philosophy on Stack Overflow. Users with a high reputation are assets to the community. These are the people who have moderator level powers and these users generally have excellent conduct.

The question in question:

Your final version of the question: daniels version

Final version after being collaboratively edited final version showing edits

Stack Overflow is a collaboratively edited Q&A site. faq on collaborative nature of stackoverflow: screenshot

As other answerers have already stated, the question seems to have been edited for clarity.

Did the user do right by removing the line where you ask people to not vote for bobince? Maybe, Yes.

When you ask a question, people post answers and if the answer is agreeable to other users they upvote it else they add their your own answers. **If you do not like an answer down vote it (or add a comment or just look away). **If you find a post abusive, flag it. While you may have the right to ask other users to not do a certain thing, expect them to exercise their right to do as they please. Bobince's question was not abusive and was in good faith. Your appeal to users to not vote for that question may have been in good faith too, but may not have looked to other users as such. Yet, George Stocker offered a bounty and waited for 2 days before offering the bounty to bobince (thus indicating that the bounty award was not to spite you for your appeal).

On your question, only you can mark a post as the answer. No one else can. Hence the selected answer on your question is what you selected as an answer and not what George Stocker awarded his bounty to.

Bounties are offered to attract more answers to a question. You can award a bounty on your own question and select a post to which you wish to award the bounty before the bounty expires.

Stack Overflow users can award bounties on questions asked by others. This is done if the user wishes for more answers to the question. IMHO it is a good and generous thing to do, because when a user awards bounty on his own question, due to greater views the user may reasonably expect some upvotes and thus some reputation in return for awarding the bounty (in addition to the expectation of a better answer). A third-party bounty giver does not have this temptation, he is in it purely for a better answer.

You can still re-edit the question and some other (sufficiently privileged) user can edit it again. No matter what happens the question will reflect that it has been edited and will offer a link to all the edits done.

The content you post belongs to the community in a good way. Stack Overflow uses a CC-by-SA license which makes your content available to others as their own, while still safeguarding your moral rights.

Finally earning reputation is not the goal of Stack Overflow, making available better answers to the community and making the Internet a better place is what Stack Overflow strivers for.

You have been for 2 months on Stack Overflow (with your current user account) which is a sufficient time to get a feel of how the community works, but it is never too late to learn.

As far as your allegation of removing sources is concerned, I couldn't find one, but it may have missed my attention.

In good faith...

share|improve this answer
    
George removed a link to W3Schools, which was basically the entirety of a new answer that was given after he started the bounty, which might have been the edit that prompted that part about removing sources –  Yi Jiang Jan 11 '11 at 12:50
    
@Yi Good point. But was it a link or a reference? Nonetheless, it might have been an oversight on part of George. Looks more like misunderstanding than malafide intent. –  abel Jan 11 '11 at 12:56
1  
As an aside: Abel, @YiJiang needs at least 3 characters to trigger a notification. Which is taken care of now. ;-) –  Arjan Jan 11 '11 at 13:15
    
@arjan very helpful. thank you! :) –  abel Jan 11 '11 at 13:16
    
+1 for including screenshots, as the links to the original question don't seem to work anymore. Also for making clear that the edits were perfectly reasonable. –  JBentley Apr 3 '13 at 1:10

That edit seems right to me: it made the question more general, and as a bonus the bounty gave it some more attention and might have gotten all of us (including you) new answers that could have changed your insight. It even might have gotten you some upvotes!

According to The Wikipedia of Long Tail Programming Questions:

It is OK to edit a question to make it more general. With the power of editing comes the power to take someone’s selfish, very specific question, and edit it a little bit until they’re asking the more general question that hundreds of people encounter.

Stack Overflow is not a help forum. As for considering to leave Stack Overflow, see also the FAQ:

Other people can edit my stuff?!

Like Wikipedia, this site is collaboratively edited, and all edits are tracked. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your questions and answers being edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

As for your:

Please do not vote for bobince's answer, no matter how right he is it is not a helpful answer to my question.

Again: Stack Overflow is not a help forum. Even more: you added your "I understand that what is often labelled as "HTML5 development" is in fact a [...]" only after bobince answered, kind of invalidating that answer by changing your question.

share|improve this answer
    
Let me explain my call to ignore bobince's answer: I was asking for real life workflow tips and because I didn't get any useful answer I decided to earn my first 50 points to set up a bounty. It helped, I got attention but certain people started to promote one vague answer that states "web is constantly evolving and there is not one single point of reference" and refers you to w3.org, MSDN and ECMA. I don't find it smart, I think it's smartass. I felt I was loosing valuable real life tips because of that and I decided to speak up. The situation reminds me of xkcd.com/435. –  daniel.sedlacek Jan 11 '11 at 17:22

This seems like a complaint, not a question, but anyway:

It seems to me like Stack Overflow is working correctly here -- you got a useful answer to your question, and there's also a separate answer a bunch of other people consider useful.

While the question itself is no longer in your own words, that's the nature of community editing (and I see that you've agreed you can live with that now that you understand the expectation).

To me, reading this all after the fact, the edits don't seem abusive.

On the "don't vote for answer X" question, which really got this controversy started, I can see how after asking a question and getting certain answers which aren't exactly what you wanted, you might want to steer people in another direction, but I'd encourage you to do this in a more constructive tone than "don't vote for the answer by [name]", especially when the answer is useful to a lot of other people and just not to you. People get their own votes to do with as they wish; that's what "vote" means!

share|improve this answer

I make the following points without having read the question and the edited contents and am agreeing with any side of the issue:

  1. There's a button right there for you called "rollback". You can use that and add a comment making it clear that you don't appreciate the edit. If you have a valid point and the editor made a forced edit again, you can flag the post for moderator attention.

  2. There's nothing wrong with starting a bounty on someone else's question.

  3. The FAQ clearly states that:

Like Wikipedia, this site is collaboratively edited, and all edits are tracked. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your questions and answers being edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .