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Apologies if this has already been asked:

Is it considered acceptable for a user to review suggested edits to their own question?

I ask this because I've had two seemingly reasonable (to me) edits to a question title rejected by the user who posted the question.

The question is "Where does the word “sh**” come from?", posted by tchrist.

My first edit was to replace "sh**" in the title with "shag". This seemed reasonable to me because I didn't feel that shag was such an offensive word that it needed to be censored in the title. Also, I felt there was the potential for the censored word to be misread as shit. This was rejected by tchrist, saying "This edit is incorrect or an attempt to reply to or comment on the existing post". I took this to mean that whether the word shag is offensive is a subject for discussion rather than a unilateral edit, and I have no problem with that call.

My second edit was to replace "shag" with "sh*g", preserving the censorship but removing the ambiguity. This was also rejected by tchrist for the same reason.

The reason I've asked this question is that it appears that tchrist is "marking his own homework" by moderating changes to his own question. This seems to go against the spirit of peer review, which is the whole point of having suggested edits in the first place. It also seems slightly unfair to allow this practice, because users without review privileges do not get the opportunity to moderate changes to their own questions.

As an aside, without wishing to get personal, it does seem inconsistent on tchrist's part to insist on censoring the word shag when the words jism, quim, minge and wankers all appear uncensored in his other questions.

EDIT: I've tried not to sound whiny here, apologies if this comes across that way. I'm genuinely interested to know if this is acceptable.

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    This is not a school, and there is no homework (or if there is, nobody's doing it). The poster has the ultimate responsibility for text posted under their name. Therefore the poster is the ultimate authority on the proper content of their post. – John Lawler Dec 27 '13 at 23:34
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    +1, tory, I understand the reason why you asked this question, but, alas, there is nothing to do considering that that particular user is always right; and, however, @John's comment is pretty clear 'the poster is the ultimate authority on the proper content of their post,' although I experienced something different in reference to some of my own questions. – Elberich Schneider Dec 28 '13 at 10:31
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    @JohnLawler the phrase "marking one's own homework" is obviously not meant to be taken literally so I'm not sure what your first sentence is supposed to mean. And if a user is the ultimate owner of the content posted under their name, then 1. why are other users allowed to edit at all, and 2. why is moderation of a user's own submissions restricted to users that have moderation privileges over all submissions? – toryan Dec 28 '13 at 14:36
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    Don't ask me why people follow these procedures; I have nothing to do with them. I've found open editiing occasionally irritating, but that's true of everything bureaucratic. I've also found them mostly very useful, catching toyps and improving formatting. Basically it's a Gricean situation. – John Lawler Dec 28 '13 at 16:00
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    It's difficult. The mechanics of this site allow editing by anybody with appeal and oversight by those with a certain level of reputation. In this case those rules and the competing desires by you and the OP lean towards tchrist's choices. – Mitch Dec 29 '13 at 17:29
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    I think most people understand the reasoning behind your proposed edits. They're not bad or wrong edits, per se. But I believe tchrist has purposely chosen to make the title of his question more enticing. It's part humor, part link-bait. Look at the body of the question. The presentation is not serious at all, regardless of the merits of the underlying question. – John Y Jan 4 '14 at 15:38
  • There was a hat in the Winter Bash, I'm not listening, which was awarded for users that reject a suggested edit to their own post. So it seems like allowing users to moderate suggested edits targeted at them is acceptable, and not an oversight in the StackExchange code. – IQAndreas Jan 8 '14 at 18:39
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I freely admit I don't know why tchrist wants to retain sh** in his question title. But as John Lawler comments above, the poster is the ultimate authority on the proper content of their post.

This is particularly the case when there's overwhelming evidence that the OP has excellent command of English. In such situations, unless it's screamingly obvious you're just correcting a typo, I think competent speakers/writers are entitled to express themselves as they see fit.


As it happens, SO doesn't support editing of comments (except by the OP, for up to 5 minutes after posting). And that's not always a bad thing. If anyone had "corrected" I've also found [3rd-party edits] very useful, catching toyps in John's second comment, I'd have been denied a chuckle!

  • I somewhat regret mentioning the specifics of the question now, because I didn't want to just discuss that specific question. I think there is a broader question about whether users with moderation privileges should be able to use those privileges to resolve disputes about content that they themselves have submitted. – toryan Dec 29 '13 at 1:06
  • @toryan: Well, I only referenced that particular post to say I don't know why the OP rejected your edits. I don't know what you mean by "broader question", but my intention here was to address the general case. If an OP doesn't want his question text altered, so far as I'm concerned that's his prerogative. Do you disagree with that principle? – FumbleFingers Dec 29 '13 at 16:08
  • I don't have the ability to veto pending changes to my submissions, so if it is a user's prerogative, it's one that is reserved for users with a certain reputation, and only as a consequence of their having moderation privileges over all edits. So yes, I disagree that it is (or should be) a user's right to have their text go unedited. The broader principle is, to my mind, that one of the functions of the review process is to mediate between users: user A thinks the text should be this, user B disagrees. It's not fair mediation if one user can veto the other's changes. – toryan Dec 29 '13 at 18:15
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    @toryan: Stack Exchange is not, and never has been, a direct democracy where every user's view is as good as every other. (there are meta discussions on this on most sites; certainly here (meta.english.stackexchange.com/a/2917/8019). Privileges are earned by good contributions; the idea of the system is to encourage experts. So tchrist does have greater authority over that post (and others) than you, not because he is the author but because he has higher rep. You can change that by making useful contributions, but not by objecting. – TimLymington Dec 29 '13 at 19:47
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    @toryan: My apologies. I hadn't realised that high-rep users could unilaterally force unwanted edits through against the wishes of the OP (I do endorse TimLymington's point though). On the other hand, I assume even a low-rep OP could "revert" to his original text if he wanted to make an issue of it. And if any specific case came up for discussion/arbitration here in meta, my natural inclination would be to side with the original author regardless of the possible merits of the edit. – FumbleFingers Dec 29 '13 at 20:43
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    @toryan: OPs can always roll back changes to their posts, even if they have no rep to speak of. So while they can't "moderate" suggested edits, they do have a voice, and it's a pretty authoritative one, when it comes to their own posts. – Marthaª Dec 30 '13 at 15:47
  • Thanks for all the comments. It seems that the consensus is "working as intended, nothing to see". If that's the way the community has collectively decided to function, then fair enough - I don't have to like it, or agree with it, but I can deal with it. – toryan Dec 30 '13 at 16:00
  • @toryan: Per this question I've just answered on ELL, one of my pet hates is people who start their question text with the word So. For a while I made a habit of editing out the offending word - but as you say, in the end you just have to deal with it. – FumbleFingers Dec 30 '13 at 16:46
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    When I read, "toyps" I assumed Prof. Lawler had done that on purpose. – Jim Dec 30 '13 at 17:46
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    @Jim: I think we can be pretty certain of that. He does have a wry sense of humour sometimes! – FumbleFingers Dec 30 '13 at 17:53
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    What, only sometimes? Gonna hafta try harder. – John Lawler Dec 30 '13 at 19:28

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