Please see this question on dialect and (specifically) its edit history. While I can’t say that I approve of the original question’s choice of example, I think that the “revision” (really, replacement of the entire question), though a better question to ask, was done inappropriately. Are there any established guidelines for this sort of situation?

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    Absolutely. 100%. This question was on its way to being deleted, and that was the correct course of action. Flag it for deletion.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 17:54
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    The user Frozen, it's an anonymous username, is earning rep for someone else's efforts. It's one thing fixing typos and making a post look decent, quite another matter completely changing it, so it is more palatable for the community. Why should the user Frozen be rewarded? What have they done or said to deserve these rep points.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 19:01
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    Related: Is using “colored girls” as an incidental example offensive or unwelcoming? The answer with its 42 upvotes was deleted because it contained that line that was regarded offensive. The offending words in the original question have been sanitized BUT not by the author.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 19:05
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    Completely changing it to be more palatable for the community is an action to be taken only after all other avenues are exhausted. It should be rolled back and marked as dupe, because edit+dupe adds nothing new. Information was lost - that's like my top pet peeve. Trying to make the world a better place by burying colloquialisms is a disservice to posterity. DV and move on, or also flag it and release some 'altruistic' dopamine... yea.
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


I have deleted the question and merged the good quality answers into "Be like" usage. This is one of the more complicated moderator actions I have done recently, so my apologies if I didn't handle it perfectly.

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    You did everything right from what I could tell.
    – mRotten
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 4:08
  • Thanks for sorting this out. Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 6:14
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    Kudos. Excellent judgement. Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 0:37

There's two separate issues going on here. One is my edit, the other is the original content.

1. My edit

When I saw this question, my reflex was downvote and close vote, but I decided to edit based on the title. The question there was:

Why is used "be" in this sentence instead of using "are"

Which I considered reasonable.

In addition, Jeff's comment, which I have upvoted, made me think this could be 'fixed' - there was no close votes at this point, and 4 downvotes:

This is dialect, rather than standard English, and should be approached with that in mind. – Jeff Zeitlin

The help section says this:

Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it. Common reasons for edits include:

  1. To fix grammar and spelling mistakes
  2. To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)

It's a stretch, but that's what I thought I was doing. Making the post better, and showing the user how we like them here. There was an aspect of wanting to turn around a negative question for selfish reasons, but I picked the question badly.

The content

The original content is offensive. That's why I removed it (and didn't include it as an example). This clearly wasn't the right thing to do.

It wasn't a question we want on this site. There was no research, no explanation, and the user hasn't taken the tour. Miracles may happen, but we have enough 1-rep users with poor questions for me to doubt any valued activity from them on this site.

After reading Mari-Lou's comments, I don't think I went about this the right way - the user now has 21 rep and a student badge, which they wouldn't have got previously.

I should have flagged it as offensive, and voted to close too (no research?)

I'll leave it to the moderators and community to decide on the fate of this specific question, and accept the rap on the knuckles about 'fixing' offensive questions in the first place.


I have followed Cascabel's advice and rolled it back.

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    Your intentions were good, but maybe the best thing to do would be to roll back the revision and let the Q get deleted. You could then re-post it under your own name. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 20:07
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    @Cascabel That's a good suggestion - I'll wait to see if anyone else responds and probably do that. Regarding reposting, it's pretty much a duplicate anyway. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 20:09
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    I didn't DV you here ...but I suppose that was from someone who did not like the revision. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 20:11
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    That was an awesome edit. I can't tell whether the commenters realize that the original offensive sentence is a quote.
    – shoover
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 2:21
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    Don't worry too much about the OP's rep. You rightly point out that you made a substantial edit that improved the question without changing its perceived intent. If the OP's actual intent was something other than a question about English, that would become apparent in the OP's future posts, and those can be flagged for moderation. As far as the repository of questions is concerned, you've gone above and beyond in the edit. You've certainly not done the wrong thing by editing as you did.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 8:45
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    If we only cater to our own community, then the questions will be inaccessible to everyone else. It's a dupe; Mary found it. And now after the edit, it provides nothing that the dupe doesn't. If enough users found it to be offensive (it's not racist, nor is it sexist; it's pro-heterosexual and uses pejorative terms) then it would have enough flags to auto-delete. - And now it's likely all answers will be inaccessible to the OP and their ilk, because it asks about a colloquial phrase that's not even in the question anymore. You've removed accessibility and searchability: posterity -1.
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 18:16

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