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Before I revert the changes, I figured I'd ask here, since the editing user has high rep and has generally been very helpful to me in the past.

This edit, seems to be fairly pointless. It changes the title from Title case to standard case, and it makes some very minor stylistic changes to body of the question.

I don't mind people editing my questions when it actually improves the clarity, however, when it's just to tweak my writing style to suit them. I find that annoying.

What's the official stance here? I was under the impression that edits should only be made to questions to improve clarity or fix actual errors, not simply adjust style.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is similar to: electronics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3893/… and it's happened to all of us. Personally, I prefer the "proper-capitalized" title, since it is a title after all. My stance is, if an edit doesn't change the content negatively, then I let it slide. Here it didn't negate anything, but also didn't really improve anything, so was sort-of a waste of their time. But they invested that time, so I say let it stand. If a proper English professor happens to come by later and edit again, that should stand also. \$\endgroup\$
    – rdtsc
    Oct 24, 2022 at 17:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's generally annoying. Although the meaning may not be changed in each case, sometimes some more subtle intent may get altered in such edits, which is why I see them generally negatively. The invested time such be used for something more important. \$\endgroup\$
    – tobalt
    Oct 25, 2022 at 3:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I too tend to be annoyed by stylistic changes. They happen. One user in particular seems to have bouts of editing multiple posts of mine and then taking a break. The edits are often "OK" but hardly essential, but they also catch the odd typo - and also miss some typos. I occasionally revert edits, but not often. One bugbear which I'm liable to revert is when people change my Queen's English spelling to US Engrish. I accept that USAians can't spell, but do not wish my correct spellings defaced with colonialisms :-). \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon Mod
    Oct 25, 2022 at 8:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Russell The "Queen's english"? ... Ok, sit down and breath, you need to know about some recent news... \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    Oct 25, 2022 at 10:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @dim It's a term that has vast inertia. I'll probably deal in Queen's English for the balance of my lifetime (long or short) - I'm 71. Odd's are we'll be dealing with William before KE gains any traction. That said, I did recently get to sing "God save the King". \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon Mod
    Oct 25, 2022 at 11:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ the consensus seems to be for not using title case (because it's hard to read), so I'm not sure why you'd revert that change, if not for the sake of being obstinate \$\endgroup\$
    – ilkkachu
    Oct 26, 2022 at 9:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RussellMcMahon, I believe your country was a colony much more recently than the US was. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Oct 26, 2022 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a ramification of gamifying the edits with badges. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2022 at 0:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThePhoton Indeed :-) . We underlapped colony wise by 65 years - becoming an "official" colony in 1840 (65 years after US WoI, 21 years before US CW). However, we were, by the newcomers perspective, a willing colony. By the existing residents, variable. In 1840 Great Britain signed a treaty with any willing Maori tribes - that treaty forms a very significant part of our current law. We still have a Union Jack in one corner of our flag, despite our colony status being long gone. || FWIW - I'm told that British English is evolving towards NZ English. We are the Darwin's Finches of English :-). \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon Mod
    Oct 27, 2022 at 22:18

4 Answers 4

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As I am probably one of the "enthusiastic editors" mentioned in another answer, I'll explain myself.

I don't edit for reputation, as I don't gain any by editing.

I was an editor of technical manuals a few years ago. I have acquired the habit of automatically editing texts as I read them. Those edits can be minor, but I hope they do improve spelling, grammar, readability, and consistency.

As this site also functions as a searchable Q&A database, consistency and spelling improvements do not not only improve readability, but also searchability and SEO.

Then again, if I am acting against site policy (or am generally annoying people), I will gladly tone down my editing a bit. Just let me know.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I wholeheartedly agree with this rationale and approach. \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Oct 27, 2022 at 17:39
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As another frequent editor, I'll add my take. Regarding question titles, I tend to view question titles less as a "title" and more as a brief summary of the post in question form. I won't usually change a question title that is a good summary if it's in either title or sentence case, but I will fix capitalization if the title lacks it entirely or if it is inconsistent.

That said, I do think the majority of questions on the site are/were in sentence case, making title case feel a little weird to long-time members. (I am speaking as a 12-year user and assuming a similar position for the editor in question.)

My main motivation for editing is that I use the site often to solve my own electrical engineering problems. I don't answer as many questions as I would like (due to lack of knowledge or time or both) but I do like to contribute, and I feel that improving readability and formatting boosts the site quality in general. I've been a technical editor and prepress technician (for 20+ years) in my career which lends to my proclivity to edit. There is no reputation gain, nor badges to earn, and no real incentive other than helping to make EE.SE look more like a professional engineering site and less like a forum.

The only complaint I have encountered (linked elsewhere) seems to be that edits will cause a post to bump up in the active questions list. I understand this can be annoying for users that rely on that list for moderation or other reasons.

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What's the official stance here?

I don't think EE.SE has an official stance on editing for style.

The only documentation I can find regarding editing is: privileges/edit. It does not explicitly mention style anywhere on that help page.

The first statement under the "When should I edit posts?" heading is:

Any time you feel you can make the post better, and are inclined to do so. Editing is encouraged!

This can be interpreted very broadly. Some people believe that the type of edits you mention (title case, for example) make the post better.

It also mentions "Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged". People could interpret that to mean the types of edits we are discussing in this thread. But, I think it is subjective.


Unless the edit to your question modified the intent or added errors, I don't think it is worth reverting.

I think it would be a tall task to modify the behavior of enthusiastic editors.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Call me a cynic but I often feel as though people making such trivial edits to a large number of posts are just trying to garnish reputation from other people's good posts... While I'm not sure that really matters, it does just rub me up the wrong way. It also sparks of arrogance because they're saying "there's nothing wrong with your post but my writing style is just objectively better than yours" \$\endgroup\$ Oct 26, 2022 at 10:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ScottishTapWater In this case the editor has too much reputation already to be eligible to gain any reputation for editing your post. \$\endgroup\$
    – Null Mod
    Oct 26, 2022 at 12:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ To be clear, I'm not making any accusations against this specific editor, as they've been very helpful to me and I have a lot of respect for them, I'm talking in the general case \$\endgroup\$ Oct 26, 2022 at 14:29
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Jeff Atwood said this in a blog about edits:

If you are going to edit a post, make sure you’re substantively improving it. Avoid making isolated, trivial edits, as they are the source of much friction. For example, don’t bother changing “its” to “it’s” unless you have several other edits to make in the same post.
There has to be a legitimate case that your edit made multiple changes transforming the post from good to great — or at least substantively improving it.

I would consider trivial edits to be one or two changes in most cases, although there are some glaring posts that have one massive paragraph and maybe need a few indents for readability, so capping edits with a number shouldn't be a hard and fast rule.

Editing for capitalization and grammar is fine as long as it improves the post and is encouraged by SE.

Once you post, your question or answer is released under the Creative Commons license, so keep that in mind.

A good way to avoid having your post edited would be to use correct style.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "Correct Style" - One of the fundamental aspects of style is that there is no one correct style \$\endgroup\$ Oct 30, 2022 at 0:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ One thing is for sure, not capitalizing titles is not correct style, most styles do \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike Mod
    Oct 30, 2022 at 0:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Jeff later notes, "The vast majority of edits I see, I am fine with." \$\endgroup\$
    – TonyM
    Oct 30, 2022 at 9:15

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