I ran across a discussion recently about whether or not a moderator should be modifying the content of an answer. In this example, content was removed but the author of the answer disagreed with the edit and rolled it back. The editor in question was a mod who then rolled back the rollback and then locked the answer for editing. This isn't about determining who is right or who is wrong. This is about me and maybe some other users understanding what the proper way to proceed in this situation is on any StackExchange site. Can someone please provide some insight into this issue? The following is an example of such a situation on the meta Parenting site which has the relevant question/answer linked:

Moderators denying valid answers (possibly because they're controversial)


2 Answers 2


Moderators can't set aside their diamonds and "be a regular user" but they do all the things regular users do including voting up, voting down, asking, answering, commenting and editing.

When I see an answer that includes content that doesn't answer the question, or that may be upsetting to other users, I can downvote the answer, and vote to delete it if enough people also downvote it. In the case where the answer contains some good stuff, I might instead edit out the irrelevant part. This needs to be done very carefully; as the parenting meta post mentions, edits are not supposed to change meaning. Moderators can break that rule, and to some extent they should. It's far too simple to say "never change meaning." Mods are expected to have good judgment, for cases just like this.

Ask yourself, which is worse: having one's answer deleted, or having parts of one's answer deleted? Looked at that way, the moderator could be seen as trying to help the author.

  • Understood and I agree but in the situation I believe the user didn't want the edit and thus rolled it back. Personally, I'd prefer my answer to remain as is and either deal with the downvotes or modify based on comments. I would definitely not prefer someone modifying my answer and then locking it without further discussion. Aug 17, 2017 at 1:48
  • @Ramhound I didn't bring up race riots. The user who wrote the answer did. Believe me, I disagree and I would have downvoted the answer and commented as to why. If the user decided to change their answer later based on feedback, cool, if not then is it not just a bad answer? Aug 17, 2017 at 1:53
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    Alright, offensive statements were made to salvage a barely acceptable answer, and I thought you were the author of the answer for some reason. The moderator would have been justified to remove the answer based on the offending material because people do find it offensive (as do I)
    – Ramhound
    Aug 17, 2017 at 2:02

I'll try to explain in a general answer why I voted to close this question as "pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network".

What you ask here is not a general "What to do when site moderators can't handle a situation on the site themselves", but rather you ask about a very specific discussion on other site's meta.

To really be able to answer this, one has to be very veteran member of that site, and the one place where many of those users exist is the site's meta, and maybe its chat as well.

This is possible to post a new meta discussion to discuss other meta discussion, I believe that's the way it should be handled. And if things really going out of control, call a member of Stack Exchange Community team, either from chat or by contacting the team directly via the contact form.

  • I have edited my question to ask on a broader spectrum for all SE sites. Is this a better way to form my question? Aug 17, 2017 at 7:51
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    @SomeShinyObject nicely done, thanks. Voted to reopen, but this is now a duplicate of other discussion: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/291153/…. Long story short, moderators have the last say. No point fighting them, as it means fighting the whole site. Aug 17, 2017 at 11:07
  • Thanks for the clarification and the education. Sometimes I think I care too much but I have invested/will continue to invest time into that site so to see it running smoothly and correctly is a concern for me. Aug 17, 2017 at 11:30
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    Cheers, and well done for asking and staying polite instead of blaming/accusing people like too many others are doing when faced with those things. :) Aug 17, 2017 at 11:32
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    No need to get worked up over internet points. Aug 17, 2017 at 11:33
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    @SomeShinyObject man... if that was true for everyone, the internet (not just SE) would become a much better place. Although it''s not really about the points as it is about personal ego.. Aug 17, 2017 at 11:39

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