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Frankly I'm tired of people editing my questions (and even titles) in ways that introduce new errors or even worse errors. In one case the user simply just moved the last part of the sentence to the beginning. The user was probably not ill-intentioned, but it made the question make less sense, and I blame that edit for downvotes the question received after the edit.

Is it possible to have a feature where we can "flag" bad edits? I have a feeling this user, despite having enough reputation to edit without review, would probably lose his/her privilege to edit without review if we see how many flags he/she is getting. Even if you have 10,000 points because you're on here all the time, it doesn't mean your edits are going to always be good.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible to show/link to some examples where this occurred? Thanks! Also, you can reject an edit to your own post even after someone else has accepted it. I believe that enough rejected edits would prevent them from editing other people's posts for a short time $\endgroup$ – Mithrandir24601 May 17 '18 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir24601: I thought about doing that, but if I do that, then everyone will see who he/she is, which might help to get the problem solved faster, but at the expense of someone's dignity. Do you really need to see the proof? I do see the "rollback" feature, which is not quite the same as "rejecting" someone's edits... I am clearly in a different time zone than this person, and when I wake up I often see a few edits that I don't like, but the question (or sometimes even title) has been badly vandalized for 8 hours by then. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 17 '18 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ It's not so much about needing evidence and more about figuring out the context of how bad the edits were - making lots of trivial edits on lots of older questions at once isn't a good thing but someone deliberately abusively editing posts and making them completely unfit for the site is on a completely different level. Linking the questions gives an immediate position for where on the scale the issue lies (allowing for a better answer to where on the scale the response should be) without having to go into reams of detail. You don't have to include these if you don't want to though $\endgroup$ – Mithrandir24601 May 17 '18 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ I don't want to start a fight with someone on this forum, and would like to remain friends with as many people as possible, so I won't reveal their name publicly. They are not deliberately damaging the posts, I believe they "mean well" and are honestly trying to improve things, but it is far from asked for, and not being even remotely close to an expert in my field, the questions to get damaged and sometimes even downvoted because they don't make sense. S/he is not making the questions "completely unfit" for the site, therefore it is something in between the two levels you mention. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 18 '18 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ A "flag" for bad edits is the "feature request" I seek here, and I'm surprised it doesn't exist! Why not? $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 18 '18 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ I strongly suspect that the answer to that is because rejecting edits fulfils that purpose already. I don't know that for sure (hence this isn't an answer), but I suspect that's the reason - although I'm not sure if you can do that in a case such as this, which is the actual issue, so that really isn't good enough for an answer $\endgroup$ – Mithrandir24601 May 18 '18 at 7:32
  • $\begingroup$ You cannot reject an edit until you see that it has happened. This can be after you wake up and the question has been edited (wrongly) for several hours already. During that time you can get downvotes and people can get a bad impression of the question and think "I'm not spending time on it.... let's read the next one". Furthermore, it's only been recently that I've been paying attention to stack exchange on a somewhat daily basis. Before, I would never log into an SE unless I needed to ask something or answer something. This would be once every few months. I didn't get email alerts. [cot'd] $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 18 '18 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ ... My comment would be (badly) edited for several months without me knowing, and I'd be the only person that could really detect it because it's my question. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 18 '18 at 7:37
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If you have the feeling that there have been bad or vandalising edits of your post, you could use 'custom' flag on the post that has received such an edit. You can do this by pressing the 'flag' link at the bottom of your post, choosing the option "in need of moderator intervention" and explain the problem in detail in the textbox.

This way, the moderators have enough context to decide what actions, if any, to take. So, this avoids mentioning any particular user publicly, as only moderators can see the flag.


In the comments, I see the question why there are no flags for edits. I can think of the following possible reasons:

  • The main reason for such a flag, bad edits, likely need the context of the entire post. So, it makes little sense to flag a particular edit.
  • Edits are often replaced by others. Suppose you flag edit #3 and that when a mod sees a flag, the current version is at #5. I think it would be hard for a mod to determine what to do without the entire post. So, why not just flag the post, then?
  • Outside of the scenario here, which I haven't seen a lot, I see no usages for such a flag. Since there already is a method to make a flag to address this problem, making a specific flag for this reason is likely a lot effort for little gain.
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    $\begingroup$ Alternatively you can also @-ping the editor (if you think that the edit was with good intention) and say him that he misunderstood your question (also important: maybe your question is a bit unclear (I do not no whether in this case but it might be a sign)) $\endgroup$ – MEE the sneaky user May 22 '18 at 20:22
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I'm assuming that you're referring to my edits to your post: Only assuming the universe evolves according to a positive trace-preserving map, is there a proof that all subsystem evolution must be CPTP?

A summary of my edits:

  1. An attempt at correcting grammar, adding MathJax, and adding a relevant tag:

    enter image description here

  2. A further attempt at improving grammar and sentence structure; adding full name of the paper, (along with the names of the authors) so that it is later searchable using the search bar and search engines, instead of just [this paper]<link>:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  1. An attempt to improve sentence structure of the title; trying to avoid uncommon short-forms/abbreviations in the title:

    enter image description here

I did want to include the assumption "the universe evolves according to..." but was restricted by the word limit.

  1. Removing the irrelevant tag "quantum-decoherence" after this conversation:

    enter image description here


An answer to your question:

Even if you have 10,000 points because you're on here all the time, it doesn't mean your edits are going to always be good.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. Yes, it doesn't mean my (or any other user's for that matter) edits are always going to be good/useful. I really would prefer an option to "suggest edits" even though I have the privilege to single-handedly edit posts without others consent. I personally feel that's one of the flaws of the Stack Exchange system, but I don't think that feature will be introduced in the near future. This probably has already been raised several times on the mother Meta.

From the editor's point of view, it is sometimes really difficult to judge beforehand whether their edit would make the OP "less-than-satisfied". I normally try my best to make useful edits like - improving formatting, improving grammar, adding MathJax, etc. However, yes, "human errors" are possible.

The best possible courses of action for you (in cases which you desribe in your question) would be simply:

  1. Leaving a comment for the editor (by pinging them with a @ followed by their user-name) and telling them to not make any further edits without your explicit consent.

  2. Using the flag option just below your original question and writing about the issue to a moderator.

  3. Dropping into the main chat and mentioning the problem. Moderators do frequent the chat.

I think that at least in the initial days of the site, since we are all still in the "learning phase" of "how to manage a site as a community" it would be much better if you directly but politely point out any problematic issue you are face (with proof) or mistake(s) being made by any other community member, instead of being implicit about it. I don't understand how the issue of "at the expense of someone's dignity" comes up. The first step to stop someone from wrong-doing is to make them aware that they're doing something wrong! :)

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  • $\begingroup$ For the case you mentioned: I appreciated some of the edits, for example I kept the title of the paper in the link. I took out the author's names because, in my opinion, they were appended in an unusual way. If one really wants the author's names to be there I would prefer the APA style (citethisforme.com/us/citation-generator/apa) which would be: (Shaji, 2005). $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 23 '18 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ Some of the edits you mention in this answer are really not necessary. For example "so the question is" did not need to become "so my question is". Both are grammatically correct, and as a native English speaker, I chose one over the other because that's the way I preferred to deliver the question. For some of the other edits, such as the title, I think the impact was more profound. If I saw a question with that title I would think it's a poor question, because the user wants to know about subsystems, but subsystems of what? $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 23 '18 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ You are right that I could have named the person who made the edits, or could have shown the explicit examples (which would unavoidably reveal who it was that I was complaining about), but it's not my style. It seems like you would be cool with it, but some people wouldn't. The question was just about what we can do about it when it happens, and I was hoping that people could just "imagine" a bad edit that a user might want to flag. Seeing the exact example in this case would not add so much value. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 23 '18 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @user1271772 Okay. I guess this one is sorted out then. As for "a flag for bad edits", I don't think SE will implement it anytime soon. And if they do, they would have to implement it on all sites. That feature-request should go to the mother Meta rather than here. $\endgroup$ – Sanchayan Dutta May 23 '18 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ In any case, thank you for your time and effort spent on writing this answer with screenshots and everything. Time is precious, so I appreciate it. Speaking of time being precious: changing "so the question is" to "so my question is" takes time, and wouldn't you rather spend that time running something cool on the IBM quantum computer or reading this month's most scited quantum papers on scirate? :) $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 23 '18 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ Can this question be "moved" to the mother meta? $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 23 '18 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @user1271772 Yes, I do agree I have been rather nitpicky in past. Will try to improve henceforth. $\endgroup$ – Sanchayan Dutta May 23 '18 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @user1271772 If the question is moved, it would be moved together with all the answers (which wouldn't be relevant there anymore). So I guess it is better that you re-ask it on the main Meta. FWIW I think this issue has already been discussed there quite a few times, but SE hasn't decided to implement the feature yet. $\endgroup$ – Sanchayan Dutta May 23 '18 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ Ok I will look into it. $\endgroup$ – user1271772 May 23 '18 at 15:36

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