Users whose own posts are edited are already notified. However, I would like to propose that, where I edit someone else's post, I can choose to be notified of subsequent edits. Or, perhaps these could appear as a new tab in user profiles, without raising a notification.

The purpose is thus. I often edit questions to improve clarity, trim noisy I've-searched-for-this introductions, remove salutations and signatures, and fix txtspk or spelling, and on occasions this causes a disgruntled OP to roll back a good edit (mostly new users). In the past I've caught this by looking through my edit history, but it would be nice to find out more reliably.

If this would raise a proper notification icon, that might be too noisy for most editors, hence my suggestion of a global tick-box to opt-in. If however it would be implemented simply as a profile tab, new "edit events" could appear as a count on that tab, just as new reputation points do. I would moderately prefer the latter, as it keeps the UI lean.

What do others think? Would other editors refer to this, or would it create noise that few people would use?

Based on feedback, I now envisage three possible approaches to this:

  1. Real top-bar notifications for subsequent edits, with a per-post opt-in system such as the one proposed by @jmac. This approach probably needs some way to specify notification settings, since "notify me of everything" will probably be too noisy for some.
  2. The same as above, but one setting for all posts. I'd mildly favour this over the previous option, since I can't imagine there would be strong demand for wanting to monitor some posts but not all. So, this is a bit simpler, but offers a basic UI to give the user some control.
  3. A new tab in the profile page that lists all subsequent edits to all questions the user has edited. This would be very similar to the "revisions" tab at the moment - each edit appears in here and is expandable so it can be examined without much UI interruption. I favour this approach, to address the issues of complexity @James raises.

    New edit events would appear as a tab indicator, rather than a top bar notification - just like the "8" indicator shown in my screenshot for the "responses" tab.

    I would expect that each edit event would be separately reported, so two subsequent edits to a question would raise two events. One could argue for the presented diff to be between the current state of the post and the last time I edited it, but I think that's confusing - so would suggest that each diff is presented just as it is now in the Revisions tab.

The feature could work similarly to the "revisions" tab

Out of the three, I prefer the last one, but I think any of them would help me keep an eye on incorrect rollbacks. Thanks for your responses so far, and any more thoughts are very welcome.

  • +1 for the profile tab, not notification. – Geobits Nov 26 '13 at 20:51
  • May be this data query can help? – rene Nov 26 '13 at 21:52
  • Ha, @rene, thanks - that is a good idea. I'll have a play! I guess I could modify it with a "seen" date filter, so any edits made prior to a "last seen" timestamp are not returned... – halfer Nov 26 '13 at 21:56
  • 1
    Yeah you could but....creationdate doesn't (seem to) have an index so on large sets with the wrong executionplan you probably timeout... but you'll notice ;-) – rene Nov 26 '13 at 21:59

where I edit someone else's post, I can choose to be notified of subsequent edits

You can now do this by using the follow post feature.


Suggested Workflow

There is a dialog between the 'edit summary' and 'save edits' button much like the e-mail dialog:

Sample Dialog

The options would be:

  • First edit only
  • Edits by the Original Poster only
  • All edits

You get a notification to your inbox according to the selection from that dialog:

Sample Notification

This would allow people to customize how they track their edits, use existing functionality (I edited the 'mail me when there is an answer' dialog to create this one), and would use existing notification formatting for when one of your posts is edited. It would be seamless, and allow people with frequent edits to be able to track their thread.

Additional Request

While we're at it, the SE inbox summary doesn't actually show edits. Which is a bummer, because I would love to be able to get a single edit notification to find a list of all questions I've edited and then have been touched by someone else. Right now once it drops out of your inbox, it seems to disappear.

Note: I didn't look too hard, so they may be hidden in there somewhere.

  • Thanks for your thoughts on this, great stuff. Although I moderately prefer the profile tab so as to cut down on per-post settings complexity, I wouldn't personally mind ticking a box when editing. I've added a couple more thoughts to the original post. – halfer Nov 27 '13 at 18:36
  • I'll accept this answer, and see if the proposal gets more interest in the long term. – halfer Dec 5 '13 at 18:00

The proposed function could be a good idea in theory, but you need to narrow down your requirements and think about the pitfalls.

where I edit someone else's post, I can choose to be notified of subsequent edits

This has potential to bring a lot of notifications.

There's lot of questions where OP simply adds more info, requested in comments etc, and several times on one question. Do you get notified for each one? Or just the first one after your edit?

The OP could edit to add more info, save, then see your edits, then edit again to revert your changes.
Another user edits to edit the OPs additional info edit, maybe your edits as well, or not, but either way it's getting confusing.

Now, not only have you logged in to numerous notifications to manage for one question (+any others you edited), but it becomes time consuming checking what OP and other users have edited from your original edit and possibly other edits in between.

Notifications for edits could also simply be from another user who spotted something you missed.

Your main intention for this function is to identify if the OP has rolled back your edits, but another user could do that too.
However, even disregarding potential for other users to roll back, you at least need to know when OP edits, and this alone will unfortunately trigger notifications for the main potentials I mentioned above.

TBH this is essentially what the rest of the community should be doing anyway. If your original edit was justified, then likely once the OP rolls back, someone else should spot the same issue and carry out a similar edit as you did originally.

How many times does OP revert someone's changes? If it's believed to be frequent, then I'd be asking for a feature which simply checked changes between the text before I edited and the text in the edit I made, and then any new changes by the OP.

Then if (eg) the OP has reverted back say >= 50% of my text notify me.

Can't imagine that would be implemented though. Lot of code and complex algorithms, for likely high overhead for such a little gain for very few users.

  • Great feedback, thanks. I did think of suggesting that notifications would only be made within, say, a week or two of my edit - that is generally the time during which new users are inclined to overwrite good edits. However, in the end I changed my mind for the reason you cite: complexity. And it would be for the same reason that I would get notified by a new tab indicator (i.e. not a standard notification, to keep the noise down) for all edit events, rather than a complex algorithm to determine what is interesting to me. – halfer Nov 26 '13 at 21:52
  • As for "little gain for very few users", well, that's the purpose of my post here. Let's see what people say; if it's only me who would use the feature, then it's not worth the development time, but if it would improve the cleanliness of SE sites that integrated it, it might be worth it. – halfer Nov 26 '13 at 21:54
  • "Let's see what people say" indeed :) I'm sure many would use it, but the main thing of proposing a feature is making sure you have ironed out pitfalls where possible within your wants, and then argue why the remaining pitfalls are outweighed by the pros. ;) – James Nov 26 '13 at 22:33
  • Agreed. I've made an edit to the original post, which I think covers all your points. My broad approach is quite simple: (a) report everything to avoid complexity, (b) do it in a profile tab rather than the top bar to avoid noise, (c) all diffs are as they are now, rather than an amalgam of all edit events between my last edit and the current version. No extra UI settings are required, though @jmac offers an interesting different perspective. – halfer Nov 27 '13 at 18:44

I prefer the second option - show top-bar notifications with settings for all posts. 

The settings should be in the user preferences section of profile.

"The Notification Preferences after Edit" should be (some options copied from @jmac answer)

  • notify me about my edits rejected/ reverted (default to yes)
  • notify me about my edits approval (for low rep users, default to no)
  • notify me about all subsequent edits of the question/answer (default to no)
  • notify me about first subsequent edit of the question/answer (default to no)
  • notify me about subsequent edits of the question/answer author (default to no)

It is in particularly important to have a way to notify about edit rejection/reversion. People doing edits and thinking that they do good things, sometimes are not aware that they do something incorrectly (e.g see https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/187890/direct-notification-mechanisms)

Recently the author of the answer reverted my edit and used Twitter to explain me, why he did it. It was nice, but there should be a way within SE to inform the editor about revert/reject.

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