I understand why the edit feature exists, but when people use it to adjust grammar, punctuation, capitalization, or minor changes in wording, it feels patronizing, and it makes me uncomfortable.

This site is very useful for getting answers, but I'm really uncomfortable about posting here because I don't want to deal with someone jumping down my throat over not using camel case for a book title.

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    Those types of edits are done to help you, and in my opinion are much preferable to comments pointing out problems when the commenter could just fix the spelling mistakes. – Charlie Brumbaugh Oct 17 '18 at 15:55
  • Nitpicking a detail: title case for book titles ;) – Dan Bron Oct 17 '18 at 16:35
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    Book titles aren't camelCased. Be glad I didn't edit that to Title Cased. – user1228 Oct 17 '18 at 19:29
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    When people use it to adjust grammar, punctuation, capitalization, or minor changes in wording, it feels patronizing, and it makes me uncomfortable. - You need to find some way to accept these types of mistakes will be fixed. – Ramhound Oct 17 '18 at 20:51
  • +1 from me, the question is not even close to being a duplicate of "Do Stack Exchange sites allow editing of comments and posts from other users? [duplicate]" And the answers here are easier and quicker to read, and understand than in the dupe's dupe. – Mari-Lou A Oct 20 '18 at 4:50
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    This ... wasn't even close to being a duplicate, this raises a whole different discussion about certain kinds of edits. Reopened. – Tim Post Nov 1 '18 at 16:14

We're all working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about [insert topic here]. Just like real-world books which end up in a library have copy editors to fix grammatical and spelling errors, Stack Exchange has those editors as well. Content with typographical errors is (IMHO) harder but in any case less pleasant to read.

That said, if somebody posts a snarky comment (is that what you meant by "jumping down my throat"?) about those mistakes, flag it as 'unfriendly'; if somebody changes American to British spelling or vice versa, or introduces or removes an Oxford comma, feel free to roll it back (or reject it as "no improvement" in case of a suggested edit). Otherwise, improving other people's posts is part of the Stack Exchange culture; if you don't like it, I fear you have resort to forum-like sites to get your problems resolved.

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  • This question is a duplicate; see my comment. – Sonic the Stay-Home Hedgehog Oct 17 '18 at 18:28
  • I have no close votes left today :P – Glorfindel Oct 17 '18 at 18:29
  • Perhaps I shouldn't have pointed out to them a long time ago that they didn't down-adjust it from 50/day (back when the TOU notification and resulting flood happened) – Sonic the Stay-Home Hedgehog Oct 17 '18 at 18:30
  • @SonictheInclusiveWerehog (please shorten your username it takes up so many characters) I believe that the answers here are much better than in the older question. Why are so many questions closed as duplicates when the older questions are shoddy and the answers incomplete? Wait! This question doesn't ask about editing comments, but about "trivial" edits. The two questions are far from being identical. – Mari-Lou A Oct 20 '18 at 4:43
  • @Mari-LouA "Sonic" works fine, no need to type the whole thing if you don't want to. The author there clearly mistyped "posts" as comments; it's clearly not possible for others to edit comments, or why post that question in the first place? The other answer didn't exist when I made that comment, and the author is expected to search for relevant posts first. The fact that a question is closed as a duplicate doesn't necessarily mean the answers are bad. – Sonic the Stay-Home Hedgehog Oct 20 '18 at 5:11
  • @Sonic who said the answers on the dupe were bad? I'm saying the answers on this page are better. They're clearer. I also don't understand when you say the OP mistyped comments for posts. (It is in fact, possible for a mod to edit a comment, without any warning). It's clear user @-maciek, who posted only one Q five years ago, is not a native speaker but he definitely asked about editing comments and the two answers also refer to that. – Mari-Lou A Oct 20 '18 at 5:35
  • On the other hand, user40146 (on this page) is complaining about edits that seem to be demeaning or deliberately highlighting minor errors. The two questions deal with quite separate issues. – Mari-Lou A Oct 20 '18 at 5:35

It sounds like it would help to change your perspective. The way I see editing is it's like an exchange: when I see mistakes in others' posts I fix them, and when people see mistakes in my posts they fix them. Nobody's perfect, but having others edit your posts might make you at least look closer to perfect ;)

I don't see it really being a big problem if these edits are being done quickly either (although I usually only edit posts that are at least 5 minutes old). Sometimes an early edit prevents downvotes and encourages upvotes.

If it's just a comment suggesting a change, the right action is to implement the fix, then flag as "no longer needed" so the comment is deleted. (If the comment was rude, then you could flag it as "unfriendly or unkind".)

On the other hand, if you see an inappropriate edit (e.g. switching the spelling between American and British spellings, switching brace style in code, edits accidentally that make the grammar worse), you should feel free to roll it back. If it's a suggested edit you can just reject it. (If there was anything good in the edit, the right action may be to just accept it and edit the parts you don't like, since it's often less work.)

Edits that are not just bad and are actually malicious (e.g. add spam or abusive language, either in the edit summary or in the edit itself) should be either:

  • Rejected with the spam or vandalism reason (if a suggested edit). This reason triggers rate limits faster than the others, which is important when it's a spate of bad edits.
  • Flagged (if it's not a suggested edit or a suggested edit was wrongfully approved). You can flag the post that was edited maliciously for moderator attention, making sure that you're clear on what the problem is.
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