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I get that editing a question or answer is part of this site, but it seems to me some people are too quick to do so.

Further, some edits completely change the nature of the OP - and that's simply wrong.

My feeling is that just because you don't agree with how the OP phrased their question or answer doesn't actually give you the right to make an edit - even if you're a moderator.

It's absolutely okay to suggest an edit, or request it to be rewritten for clarification, but it's not okay to force an edit on someone.

I would also suggest there needs to be a time limit (say, one hour), during which no one except the OP can make an edit. This allows the OP to double check and alter things before you stomp all over it with your personal aesthetic.

Don't forget that despite the guidelines, people will write in a way that makes sense to them. That should be respected. Correcting spelling is one thing, but moving lines around or re-writing entire paragraphs is not acceptable. It's not your question/response.

That's my rant. I've written it in response to some heavy-handed editing that I've seen on some questions & answers.

What are your thoughts on this?

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    This would have to be made on a full network basis, not on the M&TV site alone but I'm pretty sure that no one is going to go for this. Many first time askers don't know how to ask properly or they have poor titles or bad grammar. Blacking out editing by other users will make the really poor-quality question stick around for much longer than it needs to. If you have a specific example, that would help your argument. I know it's hard to call people out specifically but in order to help explain why something's acceptable, we need to know what you think is wrong more exactly. – Catija Mar 1 '17 at 20:12
  • @Catija - I had just posted an answer. Then I made some edits to that answer to bring in more information, and present it in a better way. This was about 10 seconds after posting. While I was making my edit, another person edited my answer, moving stuff around and putting their personal aesthetic over it. Not only were their edits unnecessary, but it messed up the edit I was making. Perhaps if someone is above a certain reputation level, edits should only be suggested. For newbies, edit as normal. This doesn't have to be enforced, but could be a guideline. – Tim Mar 1 '17 at 20:17
  • It's the other way around... users with more than 2K rep are allowed to edit any post without it being a suggested edit. I'm sorry that you had this issue but you are certainly allowed to roll back the edit. – Catija Mar 1 '17 at 20:20
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    OK... someone removing the spoiler tag from one paragraph isn't really "moving stuff around and putting their personal aesthetic" on it. – Catija Mar 1 '17 at 20:26
  • @Catija - And moving an entire paragraph? Cause they did that as well. And changed the wording. It wasn't a poorly written answer; the editor just decided it would sound better (to them) if rearranged. Let the OP make their own messes - there's nothing wrong with that. – Tim Mar 1 '17 at 20:28
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    And again, you can roll back any edit you disagree with... but you're arguing with one of the site moderators (I point this out because regardless of the rules, moderators would be exempt from them) and their point about the spoiler markup is valid. You can arrange it however you like but consider the comments. It's unhelpful to have answers completely hidden in spoilers, particularly when they're unnecessary. – Catija Mar 1 '17 at 20:32
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    @Catija - you're focusing on one example. My argument is for general consideration - not a single incident. Also, the change was not initially explained. I'm just saying that if you do make an edit, you should explain why. It's better to educate, so that the OP knows for the future. Moderator or not, there should be an explanation for the edit. – Tim Mar 1 '17 at 20:41
  • @Catija - but more importantly, don't edit something just because you, personally, feel it's wrong, or because it doesn't meet your ideal way of doing things. Having the right to do that doesn't mean you should do that. Also, if the OP does choose to roll back, don't get pissy about it. It's their post, not yours. – Tim Mar 1 '17 at 20:43
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    If something is against site policy (which the spoiler markup was, to a degree) the OP rolling back is unacceptable. So, no, I'm not going to agree with your statement. – Catija Mar 1 '17 at 20:46
  • @Catija - as I said, that's just one example. What about changing stuff that isn't against policy? Because that does happen, and seems to be the whim of the editor. – Tim Mar 1 '17 at 20:57
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    @Tim "if the OP does choose to roll back, don't get pissy about it." - Having looked at this comment thread and some reasonable points (on both sides) from the outside, this is the point where I would like to remind you to consider who actually got "pissy" in the comments under the question you say this isn't about but was clearly what sparked it. The sole reason your comments on that answer haven't been flagged and deleted as not constructive yet is that they seem relevant to this meta question. – Napoleon Wilson Mar 1 '17 at 21:10
  • @NapoleonWilson - Education is better than silently tromping all over someone's work, right? "Oh, they edited my post because it was massive a pile of bovine turd." is better than "Those arrogant bastards." – Tim Mar 1 '17 at 21:16
  • I...struggle to get the second half of your comment (and am not sure I want to understand it), but I agree that I should have provided a proper edit summary. I'm sorry I didn't. It would have prevented some of the mess. – Napoleon Wilson Mar 1 '17 at 21:19
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    I'm really sorry to say this but I think you're being overly sensitive about this. If anything, I'd say that the users of this site are overly reticent at editing content. Adding a paragraph break and removing a spoiler is not a major edit. Major edits generally get reverted pretty quickly as they're often considered detrimental and counter to the OP's intent... this was neither of those things. If you can give us another example where you think it was unwarranted, please do, otherwise, I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you. – Catija Mar 1 '17 at 21:38
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    If all you're really upset about is that there was no comment that explained what was (in my opinion) an extremely minor edit, then talk about that. Don't recommend a network-wide nuclear option requiring the prevention of all editing for all questions and answers for a blackout period within a particular time of the question being posted. That's overkill. Address the issues you have, not the hypothetical ones that don't actually exist. – Catija Mar 1 '17 at 21:40
5
  1. Edits are a right for any user with enough rep. That's one of the defining features of Stack Exchange.

  2. Edits that completely or significantly change nature of the question should be rejected. They are harmful and against the rules. But rewriting a paragraph doesn't mean its changing the meaning of the question.

  3. A timeout where only OP can edit their own question or answer or post is an interesting idea and should be submitted to http://Meta.StackExchange.com, as this would be a site wide change. Of course, be prepared to be down voted by people who don't agree. There are many posts that need immediate edits due to grammar, spelling, factual errors, links or photos added, etc.

As to your specific instance, I suspect Did 'Awake' reach a conclusion, or was it cancelled too abruptly?, the edits are debatable. We try to limit the use of spoiler tags, but OP specifically asked for avoiding spoilers. The current state, with the main answer being "Season 1 went as planned" being unspoilered, and the plot details being spoilered, is a good compromise.

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