On EL&U someone is editing other peoples questions. It seems, this is only to achieve points as there often is no real difference between before and after editing.

Without having to openly point to the person doing this, whom can I tell?

  • 4
    It's probably worth keeping in mind that this might not be so big of a problem. All edits by sub-2,000 rep. users are reviewed by users who have 2000 or more rep. If we do not feel that such an edit is sufficiently helpful, we will reject it as being "No improvement whatsoever." If the edit is deemed to be helpful by the reviewers, then the behavior is probably somewhat beneficial. Granted, there are exceptions, such as suggesting multiple trivial edits to the same question, or maybe even reverting back and forth between two states. Users with over 2000 rep. don't get more rep. from editing.
    – Tonepoet
    Mar 17, 2017 at 15:41
  • @Tonepoet Fair enough and thank you for your answer. However, had it happened to me, I would have taken offence...
    – seagull
    Mar 17, 2017 at 15:49
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    @seagull If there's an edit that you wish didn't happen, you can roll it back to a previous version. To do this, click on the "edited (date)" link.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 18, 2017 at 2:36
  • 2
    Examples, please? // You may flag the question. Mar 20, 2017 at 5:47

2 Answers 2


As Tonepoet has commented on the question, this may have nothing to do with rep-scoring.

Users with more than 2000 rep do not get points for successful edits, and they can edit without the verification of other users. Users who do not yet have 2000 rep can suggest edits which have to be reviewed and approved. Approved edits award the editor +2 rep, but you only get that for your first 500 edits.

Stack Exchange encourages the editing of content to improve its curation. Questions from new users, especially, can include greetings and signatures, "Thanks in advance," and the like: all of these are superfluous and can (and should) be removed. Markdown syntax for formatting can be esoteric, and there are particular conventions on this site — using italics for mentions; not using code formatting — which may not be known. Direct quotations should use the > quote formatting, and using it to offset examples from commentary is also useful.

Yes, these are minor; but the minor alteration to the post can yield a disproportionately large improvement in its overall quality and contribution to the site, making it more businesslike and easier to read.

The system does have a lower limit on editing, and edits by users other than the author or moderators have to change at least six characters in order to be accepted. So really trivial edits aren't possible. This does have the side-effect that you can't make some necessary changes like adding the word not where it was wrongly omitted, or a single-character typo which might drastically alter the intended meaning: but in those cases it might be best to leave a comment anyway, asking whether the author really meant what he wrote. That also serves as a warning to other readers that there may be something wrong.

Where the edit does seem abusive, do flag as Matt suggests.

  • 1
    At your discretion, I would suggest one more link is in order in this answer. Right around the part where you say "Stack Exchange encourages editing the content to improve its curation", I think you should link the editing guidelines in the help center. It shows where the encouragement is, what kind of encouragement is given and which edits are encouraged.
    – Tonepoet
    Mar 18, 2017 at 0:09
  • @Tonepoet Yes, you're right. Done; thanks for the prod in the right direction.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Mar 18, 2017 at 1:41
  • Thank you. I do (or hope I do) understand SE's politics and up to a point I agree. However, I still don't think that in a 5-line-answer "text in quotation marks" should necessarily be changed into blockquotes. I have actually no idea why someone should edit just for the sake of editing. If it's not for reppoints, maybe it's for personal satisfaction or maybe they really think they are doing s.o. a service. Actually, I don't care. I understand your reasoning, I have flagged right after Matt suggested it and in the future I'll just accept. Thanks for the discussion, anyway.
    – seagull
    Mar 18, 2017 at 11:50
  • P.S. Is it possible that the markdown formatting is not for linux users? I wanted to put something in blockquote with ctrl+Q and successfully closed down my browser...
    – seagull
    Mar 18, 2017 at 11:52
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    @seagull I personally find blockquotes a lot more readable than text in quotation marks or even italics. It stands out a lot better and makes it clearer that's being talked about and what's being said. I've often edited to change some other method of quotation to blockquotes. My only motivation is to increase readability for everyone.
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 18, 2017 at 14:53
  • @seagull Blockquote uses > at the start of each quoted line. I've no idea whether there are supposed to be keyboard shortcuts (I don't use them).
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Mar 18, 2017 at 18:03
  • @seagull: FWIW, you can also earn badges for editing. Copy Editor is awarded for editing 500 posts. A user who does mostly edits will get his 1000th rep point when he does his 500th edit. A more balanced user might exceed 2K rep before getting the 500th edit, and might keep editing just to get the badge. (For example, I currently have >4K rep on the (main) EL&U site, but under 125 edits, so I’m less than ¼ of the way to the Copy Editor badge.) Of course I wouldn’t edit something just for the bling. Mar 19, 2017 at 2:56
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    @AndrewLeach: You should say “edits that need to be reviewed have to change at least six characters.”  Users with ≥2000 rep can make tiny edits to other people’s posts. Mar 19, 2017 at 3:06

Please flag a post that has been edited in such a way, using the "other" flag, and explain about the editing in question.

Moderators will receive the flag and deal with it.


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