3

I feel over-edited in this thread: How best to take advantage of a child's extended vacation

I don't feel comfortable writing instructions to this OP in the style, Do this, do that. It is more my style in this situation to say, "You can do this, you can do that." Because I see these ideas as just ideas to consider -- suggestions -- not instructions.

Also, when I described the brainstorming with a clipboard, my intention was that it be a parent-child activity -- something the two would do together. So I'm not comfortable with that edit.

Would it be helpful to go over the guidelines for editing, and what the author is permitted to do to make sure the final version feels like his own writing, and not someone else's?

I participate in a handful of other SE sites, and I don't have this problem on the others. People vote something up or down and comment -- but the moderators do a whole lot less. If someone's writing style gets on a lot of people's nerves, that gets reflected in the votes and comments -- there isn't this massive use of the red pen on the part of a particular moderator.

Could some comparisons be drawn with the world of publishing? Proofread vs. fact-check vs. copy-edit vs. re-write, to articulate how far an editor may go in changing content and style, and how far an author (participant) may go in restoring content and style?

Citations from StackExchange instructions and guidelines would be helpful.

What this reminds me of is one of my children's fourth grade teacher, who handed my son back his five-page book report covered with red pen criticisms. There was more red pen on each page than there was original text. She didn't manage to help him become a better writer -- he simply shut down and stopped believing in himself as a writer, and lost all the joy of writing. (Fortunately, he had a very positive English teacher in sixth grade who was able to turn things around.)

Anyway, this feels similar.

A related Meta post that SE suggested: Post editing for reasons other than clarity

||||||
  • 2
    The edits were minor (I considered not making them at all), they are for the same old things, which you do repeatedly, and for which you always have a lengthy explanation, as if it's news. Also, you don't mention that it was after you edited (yet again) a previous edit I made before your suspension. You're not a trusted user, you're a user just back from her third suspension. If you want to be treated like a trusted user, become one. That doesn't happen by posting about every single event you don't approve of in meta, or by routinely rolling back mod edits. – anongoodnurse Jul 25 '15 at 5:31
  • 4
    We don't always have strong community use of down voting to help remove or improve poor or borderline posts. Parenting can be a highly charged, opinionated topic that draws upvotes from people who agree with someone's answer, even if it's not grounded in anything other than opinion. You may think it's only moderators taking the time to improve your posts, but I'm positive other community users are flagging your answers for moderator attention, too. You will not see or be informed about users flagging your content. – user11394 Jul 25 '15 at 20:31
  • 2
    Aparente - as @CreationEdge says, we do get flags on your posts, and not just on this site, so your post is bring a bit ingenuous and a wee bit misleading. Do not point the finger at the particular individual who takes the action - we all work together, community, mods and SE staff. – Rory Alsop Jul 26 '15 at 22:56
6

articulate how far an editor may go in changing content and style, and how far an author (participant) may go in restoring content and style

In many ways, we're completely unlike the world of publishing. Once you contribute an answer, it isn't "yours" anymore. Thinking of this like you might a book (or better, a blog, in which you're providing a sequence of articles about your parenting technique) is almost directly contrary to StackExchange policy and intent.

  • "All contributions are licensed under Creative Commons, and this site is collaboratively edited... Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you." - from the Help Center, Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work?

  • "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." - from Torben's answer to the above-linked meta question

You're focusing on the fact that these edits came from a moderator. That doesn't matter. Any user with reputation above 1,000 can edit, and as long as they are improving the clarity of the post. Parenting.SE does lack community moderation moreso than other sites (some betas, but particularly full SE sites) and therefore the moderators are somewhat more involved with "regular" jobs like voting, commenting, or editing. That also comes into play with users who are frequently composing answers that need improvement, despite many comments suggesting changes to better conform to site policies.

She didn't manage to help him become a better writer...

The goal of our StackExchange site is not to teach parents how to talk to other parents, or teach parents how to better write about their experience and advice. Instead (emphasis mine):

  • "This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat." - from the Site Tour
  • "Our goal is to have the best answers to every question, so if you see questions or answers that can be improved, you can edit them." - from the Site Tour

If a Question or Answer is contributed that has (e.g.) significant spelling problems, it isn't the community's responsibility to help the author improve their spelling, suggest a program to improve spelling skills, or even mention that they're a poor speller. It is the community's responsibility to clean up the post so it's legible, comprehensible, and clear.


That being said: an edit that changes the intent of an answer isn't a valid edit. For example, if rarely feed your children candy is converted to always feed your children candy, that is obviously contrary to the original intent.

Walking through the series of edits on just that paragraph of your answer:

What I did with my pain-in-the-neck kid at some point was to sit down together with a clipboard, and we wrote down all the chores that have to be done on a regular basis. I asked him to tell me which ones he disliked the most. I crossed those out. Then I made an effort not to ask him to do any of the crossed out ones. I vaguely remember vacuuming being one of them.

The first edit cut down on the chattiness. (We don't need to hear about your opinion of your child [pain-in-the-neck], or something you vaguely remember.)

In terms of chores -- it might help to offer some choices. Sit down together with a clipboard, and write down all the chores that have to be done on a regular basis. Ask him which ones he dislikes the most, and cross those out. Make an effort not to ask him to do any of the crossed out ones.

That was then revised by you to add back "you can" in all sentences, and add some examples, with the explanation Restored some stylistic things. Honestly, this isn't a great edit -- and you specifically acknowledge that by pointing out that it's stylistic, not for clarity. Is this a huge problem, no; but it is indicative of a bigger problem you have with the StackExchange collaborative editing system, and you really, really need to be less concerned about your personal style.

In terms of chores -- it might help to offer some choices. You can sit down together with a clipboard, and write down all the chores that have to be done on a regular basis. You can ask him which ones he dislikes the most, and cross those out. Then, you can make an effort not to ask him to do any of the crossed out ones (e.g. vacuuming, cleaning the toilet, or what have you).

The next edit pulled out the personal style, but also deviated from the intent by no longer compiling the chore list together.

In terms of chores, it might help to offer some choices. Write down all the chores that have to be done on a regular basis on a clipboard. Ask him which ones he dislikes the most, and cross those out. Then, you can make an effort not to ask him to do any of the crossed out ones (e.g. vacuuming, cleaning the toilet, or what have you).

Ironically, if you hadn't been reinserting "stylistic things", your intent wouldn't have been lost in the next edit when the personal style was taken back out.

When an editing user has misunderstood a detail, it's ok to correct that back. The edit reason can be something like I specifically intended this advice to be collaborative so the child has buy-in (so it's clear you've "listened" to the proposed improvement but are rejecting it for a concrete reason).

||||||
1

From my limited perspective, your posts do appear to be targeted for editing with much more than typical frequency, especially for an overwhelmingly positive contributor. There's a difference between what kinds of edits are permissible and which are polite, and for some reason people seem to have leaned more toward the former in your particular case. Sometimes editors get caught up in cultivating content and forget to cultivate relationships. It's not that editors don't have valid points. I personally find the edits understandable but not necessary.

Anyway, I've enjoyed reading through several of your contributions this afternoon. You have an engaging style and a unique perspective to offer. I hope this experience won't dissuade you from contributing in the future.

||||||

You must log in to answer this question.

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