I was watching this question on SO when a notification popped up saying there had been an edit to the post. I loaded the edit and what I saw was

  1. Very minor
  2. Actually worse.

The edit in question inserted two line breaks between two lines of code, expanding the two-line code block to four lines for no reason at all.

I thought I'd make a comment, but as I typed @ the name of the editor (who has 9k+ rep) wasn't suggested to me.

What should I do when I see that someone who has the privilege to freely edit posts, makes an edit I would never approve if I saw it in the review queue?

  • 1
    Editor names are never suggested when auto-completing (too expensive to include those in the query). You can still manually type out their name. Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 9:36
  • It is theoretically possible that Kami's edit conflicted with what the OP had edited; e.g. Kami didn't add those extra lines, but the OP had removed those. The actual edit Kami made could have been lost if the OP had made the exact same changes. Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 9:39
  • @MartijnPieters good to know. But is making a comment sufficient in this case to address the real issue? I can imagine there are more tools in place to prevent users with the edit privilege from defacing a series of posts, for example.
    – MarioDS
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 9:40
  • 1
    There are plenty of eyeballs on posts being changed; if a 2k+ user goes on an editing rampage then they'll find themselves on the wrong side of a moderator's attention. Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 9:43
  • @MartijnPieters as for your theory on the edits having been lost, that's why We need diff/merge tools for conflicting edits. As for your point on editing rampages and moderator attention, you're probably right.
    – MarioDS
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


In general when you see a user with full editing privileges that makes a bad/weird edit, you should do this:

  1. Go to their profile. Click on activity , then click on revisions.

  2. Search through some of their recent revisions. See if they are accurate/good edits or more bad/weird edits.

  3. Do nothing if it seems like it was only this one edit where a not to bad mistake was made or possibly rollback the edit. If the user has made multiple bad edits then go to one of the users questions/answers , click on flag, and then select other. Write a custom message explaining that this user has been editing incorrectly a lot and tell them exactly what the behavior appears to be. But please only flag for moderator attention if it is something that really needs to be dealt with. For example, don't ever flag an established user for too minor edits. Those are something which they can make freely.

  • 1
    I understand your point about not flagging for edits that are too minor. I have full editing privileges on SO and I've made pretty minor improvements to posts myself already, just because I can. Your steps seem like the correct ones to take, thanks.
    – MarioDS
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 10:38

In this specific case, Kami's edit may have been far more innocent as there is the theoretical possibility that their edit conflicted with an edit by the OP, made in the grace period. The timeline would have been:

  1. 09:12:55 OP posts first revision of question; it includes the extra newlines in the code block.
  2. Some time before 09:17:55 Kami opens the editor window to edit the post; they are editing a version with those newlines in.
  3. Some time afer step two but before 09:17:55 the OP edits their post, posting a new revision with the newlines removed and other changes made.
  4. 09:19:19 Kami submits their edit. The changes made are the exact same changes the OP made, except for removing the extra newlines.

Kami may or may not have been given a warning about another change having been posted; you don't get one on the mobile version of the website, IIRC.

Rolling back the edit was fine here, but don't go into a rollback war, ever. You can leave a comment politely asking what the edit was about. Although editor names are not autocompleted when using @, they are still notified if you manually type out their name (prepend with @, remove spaces, @Kami will work here).

On the whole, you can assume that an honest error was made here.

  • I'm going to leave this question "open" by not accepting your answer as the general answer, although it sheds enough light on this specific case indeed. An unfortunate sequence of events, particularly for Kami.
    – MarioDS
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 9:55

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