Request based on this question and @Dave Newton's comment

An edit checker can be used for simple invalid edits for

  • Single whitespace at the end of a line and just before a carriage return or new line
  • Adding a carriage return or new line at the end of the text body


New options can be added to this list but I guess SX sites needs an edit-checker.

  • 2
    Character limit? At any limit, there will be overlap between the levels of illegitimate editing and perfectly innocent editing from experienced and/or helpful users. Oct 8, 2013 at 12:13
  • I mean minimum limit, but it may not be needed for a finely adjusted checker
    – Mp0int
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:15
  • 1
    The limit is already in place for users below 2k where the edit will have to be reviewed. If you add the limit for the users above 2k, you'll never be able to fix simple typos.
    – user213634
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:15
  • Oppss, then I am editing my question with that knowledge...
    – Mp0int
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:16
  • I guess I fail to see the point. Are these edits actively harmful that we really need another automatic tool to prevent something that is only annoying? Oct 8, 2013 at 12:18
  • @psubsee2003 Wouldn't a post becoming CW due to such edits deserve the "harmful" title?
    – nikolas
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:23
  • @psubsee2003 I noticed two users (may be one user with two separate accounts) with high reputation and too(ooo) many one whitespace edits. That is annoying since he is probably a badge hunter and hes edits are illegal. Also mods and users have to spend time to fix their edits
    – Mp0int
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:25
  • @nijansen it takes a lot of edits for a post to become CW, and if the OP complains about it, it is easily undone, so I would say no, not really. Oct 8, 2013 at 12:25
  • @psubsee2003 I follow the OP insofar that if the edit only add whitespace that has no semantic value and is invisible to a human user, then it is needless and can't really serve any purpose other than allowing to retract a vote. But IMO this feature seems to be so rarely used that I wouldn't think it was worth the effort. Perhaps if we got some compelling data on it.
    – user213634
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:26
  • @FallenAngel I don't think in this case it was a badge hunter as much as a serial upvote-retractor.
    – user213634
    Oct 8, 2013 at 12:27
  • I get the point that the white space edits are annoying, but what fixing needs done? If it is just white space, does it really need fixed? From the stand point of the edits, nothing needs fixed so that's not a valid argument.... @AndersUP now that might be a valid point. I hadn't considered the aspect of retracting votes en-masse Oct 8, 2013 at 12:29
  • 1
    @FallenAngel the reason I am objecting is I am objecting to the need for another automatic tool to block something that is just annoying and not harmful. However, a tool that would flag mods if a user is making numerous edits like this, I could support because it puts human eyes on an activity that might be harmful. Oct 8, 2013 at 12:35
  • @psubsee2003 Take a look at this - same user. So rare that the serial-reversal script has not yet been amended to handle the situation, according to the answer by Oded.
    – user213634
    Oct 8, 2013 at 13:08
  • 1
    @AndersUP yeah, I saw it after my initial objection but it still doesn't change. Do we need an another automatic filter for one off edits? No. Do we need a mechanism to automatically flag for mod attention for scenarios such as this where someone is abusing the system> Yes. I hate to give more work to the mods, but stuff like this needs human eyes not a computer acting on its own. Oct 8, 2013 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


Given the events of the morning (at least the UTC morning), it's clear that the ability to make minor edits, such as what was described in the linked post, can be used to abuse specific features of the network. However there is a big step between a single edit that adds whitespace, and wholesale abuse of the system, and had a block been in place, nothing would be changed except we'd have a bigger mess to clean up.

Why do I think it wouldn't have prevented anything? The simple fact is the individuals in question were determined to perform the actions they did. It takes a lot of effort to manually edit that many posts to just add white space just to be unable to undo that many votes.

The point is, if someone is determined enough to do this, then they are going to find a workaround regardless of the roadblocks that are thrown at them. Rather than adding white space, they might have added text to a post to make it look like a legit edit (which would have been worse as now we would have a huge mess to clean up) to get around this proposed prohibition. In the end, there's no fail safe in the world that would have prevented the actions of those individuals so this check is an unnecessary step.

I would rather see the efforts spent on putting together a serial editing script that can generate flags for Mods or 10K users if a specific user is performing numerous similar edits across multiple posts in a short time frame. This would put intelligent human eyes on something so a proper judgement can be made, rather than a boolean good/bad decision as a computer could make.

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