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I wanted to ask why I am being informed that a post was modified when I cannot see any modifications to that post, but I found the answer to that question in these two posts:

Question says modified when no modification was done?

Last activity on question shows modified by user who did not ask or answer

Earlier, I had spent some time reviewing a particular post and investigating the reason why I could not find any modification, namely:

I selected the Questions search report with ACTIVE selected, which includes posts that have been recently modified (in addition to other posts). I noticed an interesting question title of a post that had been modified.

So, I clicked on the "1 modified 4 hours ago" link on this question: linking a button to another page in SweetAlert

enter image description here

On reaching the post, I saw that the post had not been edited. I checked the answers which also had not been edited. I reviewed the activity history of all of the posts of this question (fortunately only two answers) and nothing had changed. No votes, no edits, nothing.

I clicked on the "modified today" link at the top of the post and it just refreshed the page.

I reviewed the profile of the user who made the modification.

I had a look at the "modified" link which appears at the bottom left of the browser window in the status bar and it showed:

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/60250695/linking-a-button-to-another-page-in-sweetalert/77542033?lastactivity

I therefore suspected that 77542033 refers to an answer that had been deleted, but I was not sure because my reputation on SO is below 2K and I cannot see deleted posts.

I ran a query on SEDE and it appeared that there is no post with an id of 77542033, so I presumed that if this were a post then it was created in the last day or two and was deleted before making it to the last SEDE database update.

Either way, I assumed that the reason I could not see any modifications was because of the level of my reputation.

And then I found the above referenced posts about this topic on Meta.

All of the above took time.

Taking into account that most of the users on SO are low rep users, why are we suggesting that they look at a modified post which, for them, has not been modified?

Please filter out modified posts that a low reputation user cannot see from the questions search report.

Alternatively, as mentioned in the comments, please provide information that the post has already been deleted, for example: "The referenced post was posted on 2023-11-24T145448Z, but deleted on 2023-11-24T153135Z (37 minutes later) due to a moderation activity".

I would be interested to know what percentage of the posts that are marked as "modified" are not in fact, for a low reputation user, modified.

On a separate issue, the information at the top of a post indicating when a post was last modified is also erroneous for low reputation users who cannot see everything that was modified.

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    I will just mention that you can check that this is indeed a (deleted) answer on the post by trying the URL https://stackoverflow.com/a/77542033 stackoverflow.com/a/77542033. And, as you rightly say, once the database has been updated one can check this using a SEDE query.
    – Martin
    Nov 24, 2023 at 15:28
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    Or alternatively, provide the information on trying to open it. For example, "The referenced post was posted on 2023-11-24T145448Z, but deleted on 2023-11-24T153135Z (37 minutes later) due to a moderation activity." Nov 24, 2023 at 15:32
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    So much this. I waste so much time doing this. And further, there is so much effort we see being put in to increasing engagement and voting. I can tell you that when this happens to me I almost always close out my tab in irritation, and am disincentivized from coming back.
    – JonathanZ
    Nov 24, 2023 at 15:42

1 Answer 1

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Over time I have picked up the bag of tricks that exist to find out what was actually modified when a post pops back to the top of the front page. But they're a clumsy, inefficient, unreliable set of tools, as testified to by the OP, and end up wasting lots of people's time.

Every time there is an update to "whatever post data determines display ranking", there is a reason for it. If the system would just record that reason somewhere, and give me easy access to it later, it would save me a lot of time and frustration.

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