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Yesterday, on Travel.SE, I stumbled in a sequence of edits to reviews that were just "user removed post content and substituted with spam content".

At first I thought the user was defacing his own posts, then I realized he was editing other users posts ('cause he edited one of mines). Then I noticed he/she/it had just one reputation and I thought that maybe he found a way to hack the site, so I asked on Travel Meta and got confirmation that everybody can edit everyone's post, because there is the review queue to filter out spammer.

Now, I'm confused.

On the SE network you need reputations even to be allowed to breathe; there is a entry level for everything apart from spamming the site? Seriously? I need a minimum rep even to add images to my questions, but I can choke the review queue with just a bunch of freshly registered accounts?

I think, I strongly think, that editing someone else's post should be allowed only with a minimum rep, let say 20. There is no way a user that never posted a question, that never posted an answer, then never ever used the site, has any real interest in spending its time editing other peoples posts apart for malicious intents.

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    "you need reputations even to be allowed to breathe" -- these sites are for asking and answering questions. The main site functionality requires no reputation whatsoever.
    – user315433
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 14:17
  • @Gerry lol, even the main functionality requires a minimum rep to be able to be used in a normal way, and I've seen many times user request in comments for someone with enough rep to add images to their post, cause you can't post a full question unless you have enough reputation.
    – motoDrizzt
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 14:22
  • @motoDrizzt: "Add image to post" a) isn't "normal", it's fairly specialized most of the time and b) can be mostly handled with nothing more complicated than using the uploader and leaving the image links, then having someone else finish the polishing. Suggested edits can't be handled that way efficiently, nor indeed at all without allowing new users to comment, which is extremely likely to lead to more spam, not less. Commented May 19, 2017 at 19:57
  • There's a reason they are reviewed. Commented May 21, 2017 at 16:11

2 Answers 2

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Anyone without the edit questions and answers privilege (set at 2,000 reputation on launched sites) can suggest edits - these go into a review queue.

At least two other people need to approve the suggested edit in order for it to take effect.

Some people don't really take due care when reviewing, which can cause an issue like this.

That is the real problem here - robo reviewers. We do have some things in place to stop them (namely review audits), but those are not 100% effective.

If you see such suggested edits being routinely approved, you should flag them for moderator attention - they can ban people from reviews.

For people to just edit your post without it going into a queue, they need 2,000 reputation, as I mentioned above.


There is no way a user that never posted a question, that never posted an answer, then never ever used the site, has any real interest in spending its time editing other peoples posts apart for malicious intents

I very much disagree with this assertion.

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    "At least two other people": not if the 1st reviewer selects "approve and edit" (unless you consider the community user as one of those 2 people ...). About those "robo reviewers": imagine this scenario: (1) edit suggestion introduces spam (2) reviewers approve such edit (3) spam edit gets published (4) spam revision gets flagged as spam. From then on you have a trace from (4) to (2) to identify the reviewers. IMO only 1 such mistake should result, automatically in "STOP and listen! You approved spam!" (+ no more need for such audits). May I post a meta.SE "feature request" about this? Commented May 19, 2017 at 19:11
  • There is also a limit of maximum 5 pending suggested edits (or less?) per user, so single user can't choke the review queue. Commented May 19, 2017 at 19:18
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    @Pierre - you can always suggest a feature request. No need to ask for permission...
    – Oded
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 19:20
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There is no way a user that never posted a question, that never posted an answer, then never ever used the site, has any real interest in spending its time editing other peoples posts apart for malicious intents.

I, like Oded, disagree with this. If you review edits enough, you will see good edits, even from from anonymous users.

Some portion of anonymous editors are users of Stack Exchange. I know this because I have submitted a number of edits as an anonymous user. Sometimes I use other computers to browse sites and I choose not to log in for security reasons—but I still want to edit. Other times, when I am logged in, I am browsing sites where I don't have an account and don't want to make one. This is usually because of the HNQ, where I am especially bothered by typos in titles.

Trolls should not ruin this. Anonymous or low rep, bad editors will get blocked from editing, so you should just reject as spam/vandalism.

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  • Anonymous edits have had to be banned on many sites precisely because they're overwhelmingly abusive, and virtually never helpful, so there's actually objective evidence that that's just not true. Of course, the OP isn't asking about anonymous edits, but rather edits from low rep users.
    – Servy
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 16:56
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    @Servy Please tell me which sites—I've never seen the edit button disabled except when another edit is pending (or some other reasons listed in the FAQ). From what I understand it is IP-based. And while OP only mentions "freshly registered accounts", setting a minimum rep for editing would undoubtedly affect anon editors.
    – Laurel
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 17:09
  • @Servy: I've personally reviewed, just on MSE itself, probably at least a dozen anonymous suggested edits that I would be willing to point to as shining examples of exactly what an edit should look like. Most of those were probably just long-term SE users who didn't want to (or couldn't) log in, but that's still a legitimate usecase. Commented May 19, 2017 at 19:59

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