When I looked on the question list in the new navigation (don't know if it is specific there or not), I saw a spam post being 'modified' by OP. Since that is quite uncommon, I though of checking it out.

Then I saw the actual answer, and it wasn't edited at all. And definitely not by OP, if it was modified by Community since it was marked as spam, the change should be on its name. Also, the modified time stamp doesn't seem to be correct.

question list

not edited

revision history, still no edit

Can this be considered a bug or by design? Should we change the attribution if that is what caused the post to be modified?

  • I guess may be Community modified on behalf of her and did not bother to change the label as it was going to remove... Aug 12 '15 at 11:09
  • @HackerKarma I don't quite follow you. Aug 12 '15 at 11:14
  • by "modified" I mean status change i.e. "spam" and since we don't have that status it gave "modified" (which is broad term)... But, it should have changed user to "Community" though... I'm just doing guesswork here... Aug 12 '15 at 11:29
  • But Community doesn't do 'on behalf' stuff. That is why we have a separate user. Aug 12 '15 at 11:30
  • Then it could be the "moderator" who deleted ("delete" also an last activity and falls to "modified" term) the answer. And, my head is spinning :) I have favorited your question (of course +1) and I am eager to see an answer on your post. Aug 12 '15 at 11:44
  • "OP" is generally "Opening Poster" i.e. question author (certainly without confirmation). No worries. In that case I presume you're suggesting that an author of a "spammy" post shouldn't be shown on front page as "modified by"? (Cleaning up my previous comments)
    – James
    Aug 12 '15 at 12:11
  • Indeed... @James Aug 12 '15 at 12:12
  • So, someone answered a question, this made the thread "modified" and shown on the front page, and the answerer had their name marked on the "modified by" because they were the ones who modified the thread. The two spam answers in that thread were 2 and 1 hours ago, and the current Front Page listing shows modified things from 10+ hours ago but I cannot see that thread on the Front Page. So hasn't the post been removed from the front page now that the answers are marked as spam/deleted/user fried? I'm really confused, sorry. Maybe it's me, and someone else will understand.
    – James
    Aug 12 '15 at 12:16
  • @James, no it makes it "answered" on the front page. That is the entire point. If it was modified, it was modified by Community, not by the person who "answered". Aug 12 '15 at 12:52
  • Wasn't the answer itself being posted what made the "modified"? Not a modification to the answer or something else?
    – James
    Aug 12 '15 at 13:00

TL;DR: don't think it's a bug, just a fallback to the default label value. See below for more details

There are three possible labels for questions in the list:

  1. asked - question was just asked, no other activity since then.
  2. answered - answer was posted.
  3. modified - all the rest.

And by "all the rest" it means all the rest of the actions that change the question last activity time:

  • editing of the question or one of its answers
  • starting a bounty
  • reopening
  • automatic bump by Community account

When answer is deleted, the last activity time of the question is not changed, as far as I can tell, however the label "answered" becomes misleading since the answer doesn't exist anymore, for ordinary users. It's gone. So the label falls back to the default value, which is just "modified".

  • 1
    Interesting point of view. Would love to hear from one of the developers, but for now, this is good enough. Aug 12 '15 at 19:07

As correctly pointed out by James, this is the reproduction scenario of the modified part of the 'bug', which doesn't really seem to be a bug any more... just confusing.

  1. Create an answer.
  2. The answer pops up on the question list.
  3. Delete the answer.
  4. The question keeps popped on the question list, but instead of 'answered', it says 'modified'.

Why does it attribute 'modified' to the person answering the question? I am not sure yet, but I think this is done because not everybody can see deleted posts. It just says well, someone modified something, instead of someone answered, but deleted his answer.

I am not sure if and how this should be clarified. For now, case closed.

  • It's the question which is always modified. So by an aedit to the question, or a new answer, or an edit to an answer. So the answer being posted is what initiated the "modified". So when the answer was posted by "userX": "This question has been modified by UserX" - because they answered. That's how I understand it.
    – James
    Aug 12 '15 at 13:55
  • No, the question isn't changed as far as I know. It still links to the 'lastactivity' url, which is the post deleted. Thanks for following up. Aug 12 '15 at 13:57
  • The question is not changed no, as per the description in my previous comment. On Front Page, we always see the question title, then "modified by userX". So the Front page always shows that a question has been modified by someone, either question edit, new answer, answer edit, etc.
    – James
    Aug 12 '15 at 14:13

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