Four people, other than the original owner of this question, edited it in less than two minutes of each other. This was after the question had been open for only four minutes.

Parse from a list with a quote in text.

So now it is a CW question, even though all of those edits trampled on one another.

All because the question owner asked a very poorly worded question.

Just look at the revisions, and the original source.

What are some ideas to hopefully reduce chances of this happening in the future?


Personally I'm a fan of the "This question has been edited while you were making changes" prompt that other sites throw when two people are trying to edit at the same time.

I know theres a suggestion somewhere on Meta for this feature, I just can't seem to find it.


The problem here is that the user wrote a poorly worded question.

I don't think we should institute 'features' that benefit users that write poorly worded questions.

It will reinforce the 'If you write a question well, you'll get reputation for it.' notion -- and that's a notion that needs reinforcement.

  • 2
    Exactly. Nothing wrong with helping a user out by editing their question, but there are users who effectively depend on this long-term, using the goodwill of others as a crutch. That's not something to encourage... – Shog9 Oct 16 '09 at 15:53
  • Personally I don't consider it benefiting a user that writes poorly worded questions, but rather benefiting the community by keeping a question that may be valid from getting destroyed by downvotes and votes to close. I don't think its asking too much that users spend a few extra seconds writing out a proper question, but if that user actually can't write out a proper question (people who are from other countries, or don't speak fluent english), then I don't see the harm in making it easier for the community to help them out. – Brandon Oct 16 '09 at 15:53
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    Personally the answerers don't need to be penalized for rapid edits on a poorly worded question. The answers should not have been converted to CW. – George Stocker Oct 16 '09 at 15:59
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    It also means that all future answers will be CW answers. – Brad Gilbert Oct 16 '09 at 16:10
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    Yeah, that bit is unfortunate. A good reason in itself to be more careful editing... and perhaps, post your answer before making your edit. ;-) – Shog9 Oct 16 '09 at 16:16

Funny you mention that, not long ago I proposed a 5 minute edit blockout when something is posted or edited for this very reason (among others).

It's also worth noting that the last edit introduced a grammatical error in the title ("an quote").

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    +1, but would suggest 60 seconds. – user27414 Oct 16 '09 at 15:38

Until something like checking for edits in motion happens, maybe we can start up a little habit of posting a comment that you're going in for an edit and to warn others to stand back a little.

Something like:

Edit in progress...

And then when you're done and out, delete your comment.

That won't stop all conflicts, since people might have gotten to the question before your comment stuck. But it should cut down the extra conflicting/clashing edits some.


How about Google Wave style editing? Just kidding, it'd be an overkill, and possibly would kill the servers.

  • I would love to see it tried though... – Shog9 Oct 16 '09 at 15:54

What are some ideas to hopefully reduce chances of this happening in the future?


All because the question owner asked a very poorly worded question.

Well, as you note, it wouldn't have happened if the author had spent a few extra seconds on his spelling...

But, when you're editing, you can help avoid this by checking for interim edits before submitting your own.


How about another screen appearing when you hit submit? If someone has edited and committed a change ahead of your edit, show your proposed version side-by-side with the live version, and give the option to commit your version in place of the live one. If nobody's edited it since your edit, the screen wouldn't show and your edit would save as normal.

In short, a 'pre-check-in' page

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