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Is there a way to throttle serial editors who insert minor corrections, unnecessary links and make other similar trivial edits to posts with the sole purpose of farming reputation by editing?

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Additional info: the situation is clearly getting worse with a limited number of users proposing 10s of time daily edits as trivial as changing all in-line equations to block equations and adding capitalization to meet the minimum character requirement.

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    $\begingroup$ How do you know that is their sole purpose? $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2022 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ @RodrigodeAzevedo I have in minds users with <2k reputation which benefit reputation-wise from editing. It’s funny how there are no serial editors with reputation above this threshold… $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2022 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ On Math SE, I have edited over 10K posts since editing stopped giving me reputation points. Until the threshold, I was indistinguishable from reputation-hoarders. Thus, my question. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2022 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ @RodrigodeAzevedo not suggesting you should stop although I’m willing to bet you are not a serial editor as we have encountered here on this site. Not sure what your point is actually… unless you feel somehow you are making frivolous edits, which doesn’t seem to be the case. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2022 at 19:36

2 Answers 2

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  1. Users cannot gain more than 2k reputation from edits, cf. the "Can I earn reputation?" section here, so there is a natural and rather low limit to such "farming". Note that once users have more than 2k reputation their edits are no longer suggested but directly applied to a post, so they do not confer reputation after that anyway.

  2. Minor corrections are not unnecessary ones, and the rejection reason of "too minor" for suggested edits was abolished SE-wide a while ago with the argument that any improvement is still an improvement, so I would caution against throwing minor corrections that are nevertheless still corrections in the same bin as truly unnecessary edits. Again, users can earn at most 2k reputation from such edits, so if you are concerned about users gaining major privileges that way, don't be (remember that close and reopen voting comes only at 3k reputation).

  3. Users who repeatedly suggest edits that are rejected in review will be eventually banned from suggesting further edits, just like users providing low-quality answers or questions are banned from making further posts, cf. this meta post.

  4. If you still see users repeatedly suggesting (or making) pointless or even harmful edits, consider pointing this out to them in a comment - you can ping editors of a post via @-mentions in comments. If you don't want to engage personally in comments or if they have ignored your previous comments, you can always raise a custom moderator flag explaining the issue. Pointless or even harmful edits are just as detrimental to quality as any other low-quality contributions and the moderator team will deal with them in that fashion.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Item 3. is enough for now. I’m still annoyed but at least if there is eventually some repercussion for constantly editing and the community constantly turning down trivial edits then one way to regulate. $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2022 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding item 3, do rollbacks count again an editor? I just rolled back an edit by Brendan Darrer that I think should not have been approved. The edit basically just removed parentheses and moved an equation from inline to its own block, but the meaning was more clear with the parentheses in place and with the equation inline. $\endgroup$
    – hft
    Jul 22, 2022 at 0:42
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    $\begingroup$ @hft good question. It should, although greater care should be taken in the first place before approving such edits. $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2022 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ @hft No, rollbacks have no effect whatsoever. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Jul 26, 2022 at 13:47
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I think you're being unkind when you assume the purpose is to farm reputation.

I suspect I know the user you mean since I've been seeing a lot of suggested edits that consisted mostly of adding links that didn't seem essential to me. But I have seen no reason to suspect the edits weren't suggested in good faith, and most of them I have approved.

You only get two points for an accepted edit and some of the edits showed a significant amount of effort. Perhaps I am being over generous, but my reaction was that at worst the user is guilty of an excess of enthusiasm.

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    $\begingroup$ … not sure that adding links to specific sources when the OP did not do so and may not know about or use these sources is not distorting the intent… It feels a bit like a low level version of an editor adding entries to the bibliography of a paper without consulting the author. While I don’t mind such edits when the link is broken or when the circumstances necessitate this, doing this systematically to putatively “improve” a post is more than an excess of enthusiasm. $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2022 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ I think you are underestimating the gaming side of gaining reputation on these sites. It is not only a matter of a couple of points. Gaining a badge could be as well motivation to edit as many posts as possible, even if not strictly necessary. $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2022 at 11:18
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    $\begingroup$ I removed some comments that did not relate to this post at all (except in so far that they referred to editing and reputation in general). Please remember that even on meta, comments are supposed to stay somewhat on-topic. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Jul 16, 2022 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeroTheHero - a question/answer here isn't an academic paper being reviewed for publication by an editor (and with all the politics of various kinds associated with publication by a researcher/research group that involves which is often (disturbingly) talked about on Academia SE) - it is entirely accepted elsewhere in SE that edits adding links are fine, in order to improve the question/answer, especially because the OP may not have known them - why isn't that true here too? $\endgroup$
    – davidbak
    Jul 24, 2022 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ @davidbak I agree that adding links to some posts is in some cases essential and entirely warranted because it adds nontrivial context to the post. However, constantly linking to elementary definitions on wikipedia is distracting, especially because the quality of the links so far on PSE has been very high. If the author does not see fit to add a link to a wiki page, someone else should do so with great care. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2022 at 16:42

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