We've come across a few posts as mods that don't really meet the 'modern' standards of SE. Its a bit of a pickle since we can either delete them, edit them (unilaterally) or leave them alone. None of these options feels very good - in these cases, the edits seem minor, we'd love to have peer review on these and leaving alone seems... politely controversial.

I experimented with an anonymous edit, had it rejected, and got a little back and forth feedback on chat. This is an example of something I'd fix if I came across and the process we'd use to edit it.

We'd like to keep these edits minimal, relatively uncommon (so no going around chasing every single marginal case). I'd want peer review so I'm stuck with using anonymous edits if I do it this way.

Now the feedback I got was - well it wasn't clear what was happening. This is valid. Would an edit reason saying what we were up to better? Would cleanups of such questions be an improvement over other options?

On a regular site, I'd ask on meta... but this is meta. I'd like to know what the active community here feels about it.

  • You’re going to have to include examples. If you don’t want to link, quote, and describe the issues you perceive and how you’d propose to minimally edit to fix them. – Dan Bron Dec 29 '18 at 12:49
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    I've linked an example right there with the anonymous edit - its an example of a post I would edit, and how I would edit it. – Journeyman Geek Dec 29 '18 at 12:50
  • Is this an example: meta.stackoverflow.com/q/334707/5587356 ? – Super Jade Dec 30 '18 at 4:54
  • That's SO - not our problem XD. But yes, if I came across that I'd have a serious think over how best to deal with it. And that would be a hard one to fix without changing the intent of it – Journeyman Geek Dec 30 '18 at 5:29

I rejected that edit because the word 'imbecile' is (in my book, YMMV) not necessarily offensive when used in this particular phrase in conditional form.

Consider the following examples:

  • "You're an imbecile" -> flaggable as rude/abusive
  • "You're acting like an imbecile" -> as a comment, certainly 'unfriendly/unkind', as a post, I'd edit it out
  • "If you drink any more beer, you'll start acting like an imbecile." -> a bit harsh, but civil enough

You're right, using 'immature' leaves no room for misinterpretation, more or less preserves the intent of the author, and may therefore be slightly better. It's not an edit I would roll back if it was approved. However, it was IMHO not substantial enough to bump a very old post (I didn't see in the review queue that the thread had already been active today).

In general, I'm not sure if you should be using anonymous edits for this. Yes, you get peer review, but only from 2 or 3 other users; hardly representative for the community. The same edit might have been approved if you suggested it at a different time of the day.

Actually, now that I think of it, this very post is a much better way to gain community support / peer review for this. I'm not sure if this Q&A will lead to a definitive outcome, but let's suppose the community approves this operation. As a ♦ moderator (actually, even as a user with 2000 reputation), you have been trusted with tools to make Meta Stack Exchange a Better Place™ and don't need peer review for every single case.


Why should there be a difference between old and new posts?

Should they be fixed? Yes.

Reasons to fix old "nasty" posts:

  • It is confusing to new users to see differing standards across a site

  • People who find posts via search engines could get a bad impression of the site from old posts. Such people will not generally see new posts rather than old ones, and they do not have any context from which to view old posts. They see only that yes, there is nastiness going on here. That might even stop them from creating an account in an extreme case.

  • They provide ammo for people who want to find a problem with how they are being treated when their posts are fixed/flagged/removed/etc. "How can you attack me when HE did the same?"

How? I don't see why they shouldn't be edited just the same as any post.

I do have an issue with a flood of old posts taking up the homepage, but if they are handled organically like any other post, I don't see any problem with bumping old questions.

Does age make a post irrelevant by default? They are still part of the site. Treating old posts the same as new ones could also help weed out the old clutter in the basement.

  • Not at all, no. But if they were new posts - some aspects of our actions, reaching out to users to let them know its not ok for example would run differently. In a sense - we're fixing the community equivilent of "tech debt" rather than debugging community norms in a live system ;p – Journeyman Geek Dec 29 '18 at 14:20
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    @JourneymanGeek: There is one big difference here, though. We have the resources (users) to do both. (Things are a little different on SO, though.) – hat Dec 29 '18 at 14:54
  • True - but there's a few other considerations. Current posts are actively moderated. The last thing folks want is folks actively going out and bumping a few dozen posts a day with good intentions and poor execution. – Journeyman Geek Dec 30 '18 at 0:52
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    I see no problem with a "flood" of edited old high quality posts displacing some of the new low quality posts from the homepage. – Raedwald Dec 30 '18 at 9:58

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