I just noticed that a question I was keeping an eye on was edited, but while the edit fixed a thing or two, it actually made some of the grammar worse within the question.

I could edit the question to correct it, but I would also like to use the review mechanism built into StackExchange to relay back to that user that their edit was grammatically incorrect.

This questionable edit was made by a user with a substantial amount of rep (>20k). I have the feeling that perhaps they are doing this to other questions as well, which does not seem good for the community. I doubt that they know what they are doing is wrong.

What is the proper way to handle a situation like this. Should there be the ability to review edits of someone with >20k rep in the post?

Edit: as animuson mentioned, this functionality is currently only implemented for users with <2k rep. So, I suppose that I am suggesting adding the ability to review user edits in the post even when a user has >20k rep. The workaround animuson and others stated is to add a comment that mentions (@'s) them. I think this is a good idea if the edit was really terrible. psubsee2003 suggests adding a comment and then deleting it immediately, so that a notification will be sent. But, in cases of what might look like grammar nitpicking, I think even a temporary comment would be distracting to those that are just interested in the question itself and not grammatically-incorrect edits. In any case though, it seems that the user that sees this problem should just make the correction.

  • Since @animuson noted that users with <2k rep are only ones that have edits placed in review queue are are reviewable within the post, I updated the question to indicate that I think even users with higher rep should have reviewable edits. – Gary S. Weaver May 28 '13 at 17:18
  • karma ... well played – ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd May 28 '13 at 17:19
  • Changed from karma to rep, even though I appreciate the kudos on my prior word choice. :) – Gary S. Weaver May 28 '13 at 17:32
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    @returnPhaDaPhunk There was a time when the trilogy's about pages' used "karma" instead of "reputation". See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/49226 – yannis May 28 '13 at 17:38
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    Regarding your last edit, depending on how nitpicky the grammar comment is, as someone reading a question (and also generally interested in the quality of the site), I could easily deal with an extra comment or 2 to help someone improve the site. – psubsee2003 May 28 '13 at 18:57

If it was a >20k user, then no, their edits don't get reviewed at all. Only users with <2k rep have their edits placed in the queue, and yes, you can review that edit straight from the post. The edit link on the post will have a (1) attached to the end of it, which means there's a pending suggested edit on it. Clicking that edit link will load up the suggested edit so you can review it, right there on the page - no need to go to the review queue.

If you're seeing users with full editing privileges making bad edits that improve some things but make other things worse, you can @-notify them in the comments. Explain what part you think should have been left alone or didn't get fixed properly - whatever the reason is. If they are continually making bad edits such as this, then either further intervention may be required, or you're not looking at their edits correctly. I can't imagine a 20k user consistently making bad edits to posts, but it certainly is possible.

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    +1 Thanks! That is gtk. But, I don't want to nitpick grammar unrelated to the question itself in the question's comments. Such comments detract from the discussion and belong on the edit itself, imo. While it would be fun to fix everyone else's bad edits, I don't have time to do that. It seems if someone else is making a lot of questionable edits, there needs to be a way to communicate that in a less-disruptive way, so that they will be more careful when editing. – Gary S. Weaver May 28 '13 at 17:08
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    @GaryS.Weaver: Well commenting is the only real way to notify them. Comments given in reject reasons on suggested edits don't even notify the user who suggested them (at least for now). Further, users with >2k reputation are trusted to make good edits, and there's no possible way to "add a comment" to the edit because their edits are very different from suggested edits. They don't get a "separate page" that lists out review history because it's not supposed to need reviewed in the first place. – animuson May 28 '13 at 17:19
  • Some users need more review than others, and I understand problems relating to scale and prioritization. However, reviewing >20k rep user edits in the post itself seems like a good idea to me, if notifications were to be sent when I would make those edits. But, notifications are not sent in that case, and I don't want to sound like a grammar nitpicker in question comments just to cause a notification to be sent. So, the best recourse in this situation seems to be to edit the question myself to fix the problems they added, even though they will continue causing clarity issues elsewhere. – Gary S. Weaver May 28 '13 at 17:27
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    @GaryS.Weaver I've never done it to a 20K user before, but when I need to ping someone who made an edit, I usually leave an @ comment, and as soon as the individual responses, I'll delete my comment and/or flag the comments so they can be deleted. Also, even if the comment is deleted, it still shows up in their inbox, so you can always leave a short message and then delete it immediately. – psubsee2003 May 28 '13 at 17:44
  • @psubsee2003 Thanks for the advice. What I worry about though is that the OP sees that back-and-forth communication when it relates to grammar rather than the question at hand. That sort of notification should be a conversation with the user that made the edit, not with the OP and everyone that has made a comment, etc. thus far. – Gary S. Weaver May 28 '13 at 17:51
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    @GaryS.Weaver - SO is a work-in-progress Q/A site. Comments about editing on questions and answers are perfectly acceptable and relevant. Feel free to use them if you think it will add to the quality of the site. You can flag comments as "obsolete" if the issues are resolved and the comments can be deleted. – JDB May 28 '13 at 18:15
  • @Cyborgx37 Thanks! To me, the comment area should be about the content of the question and small grammar-related comments will unnecessarily show up as notifications to the OP and be an annoyance. For the most part, I think the current system works, and what you are saying makes sense. This really comes down to what to do about users with >20k rep that are slightly mangling grammar as part of a partially valid edit. Should we accept mediocre edits and just clean up after them and let them continue to mangle, or should we distract others with nitpicking? Neither sounds like a perfect solution. – Gary S. Weaver May 28 '13 at 18:25
  • @GaryS.Weaver - The only thing reputation reflects is that a user is active on the site. It doesn't mean that the user is fluent in English, cares about the site or is an expert in any particular field (except in the sense that their questions/answers have been well-received by other users). If you see an issue and care to correct it, please do so. See How do comments work? – JDB May 28 '13 at 18:39
  • I chose this as the answer because it was the most informative. Also, it seems that everyone is ok with additional edits and comments being the primary way to combat grammar problems in edits made by users with higher rep. – Gary S. Weaver May 28 '13 at 19:17

You've made two assumptions here.

You've assumed that high reputation means that someone is good at coding or has a good grasp of grammar/anything. It doesn't. It means that they have more experience at using Stack Overflow.

You've also assumed that this user is utilising the same iniquitous grammar elsewhere. Without checking a fair few of their other edits this is a little unfair on the user. It's important to bear in mind that people do make mistakes, however much reputation they have. Why, one of our very own community managers broke one of my answers once, I can easily provide examples of 60k users performing crap edits and I know for a fact that I'm guilty of occasional grammatical errors (among much worse things).

If a user is consistently performing poor edits then you should do as Animuson has suggested and @ notify then in the comments. Please be polite, non-accusatory and ensure that you are correct before doing so. Do not rely on your "feeling". You may well get a pleasant response in return.

Remember that every improvement is still an improvement, though it doesn't seem to have happened in this case. Yes, it's better if everything is fixed, but it won't always be.

Lastly, you also have edit privileges. The beauty of SE is that anyone can edit almost anything. What don't you edit it before commenting?

  • Isn't his edit subsequent edit (refixing the grammer) likely to get reviewed as being too minor and rejected? – UpAndAdam Jul 29 '13 at 19:47
  • I wouldn't @UpAndAdam... I will admit it depends on the users who approve but anecdotal evidence would suggest that people are more likely to approve than not. I have one caveat for that though. If there isn't much to fix and the edit misses something (especially something highlighted in red as being incorrect spelt) I will improve and check the not-helpful box. – ben is uǝq backwards Jul 29 '13 at 19:52
  • Understood. Thanks! Always good to get re-affirmation I'm doing it right! Main case for me is I ignore a whole bunch of topics I don't know much about, people tag a bunch of random tags that aren't related at all to question and boom now I'm staring at it. I don't want to and I don't want it wasting other's time easier. – UpAndAdam Jul 29 '13 at 20:09

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