I was reading a question and found myself very confused. I saw that it had been edited recently by a 10k rep user and looked at the edit chain.

It seemed to me that the clarity and intent of the question was made substantially worse by the most recent edit. I don't know if this was just a one-off mistake by the high rep user. I could roll back his change to the previous version, or improve on it, but it seems like there might be a need for some kind of flag / reporting option as well - if this user has a history of misinterpreting questions and editing them for the worse, (and these hypothetical flags accumulate) should something change about their ability to edit with out review? Should I comment on the post with a request for the user to undo or fix their own change?

Not sure what my best option is.

I had initially left the post out of the question as I didn't want it to be a "I'm calling you out bro!" or a shaming kind of thing, but since it was requested and upvoted : Find nearest by index numbers in array less than number at given index

I think that the changes he made to the first paragraph (particularly adding the B[i] = j line) are enough of a departure from the intent of the question that it makes it more confusing.

  • 3
    Can you post a link to the question (or the edit)? Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 17:12
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    Don't be afraid to call someone out here on meta - worst case scenario, you're wrong, and you get downvoted. Any action that may seem out of place should be audited - either via a custom flag, or bringing it up here. Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 17:18
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn it's not about public shaming - it's about making sure that a user (and the community) knows that an action is wrong, and shouldn't be made again. Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 17:19
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    I don't think that's a bad edit.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 17:21
  • I agree with Mysticial, the edit looks rather positive. B[j] = i is a clarification on the existing B[i] contains index j of the element in A[j], which was arguably a little too roundabout. Maybe it should have been B[j] == i, and even that is debatable. Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 17:27
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    Fair enough. I found it to be harder to understand but that might just be a failure of my own reading comprehension, which makes me glad I decided to ask what my options were (including, I guess, double checking my own opinion) rather than acting.
    – Mikeb
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:24

3 Answers 3


Even high-rep users make mistakes. Roll it back and leave a comment explaining why. If you're not comfortable doing that, leave a comment. If you're not comfortable doing that, flag and explain the problem there.

You can also bring it up in chat if you're not feeling confident enough yourself to make the call.

  • This was an answer to the general question; the link to the specific question that prompted this MSO question came later. (So don't read my first sentence as judgement about a particular edit.) Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 17:43
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    I don't - I think that my question was more "what can I do" rather than, for this specific question, "what should be done" so I'm happy you answered the general question.
    – Mikeb
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 18:25

Looking at the context in the question you link, I fail to see how that's a "bad edit". It fixed some formatting issues, and made it overall easier to read.

It's not perfect - there probably should have been fixed (such as the extra spacing, and the blockquote surrounding the numbered list), but overall it's decent, and probably shouldn't be rolled back entirely.

As far as the one sentence you're pointing out, as far as I can tell, it conveys the same intent, with a little bit different wording. Now, I'm not an english major, but they both seem perfectly readable to me, so I think this edit is overall OK.


I've brought up issues with specific users' actions on meta and have generally been encouraged to do so if I have good reason.

I do, however, usually attempt to post a link to the discussion in a comment on the question/answer using the @user syntax, to allow them to participate and defend their actions should they wish to.

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