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It's that dreadful time of year again, hats.

Not that I dislike hats so much, but all the pointless post bumps from are something I don't want to see on the question list. The culprit, of course, is the Werewolf Hunter hat (given out for editing 5 questions on meta that were posted more than a year ago), which encourages people to edit old posts. Now I could live with the occasional edit of old posts when they're used as a duplicate target, or became otherwise relevant (again).

But whenever the result of all those edits is a question list that looks like this:

Enter image description here

Because of quality edits like these: Enter image description here Enter image description here

It is time to say goodbye to that hat, and stop crowding the question list with garbage.

P.S. nothing personal against this user.

  • 8
    It's even more ironic that a massive wave of suggested-edit-retags has started here yesterday, and those maybe don't even count towards the hat (just like tag-only edits don't count towards Archaeologist or even Copy Editor). – Glorfindel Dec 10 '19 at 8:15
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    Thanks for bringing it up, and sorry for the bother. I'll see what can be done... – Yaakov Ellis Dec 10 '19 at 8:36
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    Thank you for your response @YaakovEllis – Luuklag Dec 10 '19 at 8:38
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    Ah. This explains why a bunch of old Physics.SE posts got trivial edits yesterday. – PM 2Ring Dec 10 '19 at 9:19
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    It's not just low-rep users making low-quality Meta edits, either. Check this one out. – F1Krazy Dec 10 '19 at 13:42
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    It is pretty obvious too, people trying to get the hat just putting in 5 trivial edits in a row on old posts. – X-27 wants to Reinstate Monica Dec 10 '19 at 23:08
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    @X-27wantstoReinstateMonica yup, happened now here on MSE too. :/ – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Dec 11 '19 at 11:50
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    Meta.SO is facing the same issue. I had to rollback 1 or 2. The way I got the hat was actually making appropriate edits, like fixing bad grammar issues and broken links. – user651518 Dec 11 '19 at 12:23
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    @F1Krazy Unbelievable. Don't these editors realise that these edits will be visible, and noticed by their peers, and talked about, and that some of those who see will remember their names and what they did? I can't get my head around the mindset of someone who values being temporarily able to show off a fancy hat highly enough to go and make a bunch of edits for it, but doesn't value their reputation (the real thing, I mean, not the number!) highly enough to be shamed out of doing so in a conspicuously abusive way. – Mark Amery Dec 11 '19 at 14:45
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    I'm OK with hat hunters that improve posts, even trivially. I'm not OK with minor edits that make a post worse (e.g., adding in inappropriate articles) – De Novo Dec 11 '19 at 21:52
  • @MarkAmery in all honesty, it's very likely likely don't realise all that. It's exactly spelled out that edits will bump a post. I honestly didn't know about this for quite a while, even if I was making edits. I simply never looked at the active questions then. It's also likely that these users don't care. Let's be honest here - all the gamification is to encourage doing tasks. We know some users pursue the gamification rather than the actual goal (FGTW immediately comes to mind), so it's therefore natural that some users will pursue the hat despite the ripple effects they cause. – VLAZ Dec 12 '19 at 6:55
  • Another example (rev 4) – Mast Dec 12 '19 at 9:31
42

Thanks for pointing that out, we've noted this trigger for retirement and it shouldn't be used in future years, clearly, there's a disconnected between the goal (getting people to curate old posts) and the edits you've been seeing.

For this year, to reduce the disruptiveness that the original hat definition has introduced, we have

  • Reduced the requirement from 5 to 3 edits
  • Changed the hat to trigger on editing of 3 questions on either meta or main sites

If we do ever want to revisit that trigger, it should be with edits to help make sure the edits (heh) are of lasting value.

  • Thank you so much for your quick response. I think this is the best course of action indeed! – Luuklag Dec 11 '19 at 15:30
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    I'm genuinely impressed. In all the years there has been an "edit X" for a hat as a trigger this is the only time SE has tweaked the trigger to make it better. – David Dec 12 '19 at 5:01
  • I would have sworn that the trigger for this hat was always 3. It certainly was only 3 when I wrote this answer, because I distinctly remember investigating the root cause of these annoying edits just moments before I fortuitously found an outlet to put that frustration into words. At any rate, thank you for considering this and making changes to attempt to alleviate the problem. As others have commented, the motivation is good, and I have no problem with even trivial edits to old posts. Just not wrong edits. – Cody Gray Dec 12 '19 at 7:26
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    I know that the trigger for this hat was 5, because I literally changed it from 5 to 3 in the code 😊. In any event, the logic has now also been changed to work on main sites (so people seeking the hat are not limited to editing on meta sites). Best of luck. – Yaakov Ellis Dec 12 '19 at 8:43
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    Great work @YaakovEllis! SO inc. could use more people like you! – Luuklag Dec 12 '19 at 10:40
  • Minor suggestion: include tag-wiki-body and tag-wiki-excerpt edits: they don't bump anything. – Cœur Dec 14 '19 at 14:52
23

Agreed, I think a few things that make this a poor choice for a hat:

  • Meta sites tend to have more active power users that are quick to edit / retag any problematic posts they see. I think just about all my early posts to meta sites had any worthwhile problems fixed within minutes.

  • Unlike the main sites that are trying to build a useful knowledge base, let’s face it, a lot of meta posts are fairly temporal. Having five year old bugs show as active posts just causes confusion for anyone with a current problem.

  • For the smaller sites it's pretty normal for the active question list to span back months. This is a real way to hide any new concerns pretty quickly if just a few users go after the badge.

If anything, I'd rather see the hat for edits on main sites with more lasting value, but that'd probably need a few conditions as well and be another question.

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