• For example, editing the (long inactive) question to

    • add trivial tags, like faq
    • Change tags to synonymous tags, e.g. Classical Mechanics to Newtonian Mechanics
    • Correct insignificant grammatical errors, e.g.

    Why did the Earth cooled down


    Why did the Earth cool down

    • Removing substantial portions of other answers, summarizing the edit as removed crap.
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    $\begingroup$ Can you cite examples? $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Sep 24 '13 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ Related: meta.physics.stackexchange.com/q/4790/2451 $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Sep 24 '13 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ The rule of thumb advice for potential editors is to limit mass edits of old posts, i.e, so that only a handful of their old post edits appear on the front page at the same time. [An old post is by definition here a post not already appearing on the front page. There are no limit to edits of new (=front page) posts.] $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Sep 24 '13 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ @tpg2114: Revs 8 through 12 for physics.stackexchange.com/posts/68546/revisions Rev 3 for physics.stackexchange.com/posts/78264/revisions Rev 3 for physics.stackexchange.com/posts/74020/revisions I've been signing in for a few days to see the front page filled with inactive questions asked fairly long ago resurrected because of an edit by one particular user, hence my question on meta. $\endgroup$ – Pranav Hosangadi Sep 24 '13 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ Relevant SO blog posts: In Defence of Editing, The Great Edit Wars. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Sep 24 '13 at 23:13
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    $\begingroup$ I just rolled back some edits by Dimension10 that were clearly vandalism. This is really annoying dude, please stop it. $\endgroup$ – Nathaniel Sep 25 '13 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel I flagged some earlier ones, hopefully you flagged too. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Sep 25 '13 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel: They are clearly NOT vandalism. It is very obvious that that is indeed the purpose of the post. $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Sep 25 '13 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @tpg2114: Huh? Flagged what? $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Sep 25 '13 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ @DImension10AbhimanyuPS Please stop. While the question may have sprouted from your edits, it's not necessarily only about them. Please do not try to impose your specific interpretation of a post onto it by editing, this opens the way to straw man arguments. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Sep 25 '13 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ And let's not forget, we don't call out users in meta posts because that makes it too localized to be of any use down the road. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Sep 25 '13 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Manishearth: Have you seen the senteOnce "I've been signing in for a few days to see the front page filled with inactive questions asked fairly long ago resurrected because of an edit by one particular user, "? $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Sep 25 '13 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ @DImension10AbhimanyuPS Did you look at the "While the question may have sprouted from your edits" in my comment? I know where the post came from. I disagree that it applies only to you. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Sep 25 '13 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ @DImension10AbhimanyuPS Again. The question does sprout from a specific case. However, usually we deal with general cases on meta when possible. And that's the case here. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Sep 26 '13 at 7:05
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    $\begingroup$ @DImension10AbhimanyuPS Yes, it does. Calling out a specific user is not the same as calling out a type of behavior. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Sep 26 '13 at 8:01

Some notes on the application of site privileges

  1. All site privileges should be used judiciously.

    As a long term goal we would like to see good grammar, usage and spelling predominate on the site. However, we also don't want to see an endless stream of one-word edits. This is a major reason for the six-character minimum on suggested edits: to accustom users to the idea that edits should be generally be significant in size as well as correct in what they edit.

    Other users may not want to see the stylistic feel of their work changed by another person simply because the editor has a different personal style. It doesn't need to be the way you would have done it needs to be correct and clear.

  2. Don't start a fight over it

    If someone rolls back an edit do not reinstate it. Doing so makes it about the egos of the people involved. Let it go: it does not reflect on your personal worth. If you think the edit really was necessary, flag it for moderator attention.

  3. Don't take it personally

    Someone fixing your spelling errors isn't personal. Neither is someone rolling back an edit. Nor their posting some unscientific nonsense. Again, this does not reflect on your personal worth. We have mechanisms for handing these problems without needing to get your dander up.

  4. Don't try to make some kind of subtle statement

    The tagging of questions is not a system for rating them. Nor for marking which questions are interesting and which boring. It is purely a system for categorizing the kinds of physics content each question touches on.

    Neither edits nor the edit messages should be used as a place to express your opinion about a post. You rate posts for quality by voting. You rate a post's appropriateness by voting or not voting to close (assuming you have that power) or by flagging spam and offensive dreck.

  5. Be professional

    This site aims to be a milieu for professional scientists, skilled and capable amateurs and those aspiring to be one. That calls for a certain amount of decorum, and certainly for grown-up behavior. If you wouldn't want your mom or the hiring committee at your next job to see, think twice before doing it.


We don't, really. People shouldn't make edits unless they represent a nontrivial improvement to the question. But note that tag changes are often nontrivial, because people use tags for filtering and also for understanding the context of a question, so it's relatively important to have accurate tags on questions.

Existing tags are chosen as they are for a reason, generally; for example, is more general than . The former encompasses Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, and is used in particular when one wants to indicate non-quantum mechanics. So even something that may look like a trivial edit, i.e. changing one of those tags to the other, often isn't. If you think you see two synonymous tags, you can ask on chat or here on meta to see if they should be merged, but there's a decent chance they are separate for a reason.


Am I really discouraged from correcting spelling and grammatical mistakes?

For example changing "tale" to "tail" is trivial in the sense that it doesn't affect the meaning of the question, but it makes a big difference to the way visitors will perceive this site. Do we really wish to encourage the stereotype that scientists are illiterate?

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    $\begingroup$ IMHO, making such edits soon after the question is asked (as in this case) is a good thing. I believe this meta question is about the practice of dredging up old posts by making such minor edits, which can be counterproductive, in that it adds noise to the front page. (Of course, this would be solved by having a "minor edit" feature like in Wikipedia, which bumps posts to a review queue rather than the front page - but this seems unlikely to happen.) $\endgroup$ – Nathaniel Sep 26 '13 at 8:30

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