A warning: This is feedback. My question is mostly rhetorical.

I would like to state that I feel insulted and demeaned when another user edits my lovingly-crafted question or answer, removing elements of tone they judge to be superfluous. (Such as politeness, courtesy, or words intended to make new users feel welcome to the community.)

I can understand why we might want to give ourselves the ability to remove bad advice, spelling and grammar errors, or content intended to abuse others.

But when another user feels it is their duty to make a value judgement about my tone - removing anything welcoming or conversational about it - five seconds after I post an answer... then what kind of a world have we created for ourselves?

Is this what we want? To encourage our users not to contribute to these communities, but to attack the contributions of others?

  • 17
    Possible duplicate of Should 'Hi', 'thanks', taglines, and salutations be removed from posts?. Also, note that calling people names ("amateur thought police") doesn't picture you as wanting to have a constructive discussion. – Jenayah Oct 22 '20 at 17:47
  • 2
    @Jenayah It's about the kind of community we want to create. I'll say that if you're right that I am duplicating that other question, then nearly 1,000 people want that community to be strictly utilitarian. I was answering a post from a new programmer, and Stackoverflow instructed me to "be gentle". I was, and I was punished for it. Do we want to be a welcoming community, or one of strictly-enforced unwritten rules? – Leo Orientis Oct 22 '20 at 17:55
  • 14
    The specific user who edited your post didn't make a judgement about politeness being superfluous. The judgement was made by those who wrote the rules, and the user enforced the rules. – HolyBlackCat Oct 22 '20 at 18:19
  • 2
    @LeoOrientis Another point of view to help understand this rule: keep in mind that your answer is supposed to help many people in the future, not just OP. It should be worded neutral for that reason, like a tutorial or documentation. – Tufkamt Oct 23 '20 at 5:51
  • Please research the goals & conventions of the site before you use it. – philipxy Oct 23 '20 at 6:03
  • It can be put in comments - that is where meta information belongs. E.g. "Thanks for your attention. I am looking forward to your wonderful answers with anticipation." – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Oct 23 '20 at 18:25

People edit down the cruft to avoid situations like this:

meme about recipes preceded by an entire life story

People come here to find answers, not distractions. The things you describe are just noise.

Is this what we want? Some kind of amateur thought police, whose primary joy in life seems to be not to contribute to these communities, but to attack the contributions of others?

You're just as much part of the thought police as everyone else here, after all, you're trying to police the thought that's at the very essence of SE: that it's a place for questions and answers without distractions, and that you should be allowed to distract.

Editing a post to remove the pleasantries, increase information density and get to the core of the answer is not an attack, it's someone else helping you improve your content, spending their time and effort on it. After all, they could've just silently downvoted...

  • 3
    Or vote to delete – Luuklag Oct 22 '20 at 17:56
  • @Tinkingeringbell I've upvoted your answer. It is thoughtful and considerate, and you make a very good point. But I simply don't agree. I don't think we need to give people the ability to edit others comments in order to keep them from writing a novel. You're probably in the majority here. But I reserve my right to dissent. – Leo Orientis Oct 22 '20 at 18:04
  • 15
    @LeoOrientis Dissent on Meta can have its uses, but only when done with solid arguments, reasons, and when done with the sway and ability to convince others. Your original post is on the verge of claiming dissent as a reason to be rude and dismiss a whole group of core contributors as 'the amateur thought police'. Be careful in your further ventures. – Tinkeringbell Oct 22 '20 at 18:11
  • 9
    @LeoOrientis note you can't edit others' comments, only their posts. This is a core part of the model (see e.g. stackoverflow.com/help/editing). You have the right to disagree, but if you e.g. roll back edits that follow the community's guidelines (not that I'm saying you would) you'll find your posts get locked. – jonrsharpe Oct 22 '20 at 18:20
  • 2
    @Tinkeringbell You win. – Leo Orientis Oct 22 '20 at 18:22
  • 10
    @LeoOrientis you have the full right to disagree and to ask for changes, that's exactly what we have this site for. I see your point, but I'm also in the majority and fully support the ability to edit posts made by others. As new user, I saw this as a way to teach us how the place works. As veteran user, I still see it this way and still have even my own posts edited sometimes to fix grammar and even remove fluff, and I'm fine with it. Cheers for taking it in a good way. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Oct 22 '20 at 18:28

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .