Recently a couple of answers of mine turned CW. I didn't know, but it seems to be because I made more than 10 edits.

In most cases I don't want the CW, for the reason Olin also mentioned:

"You put a lot of time and effort into a answer, and then you suddenly don't own it anymore."

So I flag to reverse the CW, Kortuk says this is no trouble at all. But I almost don't dare to touch it anymore, because it will happen again. When will an answer with > 10 edits turn into CW again if I keep editing it?

My suggestion is, for CW to only count edits not made by the original author. If I'm the only one improving the answer it should remain mine. If 10 other users contribute in improvements I think it's fair to make it CW.

edit (here we go again! :-))
Kevin thinks I make too many edits, and that I should think before I type. Reasons for edits:

  1. Comments from other users. That's most of them. Others may point out parts which are not clear, which they don't agree with (so I have to think it over again), additions, errors.
  2. Errors I notice myself. When it's a typo I might leave it as it is (see Olin's answer), but especially when it concerns numbers or units I fix them.
  3. Changes to OP. This question has gone through 6 revisions by OP (and a couple by clabacchio and me). The actual question sometimes changes because OP notices from the answers that he didn't formulate it well. Now this one had a few of these changes.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Try editing it again to see what happens to your answer, we can find out if it only takes 1 more. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 7, 2012 at 11:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk - I already edited answers after a reversal, and it looks like it needs more edits. But I have no idea how many. 5? 10? \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jun 7, 2012 at 11:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ so it did not revert back immediately? Just keep editing and let me know when you do get CW again. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 7, 2012 at 11:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk - Can I make the edits one after an other? I thought I noticed a long delay before it said CW. On one of my answers I was already at the 12th edit before it turned CW. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jun 7, 2012 at 12:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh Typically if 2 edits are performed very close to each other (like with in a few minutes) it just treats them as 1 edit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kellenjb
    Jun 7, 2012 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kellenjb - This behavior is known as the grace period. To refine your comment, every time that an edit is performed within 5 minutes of the first edit, the multiple edits are treated as a single entity in the revision history. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2012 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh, on the note of someone revising their question over and over again we should have stopped and had the question clarified before we answered it. This is why we close questions, to stop all answers until the question is clarified, answering guessing at reason just rewards the user with answers that might hit the needed topic using our effort to cover their gap in effort. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 8, 2012 at 12:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk - In this case OP was Chinese, so I thought maybe language had to do with it. I wanted to give it a chance, closing seems to frustrate OPs, since it often makes them abandon the question. Yes, I know, I'm too good for this world ;-) \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jun 8, 2012 at 12:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh, the important part is letting them know that they are having their question closed to give it time to be cleared up. If you are kind about it you do not often lose users. You are going to have a large number that do not clean it up and just quit but they were often not very interested in the site in the first place, just wanting immediate satisfaction to question of there. I have seen many questions that if they had just taken the time to write a decent question they would have found their error. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 8, 2012 at 12:40

2 Answers 2


I'd like to have the ability to indicate a edit was "minor". That would mean it would not count towards the 10 edits to make it CW, but it also wouldn't bump the question as having been modified to get around the objection that people might make small edits every few days to keep their post at the top of the activity list.

I often notice minor typos when reviewing old posts, but I usually don't fix them for fear of CW and because I don't want to be preceived as trying to get rep by bumping things to the top with a endless drizzle of little edits. I know the mods say they are happy to reverse CW conversions, but I don't really want to have to do that a lot. It doesn't feel right somehow, even if it's easy for them and they are happy to do it.

If I could do official "minor" edits I would clean up small errors regularly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1. The minor edits have been discussed a few times, but I don't know if it's been posted as feature request. Olin remarked somewhere that they keep track of the changes anyway (a low rep can't change just a single typo), but we need criteria for when to count it as a real edit and when not. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jun 7, 2012 at 14:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @steven: I don't mind indicating manually if a edit was minor. Actually I think that's better. Sometimes a few characters change can have a significant impact on the message, sometimes the reverse. I'll know whether I'm just fixing typos or formatting (which can look like a large change to a computer) or making a real content change. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2012 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right. I mention correction of numbers and units in my question, and that can make a world of difference, even if it's a single character. "Microcntroller" OTOH can stay the way it is. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jun 7, 2012 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Noting a "minor" edit would allow someone to edit a post without the community review that should come afterwards. You are able to change your vote on a post due to an edit for a reason, if you change your post to make it invalid I need to review it, if someone makes a minor edit that changes one a couple critical things the community needs to recognize vandalism. changes mean reviews of the posts. This feature change would require a system wide change and if you want it seriously you should take it to meta.so. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 8, 2012 at 12:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kortuk: OK, so allow people to change votes after minor edits too. However, the spirit of a minor edit is to not change real content, just typos, awkward wording, formatting and the like. I suppose someone could make a major change and then lie about it, but that sounds like a extremely unlikely case to me. I'll take the 1:10000 of that in favor of getting lots of little things cleaned up that make things look nicer and easier to read accross the whole site. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 9, 2012 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop, allowing users to make edits and bypass community review would make it very easy for users to vandalize posts, and that does happen the more and more popular a site becomes. It is not an issue of allowing users to change votes, the reason you are able to change your vote and it bumps it to the front page is to allow review of your content after a change. The important part of review is bumping to the front page. This feature has been requested in different ways many times on Meta.SO and it has been turned down everytime, but that would be the place to feature request. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 9, 2012 at 13:42

My suggestion is to only count edits not made by the original author.

No, that would lead to useless bumps, irrelevant comment threads, and a "Fastest gun in the west" competition to throw something, anything up immediately after a question is posted to get the benefit of early votes, deter other answerers, and get early sort priority.

I'm not suggesting that you should never flag to reverse a community wiki brought on if the OP updates their question with additional debug information or clarification, that's great and we'll be happy to do so.

I am suggesting that you put a little more care into your initial post such that these future edits are not necessary. Why would you need to edit a post 10 times anyways?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I edited my suggestion, explicitely adding the count for CW. As for useless bumps, Olin goes into that, and it has been discussed before. As for my number of edits: when you write your thesis, do you expect to do it without any edit? \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Jun 7, 2012 at 14:50
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Why do Wikipedia articles have thousands of edits? They should have put more effort into getting it right the first time! \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Jun 7, 2012 at 14:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh - Your reason #3 is addressed by my middle paragraph: that's OK and we're happy to revert it. When I write my thesis, I expect to edit it many times before publication, but once published it shouldn't need any edits. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2012 at 14:55
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @endolith - Wikipedia is a community effort. Similar posts here should be community wiki. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 7, 2012 at 14:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @endolith: they want to bump it in the home page :) \$\endgroup\$
    – clabacchio
    Jun 7, 2012 at 15:47
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I often edit quite a lot too - if you are pretty busy then you don't always have too much time to get everything perfect first time round. I have rushed off to come back 30 mins later to add a e.g. picture I didn't have time to find before. Sometimes you edit an answer to answer an edit/comment the OP made. 10 edits is not too hard to reach if you like refining/improving things. I think the count should maybe be a little higher. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oli Glaser
    Jun 21, 2012 at 23:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OliGlaser, Based on how often I am flagged for this it is not as common as you might think. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Jun 22, 2012 at 18:54

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