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The policy of "minor fixing" of posts is nebulous at best. It is on most SE sites. I'm fine with that. It's generally taken as "live and let live" by most users.

What I do have a problem with is when people that are new to this particular forum see fit to play Mrs Biddle the 4th grade grammar teacher and go correcting posts -- anyones, really, but mine especially (since they're the only edits I tend to see) -- from 2 years ago

My personal opinion is that the following should be refused:

  • non-owner post-editing for any reason other than clarity (such as helping a non-native speaker)
  • non-owner post-edits suggested by anyone with < 500pts or 3 weeks activity

(Arbitrary numbers, to be sure . . . but it's basically to establish a minimum of activity.)

Changing their/they're/there or then/than is clearly clarity. If the only reason you're editing is for changing to a capital "A" at the beginning of the sentence, then it's purely cosmetic and unnecessary.

[edit] here's the latest edits that got me all riled up: https://parenting.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/2313.

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  • For reference, this was mentioned in chat just now and also back in Oct'13. Jan 4 '14 at 19:49
  • While I agree with you, is there a way to enforce this? I always thought it was just a function of how the site it designed. Witnessed quite an editing war over on Movies&TV last week!
    – MJ6
    Jan 4 '14 at 23:58
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    Yes. Edits like these require approval by people that are generally going to be aware of the policy. When they disallow the edit, it goes away. It's one of the few policies that land squarely in the hands of moderators.
    – monsto
    Jan 5 '14 at 1:49
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    The same topic has been brought up on many meta sites. In general, the SE community's standpoint is that each edit which makes the post better should be accepted. I believe this is right for this community.
    – Dariusz
    Jan 6 '14 at 2:37
  • I'm sorry the edit upset you, but while I'm new to Parenting, I am not new to Stack Exchange in general. I truly believe that improved grammar and formatting make a post easier to read and understand, and I love the fact that the community can ensure that posts are as awesome as they can be. That's all I was doing to your post, and to the new answer that question received that week, which I also provided a suggested edit for. Jan 9 '14 at 20:10
  • 1st, a point of psychology, and I'm not hunting for an apology "I'm sorry what that thing did to you" isn't really an apology. 2ndarily, and it's something that I don't think I mentioned in all of the conversation around the subject: Be consistent. "Improved grammar and formatting" on a handful of posts has zero impact on the general readability of the forum. Either do it effectively or don't do it (which I guess works for both points). If you wanted to improve the board and had a hundred edits/day for a few days, that's an actual improvement. (more)
    – monsto
    Jan 11 '14 at 18:49
  • (cont)"Oh, he's just angry." Yeah I'm still angry. The changes to my post where inconsequential on the specific level, on the board level, and on the thread which was pretty much in archive. Abstractly, my entire point has been completely dismissed by all except one person. It was as if nobody could understand at all what I was talking about "becasue the site rules are very clear". And to dismiss someone (specifically me), because you don't really get them is further antagonizing. It has been a quite revealing interaction.
    – monsto
    Jan 11 '14 at 18:57
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    Angry or not, why, exactly, would a rational person oppose improvement -- your rep wasn't harmed, your post was improved... ever heard the saying "no harm, no foul"? Perhaps, "Much ado about nothing"? Just take the improvements, ignore them and continue to need improvement, or learn from them. As another saying goes, "Don't attack the messenger." Jan 25 '14 at 4:25
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A couple of points:

Edits like these require approval by people that are generally going to be aware of the policy. When they disallow the edit, it goes away. It's one of the few policies that land squarely in the hands of moderators.

Reviewing suggested edits is a privilege available to all users with 1000 reputation on public beta sites. That's far more than just the moderators. Additionally, suggested edits are reviewed by multiple people, so it is not just one person making the decision.

What I do have a problem with is when people that are new to this particular forum see fit to play Mrs Biddle the 4th grade grammar teacher and go correcting posts -- anyones, really, but mine especially (since they're the only edits I tend to see) -- from 2 years ago

How old the post is is completely irrelevant (note that in this case, it was bumped to the front page because a new answer was added to the question). Who originally wrote the post is completely irrelevant (we're not going to have one policy for your posts, and another policy for everyone else's posts). How long the person suggesting the edit has been a member of our community is completely irrelevant.

The only thing that is relevant is: does the edit improve the question?

My personal opinion is that the following should be refused:

  • non-owner post-editing for any reason other than clarity (such as helping a non-native speaker)
  • non-owner post-edits suggested by anyone with < 500pts or 3 weeks activity

The whole point of grammar and punctuation is to improve clarity. Spelling helps with clarity and search engine optimization. The reputation or duration of activity is irrelevant, so long as they edits the propose are improvements. It is folly to suggest that the user, rather than the edits themselves be considered the metric for whether an edit improves a post or not.

Changing their/they're/there or then/than is clearly clarity. If the only reason you're editing is for changing to a capital "A" at the beginning of the sentence, then it's purely cosmetic and unnecessary.

Agreed. Edits for one or two minor things like capitalization are too trivial, may unnecessarily bump up old content, and should be rejected.

However, the edit you are complaining about is not just changing to a capital "A". That change was one of 8 different improvements made to your answer. While it might be arguable that 8 changes that were just capitalizing words might still be too trivial (I disagree), included in the edits were fixing a non-standard abbreviation ("mo" is not universally recognizable as "month"), and multiple misspellings (regardless of whether it was deliberate or not, "gettin" and "goin" are not the correct spellings, and "Benadryl" is correct, and "benedryl" is not).

As I mentioned above, proper spelling helps search engines properly index our content, and therefore helps our site to grow. It also helps individual users who are searching for particular content.

I know that anyone editing your posts upsets you, but as has been repeatedly mentioned: this is part of the stackexchange model, and it is a fact of life here. It is up to each user with >1000 reputation to decide on their own if they feel an edit improves a post or not, and even if we did agree here on meta that a policy like your suggestions makes sense for our site, there's no practical way for us to enforce it, short of rolling back edits that we felt were in contradiction to this policy (which would cause further disruption to the "active question" feed).

Finally, rolling back valid edits to your posts just because you don't like the idea of other people editing your content is not appropriate. Rolling back style changes is one thing. Rolling back spelling corrections is another, and is not appropriate.

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  • "rolling back valid edits to your posts just because you don't like the idea of other people editing your content is not appropriate. Rolling back style changes is one thing. Rolling back spelling corrections is another, and is not appropriate." << Noted.
    – monsto
    Jan 7 '14 at 19:04
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I understand your point, Monsto, but I'm not sure I agree. To me, the deciding factor when reviewing an edit is whether the overall quality of the post is improved.

I'm sorry to be blunt but as soon as you hit that "Post" button, your contribution is no longer yours. It belongs to the community, and it's in the community's interest to make all posts as good as they can be.

Let's say a contributor didn't use the shift key, or is a native speaker and wrote in slang, or used texting abbreviations. To me, the net result of such a style would be poor. If another contributor came along and made inconsequential edits that just turn the post into proper writing, that's a positive change.

Inconsequential edits is subjective of course, but to me that includes grammar and wording. So on this point I disagree with you. "Cosmetic" does not equal "unnecessary" because of the broken windows syndrome: we want to have a consistently high quality, or else we're demonstrating that low quality is acceptable and before you know it, every third post is all-lowercase, Twitter-like, and full of texting shortcuts. We don't want that.

Finally, editing is a way for low-rep users to gain rep! The fact that they are low-rep means that their edits are reviewed to ensure that the editing policy is adhered to. Flat-out disallowing low-rep users to make inconsequential edits deprives them of this means to earn rep, and that's not a friendly thing to do on a site that is still working hard on building a solid audience.

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  • I've modified the OP to link to the post-edits that started this. I am all for helping a non-native speaker, as I said above. Or, say, changing "u" to "you" for clarity. I'm also on board with "it belongs to the community". I get that too. The edits made did not enhance the post (If the edits were necessary for readability then a mod should have done it 2 years ago) and they came from a person that is not truly part of the community (with a 121 rep). Technically, he is (he registered); realistically, he is not. This encapsulates my point.
    – monsto
    Jan 6 '14 at 5:59
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    Saying that a low-rep user is not part of the community is bordering on offensive. The edits he made might as well have come from me, would that have made a difference? Why does it matter how old the content is? Jan 6 '14 at 12:12
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    I think you misunderstood what moderators do. We're not "Mrs. Biddle" either and it's not our job to clean up posts. Our job as moderators is to act as guides and mediators. Editing is a community activity, and we support that. Jan 6 '14 at 17:33

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