I would like to know what is generally accepted when it comes to serially going through a user's posts to correct grammar/make edits. I do not intend this to be antagonizing in any way, and I really wasn't sure of how to phrase the previous sentence properly and concisely while not sounding kinda like it.

Sometimes I see a user who has a post needing editing, and for one reason or another I'll look at his profile. If I also happen to navigate to another question that he has asked/answered which looks intriguing it may also be one that (I think) needs editing, though I don't edit it.

Now I've only gone so far as the first edit (the one I inadvertently stumble upon), because I'm still on the fence:

  1. Will the user find it odd/annoying/infuriating that I've gone through every one of his posts to edit them? I'm talking about real edits; I'm not looking for easy fixes.

  2. Does the benefit to the content of the site outweigh how the user may feel? The consensus on things like "Hi", "Thanks", etc on posts leads me to believe that it might.

  3. Sometimes these are posts that receive very large amounts of views. So these posts are very visible to Googlers and others. Since these posts seem to attract a lot of people, and in doing so seem to represent the site/draw people to SE, shouldn't they be as clear as possible? I would think yes, but if I happen to find a post through a user's profile (because it looked interesting, probably due to the number of views it has) I don't believe I'm impartial anymore.

Since I would be making suggested edits I would certainly not be filling up the review queue with this kind of stuff, but I feel like this might apply to those who can make edits freely as well. I'm not sure if this is considered bad etiquette, especially since the user may feel targeted (regardless of whether the post needs editing).

Short version: Is it acceptable to serially edit users?

  • 2
    I wouldn't bother with systematically fixing all of their posts. Why be their personal proofreader? If their profile is a mess, tell them so in a comment and leave the grammatical edits to the community for crowdsourcing.
    – user102937
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 21:49
  • I agree, being their personal proofreader would be silly. But to your tip...wouldn't that become serial downvoting? And thanks for the duplicate link, never saw that in my searches.
    – Hydronium
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 21:53
  • Ack. Don't do that either. The general rule of thumb is this: Edit or vote the post you arrive at organically.
    – user102937
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 21:55
  • @RobertHarvey Heh, ok. Though, the duplicate post seems to be saying that I should be editing? Your own quote in the duplicate says "Good? Yes.", and Chris F. only really warns about edit wars. Has your opinion changed, the way your first comment here seems to mean? And should that original question be the answer to this question now, 2 years later?
    – Hydronium
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 21:57
  • 2
    You can edit all you like, if the grammatical errors make you itchy. Just know that makes you an enabler. :) There is a subset of users that manages to get past the low quality filters with the minimum possible effort and ask dozens of low-quality questions that are only marginally useful. Cleaning up such questions is just busy work, and doesn't add much value overall.
    – user102937
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 21:59
  • Fair enough, thanks. Though for the high-visibility questions, I'll definitely consider editing them.
    – Hydronium
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 22:00
  • I'm basically a grammar nazi, and will call out bad writing everywhere I see it, but I encountered a user once in the Android tag with dozens of questions littered with bad grammar and txtspk, and no one in the Android tag ever called him out on it. Apparently posting your programmer questions from your cell phone using your thumbs is de rigueur in the Android tag. Needless to say, there's no way I'm gonna fix all those posts. If the Android community doesn't care, why should I?
    – user102937
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 22:04
  • I suppose, but it does have to start somewhere no? Interesting link. Not sure I've ever encountered that, or I just didn't notice.
    – Hydronium
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 22:08
  • If it's a significant problem, flag one of the user's post using the Custom Description option, and ask a mod to message them. I wouldn't hold your breath, though. These folks think they're being hip. Note that the user I mentioned has apparently made an effort to improve. I guess he finally got the memo.
    – user102937
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 22:10


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