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I joined a site in private beta and posted an answer citing one source. One user made some edits which I did not agree with, so, I rolled back the changes. Some of the proposed changes were grammatical in nature while others converted a definitive statement I made to an ambiguous one which I didn't like at all.

Then I notified the user in comments why I rolled back the changes. The person did not agree & downvoted my answer. Fair enough. I didn't mind.

Then User-2 tried to re-apply User-1's changes which I rolled back again. User-2 tries to argue in comments why I should allow the edit, I then explained why didn't like the suggested edits because my sources say otherwise and changing it the way they wanted conflicts with my sources.

A moderator appears out of the blue and has permanently locked my answer after rolling it back to User-1's edit.

  1. Is such an action by a moderator justified? What is the official policy on when should a moderator get involved in an edit war?

  2. What authority or role does OP have when his or her post is messed around by other users which includes a moderator, conflicting with OP's intent?

  • In private beta there are no moderators, only staff. If staff says something, it's rarely overruled. That is Robert, one of the heads of community development, generally in charge of new sites. – Catija Feb 17 '17 at 3:52
  • Oh ok. Wasn't sure how private beta works. What do you recommend in this case? – sv. Feb 17 '17 at 6:16
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    Possible duplicate of How should disputes be handled on Stack Overflow? – gnat Feb 17 '17 at 7:04
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    @gnat: Doesn't seem to address much of the diamond mod question… also, for such a hoary old question of such seeming importance, its answers are atrociously low-scored. – Nathan Tuggy Feb 17 '17 at 7:53
  • @NathanTuggy that old question is the same as here. Granted, it isn't yet properly answered (proper answer is most likely that moderator always wins with content dispute lock) but this doesn't prevent it from being a dupe – gnat Feb 17 '17 at 7:58
  • A moderator will generally intervene if actions are causing "disruption". The lock needn't be a permanent state - think of it more as "okay - seems to be a bit of a dispute on this - it's causing rollbacks and comments - let's all take a step back" – Jon Clements Feb 17 '17 at 8:13
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    It all depends on the specific post though. As the OP you're pretty much allowed to have the post how you want - however if you're rolling back genuinely good edits that improve your post it's almost a kind of vandalism. – Jon Clements Feb 17 '17 at 8:16
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    @JonClements I usually allow edits which correct grammar. My problem in this case was Research1 shows Result1, Research2 shows different Result2. Should I allow another user or a mod who says Research1 is wrong therefore I'm going to edit your answer and correct it? And what to do when the edit is proposing corrections that are of both grammar and technical nature? I found it much easier to rollback the whole edit instead of accepting trivial edits. – sv. Feb 22 '17 at 22:32
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    @sv. For a specific case you're better off raising it on the site's meta with a link to this post or flagging it with a custom reason and including appropriate info. – Jon Clements Feb 23 '17 at 9:21
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    Have you tried flagging it for moderator attention (with explaining to lock your version)? – Pandya Mar 23 '17 at 11:37
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TL;DR: moderator.


Stack Exchange exists for the sake of good content. Who post this content is less relevant.

Now the question is, who can decide what is good content and what is bad content? Or, which content is better, when both are not bad? Answer is "the community", i.e. the users of the site. Hence the voting system exists.

What is a moderator? Someone who is trusted to know the site rules and enforce them. Either elected by the site users themselves, or by Stack Exchange staff (or SE staff member on their own), a moderator has the final say in everything, and got tools to enforce their decisions.

So to get back to your case: if a moderator decided the first edit was correct, and is the best for the site itself (making the answer better), their decision is final. You can, of course, try to convince them otherwise, but better not fight over this too much and accept the decision.

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  • "better not fight over this too much and accept the decision" - Totally agree! My post here was to understand OP's role in all this as I keep hearing "OP's intent" ('always respect the original author') a lot here during edits. But apparently, it's not 100% true, maybe 90% :) – sv. Mar 23 '17 at 22:45
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    @sv. correct, when it comes to decide between better content and OP's will, content wins. e.g. if OP insists on having bad grammar – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Mar 23 '17 at 23:05
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    DA here: Can't this be taken too far? If the OP no longer feels their question is their own, or even what they wanted to ask, how likely are they to accept an answer? – T.E.D. Aug 9 '17 at 13:37
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    @T.E.D. from all I know about Stack Exchange, what matters most is the content. Who posted it is less important. So accepting answers is not a big deal, compared to having good and high quality content. – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Aug 9 '17 at 14:20
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Edit wars kind of suck. And the ideal is to try to find a balance between your intentions and the improvements made.

So, at the end of the day, a successful end to a edit war should be less one side winning the other, and more both sides trying to find a balance.

Some of the proposed changes were grammatical in nature while others converted a definitive statement I made to an ambiguous one which I didn't like at all.

Keeping the grammatical fixes would be nice. Without seeing the statements, its pretty hard to say whether the changes was an improvement or if there was a happy middle ground somewhere.

Then User-2 tried to re-apply User-1's changes which I rolled back again. User-2 tries to argue in comments why I should allow the edit, I then explained why didn't like the suggested edits because my sources say otherwise and changing it the way they wanted conflicts with my sources.

So clearly, the other person saw merits in the edit. We don't know what the comments are or the sources are.

Is such an action by a moderator justified? What is the official policy on when should a moderator get involved in an edit war?

We have two users with enough standing to do edits and rollbacks in an edit war with someone. Clearly he felt their arguments were stronger. So we have a disagreement with 3 trusted users (and on private beta, the "mods" are stackexchange CMs arn't they?) and... Well, I donno which site this is or who this is, but from the information presented, it feels like they might have had a good argument for it.

Of course, it depends on the site, edits and maybe even people involved, which is totally a essential thing to determine if it was right.

Moderators are informed if there's an edit war, and are expected to act according to the situation.

While its your post, and your intent matters, there's a reason we have peer/community editing - to make posts better. Terms like "messed around" indicates you may not like it, but its an essential part of the SE model.

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  • Thanks for your answer. I'm trying to understand how are SO/SE sites different from Wikipedia. Is the goal of all posts on SE sites to eventually look like a Wikipedia article? So if we have 2 competing/contradicting answers, other users are allowed to edit one of the posts until both answers look almost same and now we have two Wikipedia-like posts :) Why shouldn't OP spend the same time on improving an existing Wikipedia article on the same topic vs. writing an answer on an SE site? – sv. Mar 23 '17 at 22:29
  • The content we have is quite different from what's on wikipedia. There's no benefit, tangible or in terms of imaginary internet points from editing your answer - outside hopefully improving on it. – Journeyman Geek Mar 25 '17 at 9:56

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