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I'm not around as often as I used to be, and I'm rarely if ever on Meta to know if the subject has been raised, but...

My belief is that accounts are attempting to game the edit privilege for rep, and lately I'm seeing people attempt to revert to the original content. The latest one I experienced, the English was barely comprehensible (no offense to the OP; I try to tread lightly when dealing with obvious ESL).

I've seen accounts combing for simple typos, like "fnction" and "funtcion" but leaving everything else. And there's someone who distinctly does not like contractions...

Is it time to remove the rep incentive for editing when performed by those who benefit from it? I'm trying to add a comment to politely tell the user to be more judicious when editing, because it is a privilege. Unless it's a ploy to attract registered users, because it's seldom anonymous edits that I see...

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The only way to game the edit privilege for rep, is if higher rep users are approving the edits. If somebody has made a small change to a post and left the rest in a mess then those with more experience should be rejecting it... If they're not, then that would seem to be a different problem. –  forsvarir Jul 13 '11 at 7:03
    
@forsvarir: Moderation is a necessary evil, and performing it means not being able to accumulate rep -- most aren't interested (that's my impression when the counter runs up past 20) –  OMG Ponies Jul 13 '11 at 7:08
    
All 10k users have suggested edit approval privileges, and this has nothing to do with being a moderator. And neither status prevents the user from gaining rep. I don't really know what you mean. Even ♦ moderators can fully participate on the site, asking questions and posting answers, both of which can gain them reputation. –  Cody Gray Jul 13 '11 at 7:12
    
@Cody Gray: Diamond or not, approving edits is moderation. Same as tags... –  OMG Ponies Jul 13 '11 at 7:16
    
It isn't just those who game the privilege for rep, it's also (in a few cases) those who have the privilege gaming for badges. –  Tim Post Jul 13 '11 at 7:21
    
@Tim Post: There will always be gaming - badges or rep, it's the same (both are arbitrary things that have no real value). I'm irritated by the behavior, but the larger issue is if the SO community suffers when a decent edit is reversed solely for someone to get rep when they should be answering questions... –  OMG Ponies Jul 13 '11 at 7:26
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Possible duplicate of Some users gaming the edit system by searching for misspelled words. Also see: Should tiny edits be accepted or rejected in review? (although the edits in question are actually bad edits, rather than just tiny ones) –  Cody Gray Jul 13 '11 at 7:56
    
Purely because you mentioned the specific misspelling "fuction," I will direct you to this question about "minor typo fix"-style editing. –  Pops Jul 13 '11 at 14:01

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I saw the fnction guy go nuts; I was well-disposed to approving even those spelling fixes because he had previously suggested dozens of fixes for sqlite and similar, more substantive spelling fixes. (The sort that drastically affects likely search queries.)

I applauded his efforts, because he (a) found something relatively easy to do that (b) made a real improvement to the site. I felt free to hit Improve occasionally, when the edited posts really did need more attention. Were five of them equivalent to one decent answer that gets a +1? Perhaps not for fnuction, definitely not for can't -> cannot and then cannot -> can not :) but on the whole the posts (and site) were better for the edits.

Besides, they can only get +1000 that way, it's not likely to lead to enough extra privileges to abuse the system. But if it's enough incentive to fix our collective spelling mistakes, I'd say it's worth it.

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Very much agreed with your last point. There is an upper limit on the amount of reputation that can be earned this way, and you lose a lot more by disabling the suggested edits system entirely or even removing the reputation incentive. It does generally work to improve the site for everyone. –  Cody Gray Jul 13 '11 at 8:23

Yes, this is an unfortunate problem. However, the solution is already implemented and is quite simple:

     Click the "Reject" button for their suggested edit!

     this one

Or, as random says here:

People need to harden up and hit that Reject button more.

Rejecting the edit will not cause the suggesting user to gain any reputation, and having too many edits rejected will prevent the user from suggesting any more edits for a certain period of time.

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I do click the reject, but have felt the need to explain that I don't appreciate needing to in the first place. Waste of everybody's time... –  OMG Ponies Jul 13 '11 at 7:06
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@OMGPonies: Weird that you don't get a warm feeling of satisfaction just out of clicking "Reject". I don't feel the need to explain my rejection(s) to anyone. This is why we require approval in the first place. And I don't think all of these users are even gaming the reputation system. There are just as many bad edits as there are bad posts to edit in the first place. –  Cody Gray Jul 13 '11 at 7:10
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It's when I see stupidly inane edit suggestions that I practice courteously informing that I don't appreciate my effort being necessary. Otherwise, I wish TCP/IP supported the ability to punch the person on the other end =) –  OMG Ponies Jul 13 '11 at 7:13
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Yeah, imagine how different the Internet would be today if the architects of the TCP/IP standard had had the foresight to spec out that capability. –  Cody Gray Jul 13 '11 at 7:37

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