Some suggested edit reviews are fake and are intended to check that the reviewer is paying attention and reviewing correctly.

I recently encountered one where the fake suggested edit contained 'fuck': https://stackoverflow.com/review/suggested-edits/3138761

Despite the fact that we regularly encounter profanity online these days, and whilst it is not uncommon to encounter the word 'fuck' in blog posts by recognised authorities in the world of software development (and, I assume, in other fields), this nevertheless caught me a bit by surprise.

I have no problem with whatever strength of language someone feels is appropriate and relevant to make their point, however in the context of audit-related fake suggested edits, is the use of profanity appropriate?

Update: just to clarify, the word 'fuck' was not present prior to the fake suggested edit. The fake suggested edit added the word 'fuck' where it was not previously present.

  • 4
    "The fake suggested edit added..." Edits used for the audit are real edits. That is, at least as far as I know. Oct 15, 2013 at 14:42
  • 6
    I'm guessing fake edits are sourced from real rejected ones, that might explain the word's presence... Now that it's there, I don't really see a problem with it though, as it's clearly an edit to be rejected
    – Pekka
    Oct 15, 2013 at 14:42
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn: Let's see how long it takes that your comment is removed as offensive. Oct 15, 2013 at 14:46
  • 10
    fake edits always feel very fake, like the Stack exchange computer is making them up; always random sentences added out of context, never any commercial links etc. I had always assumed it added random sentences from other posts into the audit post Oct 15, 2013 at 14:48
  • (actual) vandalizing edits aren't much better @RichardTingle.
    – yannis
    Oct 15, 2013 at 14:54
  • 6
    According to Kevin's answer fake edits are randomly generated (rather fancily) from a few thousand random posts @perhapsPekka. Oct 15, 2013 at 14:56

3 Answers 3


While I have nothing against profanity, I do agree that it's surprising to see the word "fuck" in a professional environment. Especially in this case where you know it was generated by the system rather than an anonymous troll.

But I'd argue that, in this case, it can be very useful for catching the worst of the robo-reviewers.

We've had plenty of problems lately with "bad audits". But if someone approves a suggested edit with the word "fuck" (or any other profanity), then I'd say that's grounds to give the reviewer a lengthy vacation from reviews. Especially if they do it more than once.

While there is sometimes a good reason to use profanity in posts, I see almost no reason that a 3rd party should edit one into an existing post. And if there was a valid reason, a (well-intentioned) editor would probably give a lengthy explanation for why (s)he would insert profanity.

Though it might be overkill, imagine we have an audit escalation system. Perhaps there can be multiple "levels" of audits. Some borderline, some flagrant. If someone approves a "flagrant" suggested edit audit, they will face consequences. (either automatically, or by an automatic flag for moderator attention)

  • 1
    @Yannis Nope. I do C# at work. :)
    – Mysticial
    Oct 15, 2013 at 19:25
  • 1
    What happened to Yannis' comment?
    – Mysticial
    Oct 15, 2013 at 19:47
  • It's not generated by the system. Audits are picked up by the system and presented to you, but they are generated from the usual trolls. Oct 15, 2013 at 21:16
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    @Manishearth Apparently suggested edits are the exception. See this comment: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/201766/…
    – Mysticial
    Oct 15, 2013 at 21:17
  • Whoa, awesome. Markov chains ftw! Oct 15, 2013 at 21:18
  • Was profanity really needed? Couldn't he have used something less offensive, like "screw"?
    – Cole Tobin
    Oct 16, 2013 at 4:09
  • 1
    Regarding vanishing comment don't take it hard, comments can come and go, I came to realize any comment can vaporize to thin air any minute. @Cole tell the trolls posting offensive stuff, I agree the dev team can put some profanity filter in the code picking the random words but it's really no big deal. Oct 16, 2013 at 6:48
  • @ShaWizDowArd I don't know about you, but I was referencing the post mentioned in this answer.
    – Cole Tobin
    Oct 16, 2013 at 13:13

After seeing this one, I think it may be time to do something about this.

I know the audits string together random words and sentences, but you'd think it would be simple enough to exclude a short list of words to avoid auto generated hate speech...

  • @Yannis not sure about that, many look like they just scoop random words from other posts and mix them in.
    – apaul
    Nov 26, 2013 at 17:36
  • Hm, the audit edits are indeed auto generated, but I'm not so sure about the edit descriptions. See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/209033/…
    – yannis
    Nov 26, 2013 at 17:43
  • @Yannis it appears you're right, just saw that too.
    – apaul
    Nov 26, 2013 at 17:43
  • @Yannis Seems to make it more of an issue, we really should filter that sort of stuff out... Imagine what a problem that could have created on some of the other sites in the network.
    – apaul
    Nov 26, 2013 at 17:47

No, it shouldn't. Because it shouldn't be present in the source material:

Instead we're building a super simple model (basically a Porter Stemmer + Markov Chains**) of a few thousand posts per-site, and using that to create "looks OK at a glance, but deeply flawed" audit edits.

However, it is present.

Fix the source, and you'll fix the generated edits.

  • Of course, this doesn't help for edit comments, which can't be modified after the fact.
    – Tim Stone
    Nov 26, 2013 at 18:17
  • Well, that's a separate issue. IIRC, those are pulled verbatim from previous suggested edits.
    – Shog9
    Nov 26, 2013 at 18:18
  • Right, I've voted to reopen that question on that basis. As a fun note, 22 of those instances come from that single "best comment you've ever seen" question. Good stuff.
    – Tim Stone
    Nov 26, 2013 at 18:19

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