26

I've already mentioned this to a couple of editors in the /dev/chat chat, but I think it may be worth mentioning in a Meta post as well.

Please don't make trivial edits to questions that were recently put "on hold". Doing any editing within the first five days of being put on hold pushes them into the "reopen" review queue.

If your edit is merely a correction of grammatical errors or a cleanup of the question's markup, without addressing the actual reason the question was put on hold, then

  • the question will likely not be reopened in review, and
  • when the original author fixes whatever the actual issue is with the question, it will not be put back into the review queue, and
  • as a consequence, the user will be denied the opportunity to have their question automatically pushed into the reopen review queue.

If a question was put on hold, there is no need to edit it, especially not to just remove a couple of lines of "Thank you" or "I'm a noob", or to fix markup or spelling (unless this contributed to the question being put on hold, which would be sad).

If you feel that you can actually improve the state of the question in such a way that it would be worth reopening, then by all means edit it, and then vote to reopen it.

This has been mentioned in discussion before, but I felt that it's worth pointing out again. For old discussions, please see

  • 11
    Generally, if people abstained from doing edits that are just removing "thanks" and context phrasing (without doing any other improvements), THAT WOULD BE GREAT. I perfectly understand the point of not cluttering questions with useless verbiage, but having someone actively enforcing the "no-thanks policy" on sight is incredibly rude -- and culturally insensitive to the point of becoming discriminatory. – mosvy Apr 14 at 9:00
  • can we suggest to lock that kind of question from others editing except OP him/herself then? Personally I didn't know that those questions won't be appear in reopen review queue untill only and only edited by OP!! – αғsнιη Apr 14 at 15:07
  • 5
    @αғsнιη locking would go against the collective ownership principles of SE: anyone should be allowed to improve a question. I’m not sure I understand your second sentence, but the point is that the first edit after a closure will push the question on to the re-open queue, regardless of who edited it, but it will only be pushed once. – Stephen Kitt Apr 15 at 12:23
  • 8
    In all honesty, this feels like a flaw in the system. It would make more sense if the question's author had one go at fixing their own question regardless of whether or not someone else "helped" by removing a "hi" or "thanks" from their post, thus wasting the review queue opportunity. – undercat Apr 15 at 20:50
  • 2
    @undercat: This sort of thing has been discussed ad nauseam, and the short version is that Stack Exchange (the company) doesn't care about human factors issues at all (or at least, not enough to fix or even acknowledge them). As far as they're concerned, there is a Right Way to use their products and anyone who has a problem is doing the Wrong Thing. – Kevin Apr 15 at 21:42
  • 7
    @mosvy I am confused as to what the consensus is on editing out pleasantries. This earlier meta suggests that any improvement is a good thing. Specifically relating to the "no-thanks" policy, the clearest I could find was the Help Center's comment on signatures, taglines, and greetings. Editing out pleasantries seems consistent with this. Do you think that this policy should be altered, as culturally insensitive? – Sparhawk Apr 16 at 1:22
  • 12
    @Sparhawk I think the consensus is still that pleasantries should be edited out, but I also think that it’s not always appropriate. For new users especially, who are not aware of this aspect of SE, it can come across as very rude — they take the time to write out niceties, to be polite, and sometimes the first reaction they get is someone editing all of that out of their answer. I tend to prune niceties if I’m editing a post for other reasons, and typically only on older posts (where the user is either gone or has had a chance to learn the ropes). – Stephen Kitt Apr 16 at 16:13
  • s/answer/post/ above ;-). – Stephen Kitt Apr 17 at 13:02
  • 10
    The consensus has always been not to edit them out unless you're already editing the post, and then to take them out along with the other changes. That doesn't solve any of the interpersonal issues, in line with SE's usual practice, it just keeps pointless edits down. For reviewed edits, though, there's no longer a way to reject them appropriately, so it is set up to train people the other way. – Michael Homer Apr 17 at 23:44
  • 6
    Thanks for posting this. Previously, I rejected suggested edits with a custom reason, e.g., This question has been closed as being unclear. Such posts should only be edited if the edit sufficiently clarifies the question that it be re-opened. There’s a very short character limit for custom reject messages so it’s great that I can now link to this Meta question to provide more useful information. – Anthony Geoghegan Apr 18 at 17:41
  • 7
    Yes, an edit that just removes "thanks" and doesn't do anything else useful is a waste of everyone's time. It doesn't improve the post, it runs the risk of alienating the OP, especially if done without an explanation, and it just isn't worth the effort. If all you are editing is things like "thanks" or "hello", don't edit! – terdon Apr 22 at 9:03
  • 1
    In my opinion an edit on questions not recently put on hold and bumping it to the homepage without "improving the state of the question in such a way that it would be worth reopening" should also be frowned upon. – Weijun Zhou Apr 23 at 20:05
  • @WeijunZhou you are preaching the choir. – Braiam Apr 24 at 11:22
  • Glad to know it then (although not everyone is following this practice, and I suppose it should at least be mentioned or linked in this question). Also learnt a new phrase in English. – Weijun Zhou Apr 24 at 12:48
  • 3
    If you have constructive views and opinions, do expand upon them in proper answers rather than resorting to bickering in the comment section. – Kusalananda Apr 24 at 21:53
0

The only reason why this specific edit is undesirable is because how the system works. The edit itself isn't undesirable. Stack Exchange sites want to be a FAQ, and FAQ's don't include anything but the question and the answer. Instead of trying to get people not to improve posts removing irrelevant words that makes questions harder to find, instead change the system in a way that actually makes sense: only author edits should put the question in the reopen queue (or at least, that third party edits and author edits aren't not throw in the same bag).

If the question wasn't closed, nobody would bat an eye that this is happening.

But, while those 6 to 8 weeks come this is a more sensible guidance:

Don't edit questions with on hold status, unless you make the question suitable for answering.

Stack Exchange, in general, lacks editors. There's not many to make sure questions are always in the highest value possible. Please, do not discourage edits.

  • 5
    Nobody is discouraging edits. We're discouraging only edits that do nothing useful and simply remove "thanks". That's a pointless edit and often alienates the OP. If the post is fine apart from the "thanks", just let it be. If there are other things to improve, then sure, get rid of the noise ("thanks") as well, just don't edit only to remove those thanks. And could you explain why you say that having "thanks" in a post makes it harder to find? – terdon Apr 24 at 13:15
  • 1
    @terdon that's discouraging edits. Shog specifically told anyone that reviewers should approve any edit that improves the post. ANY. Removing thanks improves the post and should therefore be encouraged. – Braiam Apr 24 at 13:47
  • 5
    The question is whether removing "thanks" improves the post. And, in my opinion, it doesn't. So it's a useless edit. I say again: if all your edit does is remove thanks, then it isn't worth it. It isn't an improvement. We have a culture on SE of doing such edits and I think that's very wrong. It's just a pointless jab at the OP (it isn't meant that way, of course, but it can come across like that). So if you don't have anything else to improve, don't edit just to remove thanks. – terdon Apr 24 at 13:59
  • 8
    A post is never "improved" by removing thanks. A post is improved by making it clearer, possibly by incorporating clarifications from comments. Especially with regards to questions that have been put on hold, such posts are only improved by editing that will make them worth reopening. I would discourage editing that pushes a post to the reopen queue when the post is clearly not going to make it through that queue, for the reasons outlined above. – Kusalananda Apr 24 at 19:10

You must log in to answer this question.

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