I innocently edited the title of the question, I accidentally a whole fact table. Apparently, this kind of grammar with no verb is an internet meme. Because I was not familiar with said meme (which I do find funny and will probably use elsewhere), it suckered me and at least two others into revising it.

When I edit a post, I spend my own valuable time to contribute to the quality of the site, with no other compensation than the fact that I am indefinably helping somehow (and, I suppose, serving the complaining OCD voices in my head that don't like to see poor grammar).

Anyway, while the title may be humorous, I'm not so sure it's the best kind of humor to have here, given how it's going to keep sucking people in to try to edit the question.

I also don't think locking the question is the right answer, either, because this won't prevent people from visiting the question to try to fix it.

What do you think?

  • 52
    the fact that a 10k+ user is engaged in an edit war on the side of the silly joke is a bit sad. Keeping things organized and searchable should trump peoples' little jokes, otherwise 4chan will come riding in on their lolcats and destroy the place. Even here on meta "Who Moved my cheese?" got renamed, and that was a lot funnier.
    – Brad Mace
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 8:18
  • Should have closed it as a duplicate of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/41976/…
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 12:26
  • 1
    I accidentally your question. Is this dangerous?
    – bkaid
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 19:19
  • 15
    So tempted to edit the title of this q to "Don't click this link, it's dangerous!" Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 20:21
  • 4
    @bemace - "4chan will come riding in on their lolcats and destroy the place" is both hilarious and oh, so accurate. Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 15:59
  • It's funny that I made a typo in my edit to the title of this question... but then, the kind soul who helped me fix didn't waste time because of course it was a mistake.
    – ErikE
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 20:24
  • I wonder if a moderator or @Bill the Lizard could do as the question's OP is asking in his answer to this question---fix the title as he requested since it now isn't accurate?
    – ErikE
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 23:52

4 Answers 4


The title should be edited correctly and the post locked. The users involved should at least be looked at closely. While perhaps not intended as such, it's just internet vandalism and isn't really what this site is about.

  • 2
    I've edited the title to be somewhat more descriptive, if someone can / cares to lock it. Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 8:40
  • 3
    Like Mark commented on his answer: locking doesn't merely prevent the title from being edited: it prevents voting and answering, as well. In this specific case, the question has been answered, and the OP was involved in the trolling, so I feel in this case locking is fine.
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 8:56

One of the main goals of Stack Exchange is to be the first hit (or one of the first hits) for people trying to solve problems using Google searches. To that end, the clearer the title, the better.

In this case, it appears the author and a high rep user have decided that's not important and are entering into an edit war over a really lame title.

I don't think you're being trolled per se, but some people tend to forget there's a bigger picture and think you're just being a stick in the mud by changing a "funny" title. They also tend to forget that Stack Exchange is collaboratively edited, and that the original poster's intent does not outweigh the greater good.

Bringing it to the attention of the greater community is A Good Thing, but you can't fight and win every internet battle: if a user is so adamant about not accepting community input to the point where it's disruptive, flag it for a moderator so they can weigh in on it and move on.

  • 1
    @Mark, it would be nice if they could fine tune the locking mechanism. Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 8:49
  • 1
    @Lance be that as it may, there are tools—like overwhelming community support for a clearer title, down-votes, potential moderator endorsement for a different title, and potential suspensions for disruptive users—that are far more suited to the job.
    – user149432
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 8:52
  • @Lance: it used to be finer-grained (you could lock a question without preventing answers); folks were just confused by it.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 19, 2011 at 23:08
  • Agreed with this. Even on Gaming, rife with memetic opportunities, we have to sometimes edit these out for the greater good of people actually finding the blasted question (such as this question, which got such a revision). Of course, that's where revision comments come in. ♪
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 13:39

I was the OP of the SO question being debated here and I'm sorry for creating such a hubbub.

I'd like to point out that I made the first rollback with a note attached explaining my reasons -- as well as the second (because I was feeling chuffed) but the flurry of edits that followed came from 2 unrelated users, not me.

I chose the original title because it was entertaining (to me at least) and eye catching but also because it was accurate. I had no idea what I had done to the fact table after cancelling the update. "I accidentally a whole fact table" was exactly the state I was in at the time. I knew I had done something to the fact table and it was accidental but I couldn't say exactly what it was that I had done.

I understand the concerns of the community to provide clear questions and answers. I felt like the content of the post was serious and valuable enough that a bit of levity would be overlooked. I obviously under-estimated the will of the editors.

Anyway, my concern now is that the question as written "Corrupted database table with invalid query: what has it done and will it roll back?" is actually incorrect. The table wasn't corrupted. I'd not have a problem, for the sake of peace, to see it changed to a more accurate: "Invalid Update Statement: What has it done and will it roll back?" if anyone with the authority cares enough to make the change.

Lastly, I find the furor over this to be disheartening. I'm not here to cause trouble, I've been a member since the whole thing started and have preached the value of the site to everyone who's ever come to me with a question. While I take my work quite seriously, I think it's fun, fascinating and quite often funny. I have worked with the guys who never smile at work. "The Glower" and "The Sigh" are the only 2 expressions they own and you know what? They crush they enthusiasm out of a team. Using words like "Vandal" and "Troll" to describe a little levity and letting that sort of attitude pervade the spirit of the site is the short road to ending up like ExpertsExchange.

  • 8
    I don't think the furor is about you, it's about folks willfully rolling back more descriptive (to the best of their knowledge) attempts at a title in favor of an internet meme title. If you think the edits have incorrectly characterized your question, you should re-edit the question to make it better. Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 14:42
  • 1
    TrickyNixon I did not intend to call you a troll or to make it personal in any way. It was simply a matter of how anyone who "wasn't in on the joke" could be innocently sucked in to edit (like me). I like the humor, but didn't enjoy the (unintentional) trick that was played on me and two others who edited the title. It wasn't about you being intentionally mean at all, just about the unintended negative effect the title war was having on others. Instead of imposing my will on your question, I took it to the community. Maybe I was being oversensitive, for all I knew.
    – ErikE
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 17:24
  • 3
    I will say that while you didn't know exactly what you had done to the table, that still didn't require a grammatically incorrect title obviously lacking a verb. I'm a big jokester myself--I even like the joke and will use it elsewhere. But since it was tricking people into editing it... then it isn't cool. I'm sorry it didn't work out. I will get rid of the references to trolling that I can (I hope you can see that it felt like trolling even if that wasn't your intent).
    – ErikE
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 17:27
  • 2
    Don't worry. I'm not taking any of this personally at all. It's amusing and I thought I'd just throw my story on the fire. From the POV of someone who doesn't know the meme, I can see where the post looked wrong and would lead to wasted effort editing it. Which is an acceptable reason for changing it. Also, I didn't find your raising of the question at all inappropriate. It was some of the posts that followed that sounded rather sour. Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 18:14

Found some relevant discussions:

Personally I think if the question body had started with "I accidentally my whole table" it would've been just fine. And then if someone then commented "Sounds dangerous" that'd be fine to. But question titles are much more visible. In many cases they'll be people's first introduction to the site as they find questions through Google, so it's important that they are clear and accurate. In any case, getting into an edit war over any of these is just silly.

Edit: TheTXI makes a good point in Should 'Hi', 'thanks', taglines, and salutations be removed from posts?. Starting with a joke uses up space in the question preview, making it a little harder for people to tell what it's about. I'm not sure that means you can't start with a joke, but it's worth considering. Even better would be to end the question with "I can't believe I accidentally the whole thing!".

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