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
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
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).