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Here is an example of a recent suggested edit to a poor question that had just been closed. The user editing the question is not the user who asked the question, and doesn't appear to be editing it in order to put it in the reopen queue. Generally, I like the idea of encouraging (and approving) even small edits that could improve a post, but this particular kind of edit (small edit to a still poor question) has come across the review queue quite a lot lately.

My perspective: the edit does slightly improve the question, but it also bumps it and puts it in the reopen queue, without addressing the problems in the substance of the question. So, while it slightly improves the question, it does the opposite to the site in general (makes it slightly worse). I rejected the edit, and left a comment to that effect, in part hoping to discourage this behavior. What do we think, should we approve edits like this, or reject them.

EDIT: On further review (and after a large volume of edits by the same user in a short period of time), it seems that, in addition to bumping poor questions, a number of these edits introduce new errors.

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I don't think all edits on closed questions need to be for the sake of reopening a post. The post in question was clearly poorly written, and the proposed edit (which I further improved) improved the language and clarity of the post. This might encrouage the OP to further edit or might clarify the question if later edited. (Also, although the reopen vote will fail, the OP can choose to vote to reopen their post after a significant edit on their own part at a different time.)

I would agree that users don't need to go through all of our closed questions to edit them, but in my experience, this is not a common behavior. Most edits are made on open posts.

Remembering being a new user hungry to build rep to become more active here, editing is the easiest way to 1st get involved (in a way that conditions users to become active in moderation as well!). Promoting new users to edit posts also lets them see both positively and negatively received posts that might result in better first posts on their part. I don't see an issue helping a new user build rep through these practices, even if it is on a closed question. If said user only went through to edit closed, poorly-written questions, then I think a quick message could be sent their way and perhaps some of their edits be denied to discourage this "shortcut" method to rep building. But to be honest, sometimes we pile up a ton of clutter on questions that higher rep users don't have time (or take the time) to address.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree with this. The one situation I've seen before that feels more problematic to me is when in fact the actual OP makes some unimportant edits to their closed junk question. They end up bumping their junk to correct an "i" to "I" while ignoring the other legitimate criticism that got their post close-voted. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Mar 11 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ I agree. I think I may have initially been contrary about it in part because of the freaky profile picture! $\endgroup$ – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Mar 12 at 1:35
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    $\begingroup$ @cell0 Can you go a bit easy on the edits? I've accepted some of yours but many are on poor posts that should not be bumped, almost all of them do very little to improve readability since they are very minor edits, and several of them have been actually wrong, changing correct language to incorrect language. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Mar 12 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ @cell0 Yes, please avoid edits to answers on closed questions as well, it's only worth making edits to closed questions or answers if it is substantial enough that it could lead to reopening the question (which grammar almost never will). I don't have time to point out the incorrect edits, sorry. One of them was on my own answer. If you aren't confident of the changes you are making that's a stronger reason to avoid making them. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Mar 12 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ I'd actually say most (>60%) of cell0's edits have been accurate but many were superfluous & on posts we really don't need brought back to the top of the active post list due to their low quality. Bad edits vs unnecessary edits are 2 different issues, & I think it's only fair to acknowledge that the larger concern here is on the superflous edits on bad posts. My opinion, @cell0, is that you should continue editing posts but choose posts that are of higher quality. Editing bad posts (or better, good answers to bad posts) is ok occasionally but not to the point of polluting our active feed $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Mar 12 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ @cell0 please also read carefully before editing, because you may be changing the intended meaning when you think you're fixing grammar. See, for example, here $\endgroup$ – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Mar 13 at 3:23
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause i think it's easier to spot incorrect edits when they're to one's own posts, and quickly moving through the review queue we may be missing other incorrect edits. I would suggest cell0 slow down in general, in addition to avoiding closed questions $\endgroup$ – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Mar 13 at 3:39
  • $\begingroup$ @cell0 I'd add that, by slowing down to, maybe a few edits a day, you'd be able to more thoroughly fix the posts you are editing. Many of your edits, e.g., here, involve partial fixes, missing other errors in the same sentence. E.g., "The name Korylos (korys) come from Greek and mean helmet.", you fixed one subject/verb agreement error, but missed the other one 4 words away. I took a stab at editing that one from the queue, but the sheer volume makes it hard to keep up. Please just slow down $\endgroup$ – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Mar 13 at 3:54
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    $\begingroup$ @cell0 my point is that you would do a better job if you slowed down. In some cases you are making incorrect edits, in some cases bumping posts that shouldn't be bumped, in some cases partially fixing posts that could actually use your substantial efforts, and in some cases doing an excellent job. Please slow down and do an excellent job on all the posts you edit.. $\endgroup$ – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Mar 13 at 4:01
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    $\begingroup$ @cell0 I've just had to reject several more of your edits. Please, do not make edits that you are not 100% confident on (note also: your threshold for confidence may need to be increased, see the Dunning-Kruger effect). It's a lot of work for everyone else to have to carefully look at the changes you make to find the errors. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Mar 13 at 17:31
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Right now, we can just reject the superfluous edits to closed questions citing "no improvement whatsoever" as the reason.

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In principle I think @cell0 is doing a good job — it’s beneficial to have the English tidied up, as I feel that maintaining high standards helps those for whom English is not a first language (or those who do not understand that communication of ideas requires precision in language).

The problem, as I see it, is that new posts are being swamped by old and generally uninteresting posts, which is not really fair to new posters. I’m almost tempted to say “let us know when you’ve finished so we can come out to play again”. In fact I encountered this problem myself when I decided to try to rationalize the metabolism tags. I left off when I realized that so many old posts were coming to the fore (and have never finished). It might be good if there were some way of adding tags without this happening.

However if we wait for changes in the way SE operates, it seems that we will wait for ever, so I propose the following conspiracy solution or delaying tactic.

All of us here who can approve edits refrain from doing so for edits of old posts by @cell0. Except one of us. That one would be one of the mods, chosen among themselves, who would approve a maximum of just one edit a day from said user. That way his edits would eventually be considered and approved (if appropriate) but not in a way that swamped new posts. He would just have to wait, but as all of these posts are very old, no harm would be done, and the list postings would be improved eventually.

Of course any user with sufficient cred could break the conspiracy, but we could encourage anyone in this category to join.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've thought something similar about being able to edit or tag without bumping...I would be surprised if it hasn't already been suggested on the main meta, and that's probably where it should be addressed. The feature I would appreciate would be some sort of button for an editor to mark their changes as "trivial." However, it would probably have to be tied to high-rep, because the existing bar for unreviewed editing is pretty low. It would be a problem if someone was editing old posts, causing damage, and those edits are not bumped for evaluation by the rest of the community. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Mar 13 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ @cell0 I would encourage you to read these meta posts more carefully (in addition to the posts you edit). For example, I don't see anyone begrudging you reputation for work you have done. The problem is not that you are getting rewarded for work, doing too much work, or are faster than average at your work. It is that some of your work is poor and little of it is excellent, When you introduce new errors while fixing old errors you are not improving the overall quality of posts. I hope you will continue to edit, but take the time that you need to make excellent edits. $\endgroup$ – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Mar 13 at 19:21
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    $\begingroup$ @cell0 from my perspective, I'm not concerned that you are going too fast for us, but that you are going too fast for you. I am disappointed that you are taking a "mods are welcome to ban me anytime" approach to this constructive criticism. Please continue to edit, but take the community suggestions. Go slower. Read a question and the answers carefully. Make sure you understand the answer in its entirety. And as you've been asked, don't edit closed questions or answers to closed questions, unless your edit fixes the problem that caused the question to be closed. $\endgroup$ – De Novo supports GoFundMonica Mar 13 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ @cell0 The issue that I've brought up is that rejecting your edits is bringing us more work. Are you a biologist? Some of the edits you make incorrectly seem to be because you don't realize certain language is scientific terminology, like verbal nouns that you don't recognize as such. This might be why you are seeing push back on your edits on this site but not others. Additionally, compared to a site like StackOverflow, we are a very small stack. The number of good questions we get per day is small, so we are more sensitive to flooding the recent questions list and have less people to review. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Mar 14 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ @cell0 — Bryan is right. Compared with StackOverflow or English Language and Usage, we are a small stack, and the relatively few high-rep active users have to have their arms twisted to stand as mods. So the mods tend not to have an agenda, or be cliquey, or be hard line. From your bio you seem to be web and computing oriented, with plenty of experience of those SEs. In contrast your two biology contributions seem to be of a non-technical variety. You don't have to, of course, but it would be helpful if you told us what you are trying to achieve. We prefer cooperation to conflict. $\endgroup$ – David Mar 14 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ @cell0 — Fair enough. You might have fun on EL&U too, although the frustrating thing there is that you have to quote chapter and verse to justify the language you imbibed with your mother's milk. btw, when I checked your bio it turned up other pseudonyms for other sites (didn't know you could do that), including a Chinese Language site where a question in one of your apparent pseudonyms was in very poor English. (I corrected it.) Have they got you confused with someone else? $\endgroup$ – David Mar 14 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ It's getting annoying again, so I have added a proposal of a way to mitigate the problem. $\endgroup$ – David Mar 30 at 16:21

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