I was reading a Workplace Stackexchange post and saw this comment.

I think this should be standard, much like the "Vote to delete" options automatically leave a comment. Here's an image:

enter image description here

A lot of users that come here think it's like a forum. I review posts daily and I'd say over 95% of the posts in the "new user submissions" que has something that would allude to this:

  • Thanks, name
  • If I need to add more information please leave a post saying so
  • My friend showed me this forum

etc... A lot of people aren't used to the fact that other people can edit your posts. If they suddenly get a notification saying "Your post has been edited!" it might confuse them or make them worried because they might have thought an admin modified it.

  • What do you think the auto-comment should say? Or what do you think should be in the list? It would be helpful (and get better insight) if you were to flesh out the idea a little more based on the type of info you think would be useful for a user who just had their post edited. Also, realize that many of the edits we make are to format something properly (like code), fix tags, fix a title, or small typos. In those cases, I think a comment may be overkill.
    – jmac
    Feb 26, 2014 at 6:54
  • Before you added the image, I was going to say, "Good habit/standard, but I don't think it is necessary to have it done automatically". After you added the image, I was like, "Wow". However, I think there's a difference between auto-comment and comment template. Feb 26, 2014 at 6:57
  • @AndrewT. What do you think the difference is? Just wondering.
    – Jon
    Feb 26, 2014 at 7:06
  • @chipperyman573 maybe it's only me, I thought auto-comment is an automatic comment triggered when you do something (e.g. flag as duplicate, edit the post in this case), whereas comment template is a template that you can choose manually to post. I'm thinking too much. Feb 26, 2014 at 7:09
  • When you chose a comment it posts it as a comment under your username, which is what I'm proposing now.
    – Jon
    Feb 26, 2014 at 7:14

1 Answer 1


Since it's my comment, I want to try to explain why I did it, and what I hoped to accomplish. The edit I made was an aggressive edit which was more than cosmetic changes to the post. When you make aggressive edits, not everyone is happy about it. To try to minimize the anger, and still be able to improve question quality, I leave a custom comment trying to show the user:

  1. I've made a big change
  2. I'm doing it to help them out
  3. They are more than free to fix it if I screwed up

This tends to be effective (out of the 27 aggressive edits in the above meta post, 13 have received non-negative comments, and only two got negative comments).

If I'm making a cosmetic edit (like editing the tags, or fixing a formatting/spelling/grammar error), then I don't think the message is necessary in general, since I haven't seen many users get bent out of shape over someone proofreading their post without a comment.

In cases where a significant change is made, I don't think any cookie-cutter fixed comment will have the same impact as one made to explain the reasoning behind it. In cases where an insignificant change is made, I don't think that a comment is required in the first place.

If you want to implement this, then I'd need to know who the target users are, if this would be the best approach (compared to a message visible only to the original asker that points them to guidance on our edit policy and how we are different from a forum, for instance), and what the messages you recommend adding as auto-comments should be.

  • 1
    "someone proofreading their post without a comment" -- worth noting that in cases like this, sensible edit summary is more than sufficient to carry anything that would go to comment, with additional advantage that (as opposed to ephemeral comments) it gets saved forever in post history page
    – gnat
    Feb 26, 2014 at 12:10

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