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When does the system automatically modify content (such as votes, question, answer, or comment text)?

What automatic changes does the system make to

  • questions?
  • answers?
  • comments?

This FAQ should help new users understand potentially surprising behavior to avoid erroneous bug reports and recurring questions such as new users are asking why their posts don't come out the way they typed them

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Most of what you are looking for can be found here –  Robert Harvey Jul 5 '11 at 22:38
    
@Robert: I'm not asking or an engine change or anything like that. Nor am I attempting to be belligerent. But I think we do need some place to point people when they're asking what's going on. Honestly, I don't intend to sound annoying or petulant. Really, while that recent question is the reason I was thinking about this enough to ask a question like this, I'm not trying to cast a bad light over system modifications as a whole at all. I just think it would be nice for a canonical reference to exist that would explain what's going on to people. Do you have other suggestions? –  Billy ONeal Jul 5 '11 at 22:40
    
@Robert Well yes, but that post is a bit lengthy –  Michael Mrozek Jul 5 '11 at 22:40
    
@Robert: Good idea. I'll construct answers from that post. Thanks! –  Billy ONeal Jul 5 '11 at 22:41
    
I deleted my comment after I figured out what you were doing, converted to wiki, and upvoted. </sheepish> –  Robert Harvey Jul 5 '11 at 22:42
    
@Robert: Lol -- sorry, was just worried that this would be taken as malicious. That's not my intent at all. (I'm trying to be constructive here. Plus, I don't want a big S! ) –  Billy ONeal Jul 5 '11 at 22:44
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@Billy: I've deleted mine and rolled the relevant part into your answer (the link to the changelog). –  user7116 Jul 5 '11 at 23:06
    
@sixlettervariables: Thanks! :) –  Billy ONeal Jul 5 '11 at 23:07
    
Would it be worthwhile to list common "manual" modifications such as removal of "thanks" and removal of tags from titles? These changes might also be surprising to some users. –  Rick Sladkey Jul 5 '11 at 23:25
    
@Rick: I don't think that's necessary. There are links that say "This was edited!" which show such users what's going on. –  Billy ONeal Jul 5 '11 at 23:26
    
I can tell you from experience that that indication is of no comfort to some users. But I understand your point. –  Rick Sladkey Jul 5 '11 at 23:30

1 Answer 1

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Questions

  • Questions closed as “not a real question” and “off topic” get an automatic downvote (excluding questions that get migrated elsewhere).
  • If a question is closed, its title will be rendered as Original Title [closed]
  • If a question is migrated to another site, its title will be rendered as Original Title [migrated]
  • Tags using [tag] notation are automatically stripped from titles.
  • Exclamation marks at the end of titles are converted into question marks.

Answers

All Posts

  • Greetings are removed automatically from both questions and answers before they are posted.
  • Internal links to questions are converted into links as the title of the question. For example http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/97524/list-of-reasons-for-automatic-system-content-modification gets converted into List of Reasons for Automatic System Content Modification (However, note that this is not a "live" update and only happens when the post is submitted. If the title of the linked question is later changed, the link text will not be updated unless the post containing it is edited.)

Comments

  • In comments between the post owner and only one other person, @replies to the post owner will be removed from the comment text if it is at the beginning of the comment as it is not needed (the post owner is always notified of comments on their post).
  • When a question is closed as an exact duplicate, any comments on the question containing a single URL, which points to the closed-as-duplicate-of question, are automatically removed at the time of close.

Information above is taken from: Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange.
New duplicate comment rule taken from Automatic removal of comments when a question gets closed as “exact duplicate”

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actually, the [close] / [migrated] is not appended to the title of the post, it's shown based on the type of vote –  Sathya Jul 6 '11 at 6:57
    
@Sathya: Is there any observable difference for the user whether or not it's stored in the database with the title changed or not? –  Billy ONeal Jul 6 '11 at 16:31
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@BillyONeal Well, it isn't present in the title field if they go to edit the question after it's been closed. Not sure if that makes a difference or not. –  Tim Stone Jul 6 '11 at 16:43
    
@Tim: Fair enough. @Grace Note: Thanks for fixing it. :) –  Billy ONeal Jul 6 '11 at 17:02
    
You're welcome. We actually don't have that update on the duplicate stuff shown on this site yet, to my recollection, so here's as good a place as any to get the debut. –  Grace Note Jul 6 '11 at 17:13

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