Using the review queue for Suggested Edits I've noticed there's a user editing questions and answers for "better highlights". This is basically making the most relevant words (to the user's criteria) bold.

Seeing a number of them are getting approved, are these kind of edits considered good edits? It would be appropriate for a number of them to use code blocks instead (this might be related to Please list code highlighting before bold and italics in Stack Overflow's editing help). The other ones, in my opinion, just blot the post. I really don't think I'd like to see bold everywhere around when reading a question/answer.

Would it be appropriate in this case to flag a post for moderator attention (as explained in Is it possible to flag an edit for abuse?)

They seem to keep coming even after flagging a post for mod attention. I've left a comment to the user, but it doesn't look like he's going to give up on his "better highlights" editing spree.

A similar thing happened some months ago with italics. The linked questions there already seem to address the underlying issue:


2 Answers 2


These are terrible edits.

There is absolutely not need to bold the "relevant words" inside a post - this only generates noise and makes a post harder to read.

So, yes - this user should definitely be flagged. These are not helpful or useful edits - they, in my opinion, are actively harmful.

  • 2
    Indeed. Not to mention it's yielding rep to said user. Dec 13, 2012 at 12:30
  • 2
    Problem is he/she is making some useful edits at the same time in some questions. Some of the edits are fixing capitalization and grammar mistakes at the same time as the "highlighting". Some of the things he highlighting might fit as code and not highlight. I think he generally believes he is helping, so it is just a matter of someone telling him it is not appropriate. Dec 13, 2012 at 12:44
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    And the sad thing is, we focus on the user now, but it's really the reviewers causing all the trouble. After a couple of proper rejections, the message would have most likely been clear to the user. But now it gets accepted, so he "must be doing something right". :(
    – Bart
    Dec 13, 2012 at 13:24
  • @Bart Couldn't agree more. The community should be sensible enough to reject these edits. Dec 13, 2012 at 13:26
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    I've tried to go through and reject some of the worst edits when they come up in the queue so hopefully he gets a 7-day banned just to slow him down and maybe even make him come to MSO so we can explain it Dec 13, 2012 at 13:33
  • @Bart or Oded is there a faq for "How To Edit". Seems like that would be useful to point people who are not editting the best. Dec 13, 2012 at 14:41
  • @psubsee2003 - Perhaps this? stackoverflow.com/privileges/edit
    – Oded
    Dec 13, 2012 at 14:42
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    @psubsee2003 Not that I know of. At least not in a form that would address what this user was doing. Let's hope the message is clear now. Though it's really not this user who is the problem. If the majority of such edits get through review, the review system is broken. How do we expect users to learn what good edits are when those who review don't seem to know.
    – Bart
    Dec 13, 2012 at 14:48
  • @Bart, absolutely, definitely not the users fault, but a faq that maybe pulls together all of the varied MSO posts on appropriate editing might be useful. Then maybe there could be a link in suggested edit after it is rejected so the suggester can learn more Dec 13, 2012 at 14:51
  • @Oded I was thinking more detail and contain specific instructions as to what "substantial" means, when code formatting is appropriate, and things to look for like tags in titles, salutations, tags likes, thanks. Dec 13, 2012 at 14:54
  • @psubsee2003 - Unfortunately "substantial" is very open to interpretation...
    – Oded
    Dec 13, 2012 at 14:55
  • @Oded I know :-) I was hoping that if we got it into a faq, it would help clarify it Dec 13, 2012 at 14:56

It is rather difficult to find text that needs to be highlighted in bold.
I would understand formatting text as code, when it is code (a function, method, or class names), but not highlighting as code something that is not code.

Then, it is valid the usual rule: Is there anything that needs to be improved? If there is something else that needs to be improved, and the suggested edit is just changing the formatting of a word, it is too minor.

  • 4
    You’re spot on the money about finding it difficult to find text that needs bold highlighting. I’ve no idea why, I’m now seeing a huge whole lot of this over-emboldened text coming through on the initial posts, whether questions or answers. I feel like it’s pejorating not ameliorating, and I don’t understand why. It almost like people are constantly yelling at you in all caps. There is no need for that.
    – tchrist
    Aug 18, 2014 at 4:00

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