23

The front page of the site was recently flooded with approximately 20-30 edits which did nothing but remove contractions from posts, e.g. changing "I'm" to "I am" and "it's" to "it is".

May I take this opportunity to remind everyone of the help centre guidance on edits:

Some common reasons to edit are:

  • to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes
    • to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it
    • to correct minor mistakes or add addendums / updates as the post ages
    • to add related resources or hyperlinks

Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged - try to make the post significantly better when you edit, correcting all problems that you observe.

Whether or not to use contractions is a matter of personal style, not of correctness. If someone has made a spelling or grammatical mistake, even a very minor one like mixing up "its" and "it's", then fixing that could be a valid edit. But changing the writing style of a post written in perfectly correct English is not what edits are for. "I'm" and "I am" are equally valid.


PS. The front page now looks as though it's flooded with my edits, but that's only because I've been rolling back all the bad edits which just removed contractions.

  • 9
  • +1 I've ran into this problem several times here on my own questions. I'm not going to name names, but certain users edit my questions solely for the purpose of uncontracting "I'm" to "I am". Although I rejected the edit, it seems like other users accepted it, so this really needed to be said. Thank you. – fi12 Jan 23 '17 at 0:49
8

I agree these edits should not really be happening, but reverting them doesn't fix any problems unless the edit actually makes the post worse.

For suggested edits, by all means reject them as 'no improvement whatsoever'; we want to discourage pointless edits, and rejecting it helps to teach editors what is and isn't appropriate.

For people with the edit questions privilege, it's a little bit harder to stop trivial edits which make no improvement at all, although it is a serious problem - edits bump the post to the top of the front page, burying the new content which actually needs attention.

If someone's doing that, try giving them a ping in the comments (@editorName will work, even though the autocomplete doesn't show their name when writing a comment on a post they edited) - they may not know that it's causing a problem, and I like to think that most users are editing in good faith.

I'm not so keen on actively rolling back edits that are trivial if they are valid; this just bumps the post again and creates more of the problem we're trying to solve. If a user is doing this a lot, and won't respond to a gentle nudge in a comment, I'm sure it'd be helpful to flag this so the Community Team (or, in future, the Pro Tempore Moderators) can let the user know what's wrong.

So, what I'm trying to get at here is that rolling back trivial edits just to stop trivial edits creates a bigger problem, rather than solving it, and communication can go a long way.

  • 1
    I did ping the user in chat and ask them to stop as soon as I noticed the problem. But by that time they'd already done 20-odd useless edits, and those posts were still at the top of the front page, so re-editing them did no harm than had already been done. As for "if they are valid", I'd argue that edits to change the writing style are objectively not valid, and subjectively (IMHO) even make the post worse in some cases. – Rand al'Thor Jan 22 '17 at 15:35
  • 5
    @Randal'Thor: I'll have to disagree with you on 'I'm' -> 'I am' really making the post worse; yeah, it's completely pointless, but it just seems like a silly thing to spend time reverting something that hardly anyone will notice (or care about). If you feel strongly enough that it harms the post, though, fair enough, but it's not something I'd spend time doing personally because reverting the edit doesn't actually fix anything. – Aurora0001 Jan 22 '17 at 15:41
  • 3
    In this particular case, @Randal'Thor got 'em so close to the actual edits, they were right at the top already. No questions were bumped in the backrolling of this edit :P – Standback Jan 22 '17 at 15:56
  • 8
    I disagree with this. I take a great deal of care over my posts, and I do not like it when someone tries to change my writing style. Unless edits have been made to fix genuine errors, or improve the post in some way, I will always ask for them to be reverted. – Mick Jan 22 '17 at 17:18
  • 1
    I concur with @Mick. I don't mind it if someone fixes my formatting, but hands off my style, bub. – Lauren Ipsum Jan 23 '17 at 13:18

You must log in to answer this question.

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