We've had variations of this question before such as here. I don't know if there is a solution.

There are a small minority of users who are editing questions en masse and I'm not sure it's helpful to this site.

Here's one example of "copy editing". My problems with this edit are as follows:

  • the question is over a year old.
  • the question has an accepted answer.
  • the edits are minor:
    • some grammar fixes.
    • expanding a few shortened terms (e.g. "mcu" to "microcontroller").
    • lots of non-breaking spaces.

This is frankly annoying because:

  • it bumped an answered question to the top (I read the site daily on a mobile device).
  • if it was unanswered the edits do nothing for how easy it would be to answer.
  • it doesn't make the question substantially easier to find in search.

None of the edits made to this question are "wrong". On a more recent question or one where these edits fix major problems they would be great. But this grammatical navel-gazing just bumped some other questions off the front page which may have been interesting.

Whilst I'm all for making the internet more beautiful this activity seems completely pointless and it would be great to filter out these edits.

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm tempted to edit your question to change "There are a" into "There is a", but I decided to save that for 2018. :-P \$\endgroup\$
    – Asmyldof
    Jan 14, 2016 at 19:22
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Filter by new questions. Problem solved. \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Jan 14, 2016 at 19:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ A good suggestion @Passerby. Is there an easy way to do this in the mobile app? I will investigate later. \$\endgroup\$
    – David
    Jan 14, 2016 at 22:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't use the app so I can't give you exact steps, but I've seen a screenshot that does show it i.stack.imgur.com/r8DOal.jpg \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Jan 14, 2016 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


David, with all due respect for your invaluable contribution revising posts in our site, I disagree with you.

Peter Mortensen, Editor-in-Chief (see this blog article written in tribute to his work editing SE posts - in which he got this title), is probably one of the best editors in the whole Stack Exchange. When he gets to revise a post, he addresses all the issues, from grammar to spelling, from MathJaX to proper use and rendering of SI units, making them much better (if not perfect) posts. I take every single one of his posts as examples of proper use of the SE editing feature.

I don't know if it is deliberate or not, but I've never seen a series of edits from him in a short period of time in the same stack, so it looks like he also avoids what would qualify as shotgun editing, that would pollute the active list of a site's home page and is frowned upon everywhere. So edits like his actually contribute to bump up questions that may benefit from getting some more publicity now and then.

What I think is annoying you is that he may not consciously evaluate whether the question deserve to be bumped up in terms of relevance to our field of Electrical Engineering. I suppose that may be because he may not be a subject matter, or just ended up reading the post and decided to improve it haphazardly. That may well be the case, as I've seen many of his edits in a broad set of stacks out there.

I think there is room for different kinds of contributions regarding post editing in SE. Edits like his, that address the presentation and readability of the post and are picky on the details are very valuable. And so are edits like yours, more concerned with the subject matter. Both should be regarded as examples to be followed.

By the way, keep up the excellent work!

PS. Those lots of non-breaking spaces are actually the proper way to express SI units, as explained in NIST Guide to the SI, item 7.2. I don't do it when I'm editing because it's really annoying to type the whole HTML entity (in other words, I'm lazy), but it's just one more example of how things should be formatted in an scientific/engineering setting like ours.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I personally avoided naming individuals as I believe that to be a trivial edit regardless of how awesome most other edits by an individual user are. Whether or not it should be bumped has nothing to do with subject matter expertise, personally I based my reasoning on age and accepted answer but there will be other factors (e.g. popular questions by view count). \$\endgroup\$
    – David
    Jan 19, 2016 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, naming names is bad, but I could not resist the fact that you picked the post of a person that was taken as an example of perfectionism in editing in SE. I had to use that to illustrate my point. But Peter does represent a class of editors that try to make every post shine. I don't think we should complain about that. Maybe not every edit like that will help get new answers and content on the site, but it certainly doesn't hurt. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ricardo
    Jan 19, 2016 at 16:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ A fair point and (regardless of user) perhaps my personal threshold for accepting an edit is too high. Biasing my judgement correctly is exactly what this meta question is useful for. \$\endgroup\$
    – David
    Jan 19, 2016 at 16:46

You must log in to answer this question.

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