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I've been seeing edits that are increasingly vulgur. Here's the latest:

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I was wondering: is there a reason you're not required to create an account before proposing edits. Is there some benefit from this I'm not seeing. I suppose it is to encourage new users to participate more, but has anyone stopped to evaluate if this is really helping the site?

  • 4
    This is probably a better question for Meta Stack Exchange, as the feature and its drawbacks are not unique to ELU. I don't think anonymous editing can be turned off on a per-site basis. Meta gets a little ... indignant when it sees duplicate questions, though, so I'd run a bit of a search before asking.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 9:42
  • @DanBron: Thanks for the tip.
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 9:43
  • 6
    @DanBron: I checked. This has been troubling a lot of folks, it seems these edits are deemed helpful because the approval rate is north of 30%. I'll see if I can get those figures for ELU specifically/
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 9:52
  • Now that you've discovered approval rate is the benchmark which justifies this feature, maybe it should be tunable on a per-site basis. I can imagine the approval rate of a stack like EL&U, with its focus on the nuances of grammaticality and usage is, and ought to be, lower than a more informal (from an English perspective) site like SO. I'll think about whether I want to ask that question on Meta (probably not; I'm not strongly motivated).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 10:08
  • 2
    @DanBron: In the last 30 days, 9 edits were approved and 58 rejected. Someone should do something. Query
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 10:34
  • 1
    @Area51DetectiveFiction Honestly, I don't see 58 rejections in a month as a problem. It's not at all overwhelming: it just means that a few people have to click a link twice a day. The amount of time anyone has spent discussing the matter here probably already exceeds the amount of time they spend reviewing anon edits in a month. And the up-side is that nine posts have been improved. Commented May 14, 2015 at 9:56
  • @DavidRicherby: Well aren't you Mr. Glass Very Sightly Full
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 9:58
  • 1
    @Area51DetectiveFiction No, I'm Mr The Cost Of Allowing This Is Really Small So Why Are We Getting Worked Up About It? Commented May 14, 2015 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


The answer as to why SE allows anonymous users to suggest edits is the same reason as to why registered users with 1 rep can suggest edits

Can I earn reputation?

When a suggested edit is approved, the user who suggested it gets +2 reputation. The regular daily reputation cap applies, and the total cap for reputation gained via suggested edits is 1,000. Like any other reputation, the +2 is reversed if the edited post is ever deleted. When a suggested edit is rejected, no penalty is given. Once you have earned the edit privilege, your edits are no longer peer reviewed and no reputation is given for edits.

What about abuse or bad edits?

There are strict limits enforced. If a user (anonymous or registered) submits many rejected edits they will be automatically banned from suggesting edits for 7 days.

The fixed size queue also helps protect us from abuse.

and on the SO helpcentre which I have always presumed provides the basis for all the other Stack sites

When should I edit posts?

Any time you see a post that needs improvement and are inclined to suggest an edit, you are welcome to do so. The original author of a question or answer may always edit their own post, regardless of reputation level.

For some users suggesting edits is an easy and quick way of earning the mythical reputation points. It is one of the many ways a newcomer can ‘earn’ certain privileges.

Remove New User Restrictions
Privilege Type: Milestone Privilege

Awarded At: 10 Reputation

Vote Up
Privilege Type: Moderation Privilege

Awarded At: 15 Reputation

But not such a quick way to earn the right of commenting everywhere …

Comment Everywhere
Privilege Type: Communication Privilege

Awarded At: 50 Reputation

  • 4
    Yes, but if it is a registered user, even with 1 rep, we can pinpoint the culprit behind the edit and moderators can take action if required. How do we stop anonymous users? In the last 30 days, 9 edits were approved and 58 rejected. Not particularly helpful, I'd say.
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 10:31
  • I just limited myself to reporting what SE says, and possibly explaining the rationale behind this policy.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 10:33
  • 1
    Appreciate it, but I think in case of ELU, the system's optimism might be a tad unwarranted.
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 10:35
  • Were all the rejected edits offensive in nature? I've been here for some time, and although the occasional rude/vulgar edit is suggested they've never been among the majority of the proposed edits.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 11:02
  • 2
    No, This was one of the more rude ones and that's why I was prompted to post here. Other edits included superfluous gibberish, (I'd call it vandalism,) but not this offensive.
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 11:05
  • So many of the rejected edits were ungrammatical, gibberish, perhaps the odd "answer" was sneaked in, someone disagreed fiercely with the OP, someone else thought chunks of the OP should be deleted etc. These proposed edits can be made by registered users as well. A registered user with very low rep is not going to care too much about being banned, I believe it is very easy to start a new account. But maybe SE has "security" measures for want of a better expression, to prevent a banned user from opening a new account.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 11:09
  • All valid points. As a matter of fact I do think there are measures. After a rejected a bunch of edits, they stopped coming for a while. Maybe a 7-day ban or something was enforced by the system. But now they're back. Well, let's just hope the novelty of offensive edits wears down soon.
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 11:29
  • @Area51DetectiveFiction: And while we're at it, let's hope for world peace, a cure for cancer, and zero-calorie fudge that tastes like the real thing.
    – Robusto
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 17:12

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