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In the last few minutes, an anonymous user has twice attempted to edit an old answer of mine by inserting irrelevant material that appears to be pushing some political, religious, or nationalist point of view (I don't understand what they mean, and I can't tell what view they are pushing.)

I have twice rejected the edit.

Is there anything that can be done to stop this?

Edit Screenshots added, as requested in a comment.

Screenshot - top half Screenshot - bottom half with the first offending edit

  • Moderators can lock the post for a while, but you wouldn’t be able to edit it either. They can put a lock on that expires after a certain period of time. But it might be overkill since I doubt anyone would approve the edit. – ColleenV May 8 at 11:38
  • Maybe you're dealing with it the appropriate and intended way. (which means sadly that I don't think there is a way to prevent this). Maybe flag the question for moderators to investigate improper editing, or reject the proposed edit as vandalism (which should get a mod to look into it). – Mitch May 8 at 12:23
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    Actually, the result is that you are giving visibility to the undesired edit and to its content. :) – Gio May 8 at 16:34
  • I wouldn't have posted here if it had been just once. I was worried that they tried again. But they haven't so far done so a third time. – Colin Fine May 8 at 16:37
  • @Gio ...but not on the main. The trolls are not astute enough to pollute meta. So this serves to advise experienced users what to be looking for. – Cascabel May 8 at 22:01
  • It could be helpful if articulate persons were allowed to spell out why an answer is irrelevant. If the answer were prevented or rejected and removed, there would be no such opportunity. I do understand what that answer means, but I also know why it is inappropriate, and one reason is that the examples given are not a question of preferring a more scholarly transliteration to the phonetic spelling of a non-English term (and Mumbai/Bombay and Beijing/Peking are not comparable: the former are based on two different languages; the latter on two different transliteration systems). – KayCee May 11 at 15:57
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First of all, you were right to reject the edits. With enough rejected edits, anonymous users will get that IP blocked from suggesting edits. Were any bad edits to be approved, you can retroactively reject them because you own the post.

After the second edit, you could have flagged for moderator attention asking for a temporary lock on the question, which would prevent votes, comments, and — most importantly — edits.

However, since it's been a day since the second edit was suggested and the user has suggested nothing more, it doesn't seem like any action needs to be taken.

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    @JJJ Not really. With T-shirts it's pretty easy to know that you have one and that you need to change it (and if not, you'll learn pretty quickly). But IP blocks are effective: the number of people who know how to bypass them is much, much lower. When IP bans don't work, then there's bigger tools like locking. I can say for certain after looking at the entire list of suggested edits since these (a tool available to those with 10k+ rep) that this guy hasn't suggested an edit since. – Laurel May 9 at 1:36
  • It might be worth asking a Feature Request on MetaSE for a maximum limit on the number of new characters added by a low rep or anonymous users in suggested edits. If a minimum limit already exists (6 characters), why not a maximum limit? – Mari-Lou A May 10 at 6:22
  • @Mari-LouA Because I do a lot of anonymous editing on other sites and that would interfere with making certain changes like fixing link only answers, editing comments into posts, restructuring things, etc. – Laurel May 10 at 13:36
  • I checked the number of new characters introduced, and it's 697. I don't think setting a cap on 500 new characters in suggested edits would be harmful. I cannot imagine that any of your anonymous edits ever exceed the 500 mark. Remember, I'm talking about new characters, not fixing an obsolete link, or posting a comment made by the OP. And if that number were to exceed the 500 character limit, it should be made by the OP themself or by a reputable (hi-rep) member. – Mari-Lou A May 12 at 13:24
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    @Mari-LouA Comments can be up to 600 chars, so that would make it impossible to edit a long comment by the OP into their post. Most of the time fixing a link only answer adds even more characters out of necessity. And then there are some less common use cases like transcribing text from images that also tend to be long edits. – Laurel May 12 at 16:06

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