When going through the edit queue, I saw 2 edit suggestions which included un-necessary edits.

The interesting thing is that these un-necessary edits weren't there to actually edit the post. they're there to get around arbitrary blockades that SO sets up.

One to allow someone to undo their apparently incorrect downvote

If you want to prevent tactical downvoting, than you don't have to refund the voter's reputation if he decides to remove his downvote but would otherwise be blocked.

and one to dance around the 6 char edit limit.

Some of the most common and most crucial mistakes that new(and sometimes even not so new) users make is not formatting code blocks. This problem can normally be fixed 100% by white-space. and when you encourage users to hunt for other things to change, you get results like in the example.

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    It's fine to dislike it, but it's not an arbitrary restriction - its merits have been discussed here many times. – Pekka Dec 10 '12 at 16:16
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    @Pekka "discussed" doesn't mean right. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '12 at 16:18
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    You should just be rejecting these edits, rather than eliminating the restrictions. – Servy Dec 10 '12 at 16:18
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    @SamIam Well if you want to have the edit restrictions removed you're going to need to show more than just this. You're going to need an in-depth analysis of what the benefits are, what the costs are, and an explanation of why the costs are greater than the benefits. Since you haven't referenced any of the past discussions, or discussed much of what's in them, it's appropriate to refer to them (as Pekka did). – Servy Dec 10 '12 at 16:19
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    SamIam: if you disagree with them doesn't make them arbitrary though. They have been discussed, and there was a conclusion. It seems you don't agree, that's possible of course. Still, @pekka is right about them being non-arbitrary? – Nanne Dec 10 '12 at 16:20
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    @Servy certainly seems to be a higher standard than the hand-wavy "oh you have to edit every aspect of the post for the edit to be good" – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '12 at 16:25
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    Strangely enough, Jeff Atwood seems to advocate the use of the former type of edit. – user200500 Dec 10 '12 at 16:30
  • It's pretty weird that the ability to make teeny tiny but necessary/useful formatting edits is reserved for them with rep over 2000. Most of these edits are pretty obvious to anybody who has ever formatted their own code. I dont agree that the limitations are arbitrary but I dont think that that particular one was very well thought out. I would love to see the justification, it's pretty annoying – Sheena Dec 10 '12 at 16:50
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    Why approve the 6-char suggested edit then? Could have also removed the leading bio about what they were reading to easily overcome the restriction – random Dec 10 '12 at 17:15
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    @random because it actually did fix a simple and clear problem with the post: that not all the code was actually within the code block, and the extra stuff, despite not really having any positive effect, didn't have a negative effect either. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '12 at 17:17
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    So your only real gripe is the editor put "Made simple formatting edits so I can remove my downvote" instead of "Minor formatting fixes" in his suggested edit description. I don't agree that the edit was inconsequential; I would have approved it. – user102937 Dec 10 '12 at 17:38
  • @SamIam you don't get to fix "some" of the post via edit when there are outstanding issues. You get to fix "all" of the post via edit. Now, if you're not competent enough to fix "all" of the post, and you fix what you can, then that's probably acceptable, but are you really of a caliber that you should routinely be editing other people's work (note this is not an attack, this is social commentary on the populace as a whole) In this particular case, there was an easier way to fix the "six char limit" (retype two words and the system sees it as an edit, I assure you :D) – jcolebrand Dec 10 '12 at 17:39
  • I don't see anything wrong with the second edit either. – user102937 Dec 10 '12 at 17:42
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    @RobertHarvey My gripe is that the editor couldn't remove his down-vote without causing the post to be edited. I have no gripe with the suggester of the second edit, it's the hoops and obstacles in the system that he's forced to deal with. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '12 at 17:42
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    Look, what happened was what was supposed to happen. The voter edited the post, arguably in a way that improved it, and removed his downvote. That's a win win. – user102937 Dec 10 '12 at 17:46

If you are not an amazing editor who pays attention to the detail it's hard to sit down for more than 2 minutes to check what other items are wrong or need editing with a post.

Can the post not be improved in any other way?

Yes, maybe, no, I don't know? Really, there is a whole community out there willing to check it. Why do I have to do 100% of the work?

I saw something that needed fixing and I fixed it, let me bounce along with life and get on my merry way and users want to bust my balls for something else? What happened to every contribution counts?

Voting after edits

This is a valid scenario. And since there is no way to even know when the post was edited or even get notifications (other than keeping a log of every question I downvoted and looking through them), I would do the same and have done the same in the past.

Dancing the 6 char

Why 6? Why not 7 ate 9? It's arbitrary unless there is some magic data sheet explaining the limit of triviality as chars approach 6 in some mathematical function.

What's that? That code is actually getCode instead of getCodez let me fix that for the author so no one gets confused when answering or voting

Oh 6 char limit?

Fine, I give up, I wouldn't edit it.

Maybe your original post does not convey what needs to be said to the popular meta fanatic, but below the surface there are deeper flaws in Stack Exchange working against providing contributions and natural user flows that is failing to be addressed such that all you can say about them are that they are...


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  • All contributions do count, but some -- the contributions of reviewers -- count for more than others. – jscs Dec 10 '12 at 18:33
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    @JoshCaswell "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" – phwd Dec 10 '12 at 18:39
  • You didn't say equal, you said count. It's perfectly valid for some contributions to be more valuable. – jscs Dec 10 '12 at 18:40
  • @JoshCaswell and you said the -- the contributions of reviewers -- which is in itself is illogical unless they are improving the post. In a small scoped set you are stating that these edits are not as valuable when they go through the review queue, yet it seems perfectly okay when the user passes the privilege rep level to make their own trivial edits. Thus the saying. – phwd Dec 10 '12 at 18:49
  • Reviewers are contributing to the site by making sure that suggested edits aren't more harmful than helpful. – jscs Dec 10 '12 at 19:00
  • @JoshCaswell chuckle, reviewers are helping the site Again you are isolating reviewers placing them in this ideal world like they are chosen ones when in fact they can be as unhelpful as the user suggesting the edit. Reviewers == Users. So back to square one, all users are equal but some users are more equal than others – phwd Dec 10 '12 at 19:08
  • They are contributing their time. Hopefully they are helping, just as hopefully suggesters are helping. Bad reviewers are such an issue precisely because the gatekeeping function is more significant. Robo-reviews of good suggestions are not a thing that I would expect anyone to complain about. – jscs Dec 10 '12 at 19:15
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    @JoshCaswell It seems at though you both are arguing more about who said what, rather than anything of actual consequence. – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '12 at 20:03

You're right, they need to fix those blockages to the system. It should be a clue when lots of people have to do workarounds to get common sense things done. Instead of trying to force people on a path that doesn't allow them to fix the things that need fixing, change the system to work with the behavior that is being used.

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  • And yet all of the SE dev team and all of the current moderators of more than twelve months experience and most of the oldest high-rep of the metaheads all hold an opinion counter to your own. – jcolebrand Dec 10 '12 at 17:33
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    @jcolebrand, I have a hard time believing that you've really queried all of them. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." – Lance Roberts Dec 10 '12 at 17:43
  • I have on various occasions encountered and discussed with as many mods as I can find who are willing to discuss the matter and not one has given the first iota of a relaxation of these policies. It's entirely possible that some mods are completely unreachable, but in every interaction I have had, these restrictions have never been questioned, but instead lauded. – jcolebrand Dec 10 '12 at 17:46
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    @jcolebrand actually it has been questioned a lot. just a few years ago, Stack overflow Use to be cool. What happened? – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '12 at 18:00
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    @SamIam Ah yes, back when everybody agreed with you it was cool. Now it no longer does, the site has of course become evil without any justification. ;) – Bart Dec 10 '12 at 18:06
  • @jcolebrand, It seems to me that phwd is a moderator on one of the sites, though I'm not sure how to go about verifying that. – Lance Roberts Dec 10 '12 at 18:34
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    If you're not sure how to go about verifying that, then I really don't think you're reasonably able to make a decision about how the SE internals should work. Policy making comes after understanding. It should be as simple as clicking his name, then scrolling down (hint). You're not really helping your case here. – jcolebrand Dec 10 '12 at 18:39
  • Additionally, maybe my brain is a defective model, but I'm not really seeing phwd disagreeing here ... – jcolebrand Dec 10 '12 at 18:41
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    @jcolebrand yet, when you click his name you do find him to be a moderator at webapps.stackexchange.com , so Lance actually is correct on that note – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '12 at 18:41
  • @jcolebrand, well now that we've reached the level of insulting I guess the conversation is over. – Lance Roberts Dec 10 '12 at 18:41
  • Where did I insult? I did not insult, I made a subjective observation about my interpretation of what is required for a person to offer changes to the underlying engine. Then I answered the question you asked. Whom, and when, did I insult? – jcolebrand Dec 10 '12 at 18:43
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    @jcolebrand If you must know, the quote: "If you're not sure how to go about verifying that, then I really don't think you're reasonably able to make a decision about how the SE internals should work" Directly questions his competence, and is thus, an insult – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '12 at 18:48
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    I do question his competence, as I question the competence of all leaders. What part of that is hard to understand? If you would govern, you must be able to govern, and you must be willing to take the punishment of failure. I would rather deny the privilege than to mete out punishment. That is a subjective measure, that I personally hold. I don't think it's unjust. I don't hire a programmer without some proof he can code. – jcolebrand Dec 10 '12 at 18:54
  • So again, because I establish a level of precedent requirement, that you disagree with, how is that an insult? I'm sorry, I forgot that you got to be the CEO of the company just because you wanted to be. I'm sorry, I forgot that you were an SE employee from desire alone. How sill of me that you didn't have to show merit beforehand. – jcolebrand Dec 10 '12 at 18:55
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    @jcolebrand yeah, I think you're going somewhere weird and tangential there. Whether or not Lance knows how to easily find out whether or not someone's a mod is irrelevant, nor does it necessarily invalidate his opinion on editing limits. Cool your jets there. – Adam Lear Dec 10 '12 at 19:31

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