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Sometimes, power gets to people's heads. Certain members here have been monitoring my questions, answers and comments closely. My crime? I believe that humor a) makes people happy b) helps the learning process. I've been called names. My questions and answers have been edited for no reason. This is humiliating and boring. Is there a way to guard yourself against trolls with high rep numbers? Or should I just leave (I don't mind)?

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    There are a lot of assumptions and unsubstantiated allegations here. I just clicked on your four newest answers; none of them had been edited. Moreover, SE encourages edits. You're assuming downvotes are coming from a small set of high-rep users who disagree with your sense of humor. You're assuming you're being singled out when these reviewers could be looking at you with the same scrutiny as they look at anyone else. And your post is a "trollish" as anything I've seen on ELU for awhile. – J.R. Nov 5 '15 at 1:07
  • Thank you for answering. So long. – Ricky Nov 5 '15 at 1:21
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    When people are getting negative comments and downvotes, I have observed that it is never because of the quality of the user's questions, answers or even attitude - including their usually exceptional sense of humor - but always because of high-rep trolls getting their jollies by abusing innocents. Hang in there. The truth will see the light of day. – anongoodnurse Nov 5 '15 at 4:03
  • Don't be discouraged. Your questions (especially the one about articles before proper nouns) are in far better quality and more useful than other questions they are not following around. Hang in there. They will find better things to do, worse questions to follow around, or another more interesting target someday. – user140086 Nov 5 '15 at 5:41
  • @J.R. - Um, please read between the lines. Maybe I was waaaay to subtle in my "humor"? (Btw, I, too, cast more upvotes than down, but the downvotes have been sneaking up there...) Please accept my apology. – anongoodnurse Nov 5 '15 at 9:08
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    "always because of high-rep trolls getting their jollies": That was the subtlety? Now I don't know what to think. – Mitch Nov 6 '15 at 19:01
  • @Mitch - J.R. thought I was serious. The entire comment is basically a "Yeah, right." That answer is too short, though. Also, age-specific. I don't think that's said today. I don't generally use sarcasm, but in this case, Ricky's preposterous assertions were just irresistible. Also, I can't enter 10 emojis of laughing so hard I'm crying. (See? Now I just feel mean.) – anongoodnurse Nov 7 '15 at 16:20
  • @Mitch - When you read medica's comment, make sure you lace the italicized "never" and the bolded "always" with a dose of sarcasm. Then it makes sense. – J.R. Nov 8 '15 at 0:14
  • @J.R. I got it. Finally. – Mitch Nov 8 '15 at 2:15
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Of your 67 answers (plus the others now removed), three have been edited by others:

Word for "term for inhabitant of" — removed "Go and Google it" and added a real reference instead
What word describes the relationship between words like "art" and "artist?" — spelling correction
https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/282913/is-this-correct-do-you-know-what-a-dog-is/282916#282916 — formatting

Of your 35 questions (plus the others now removed), seven have been edited by others:

Why doesn't Buckingham Palace require an article? — removed off-topic material
Some residual effects of the Great Vowel Shift — formatting
How do I insultingly describe an extremely ugly building? — title improved
When did "I could care less" (rather than "I couldn't care less") become popular? — retag
https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/281255/if-you-were-writing-a-play-about-ancient-rome-and-one-of-your-characters-had-to — spelling
"He was neither seer nor prophet" How would you explain the absence of an article? — improved title and edited tags
What verb would you use to describe the sound tires make when they roll on the asphalt? — added context, retagged

I haven't gone through comments to find out any name-calling; please do add examples to your question, or flag where they appear and they will be dealt with.

As a proportion, having 20% of questions edited to correct the formatting or spelling, improve the title and add relevant tags is quite high, but I don't think you're being deliberately targeted. Many users take a great interest in the quality of questions and will edit frequently, so even if the same editor has featured more than once, it doesn't indicate a vendetta.


However, it seems to me — making the cap fit, perhaps — that you are specifically referring to the Buckingham Palace question (the most recent), which I dealt with as a moderator. So I'll address that, since the edit history is public anyway.

In version 2, you added text which included

Why this is not a duplicate question: This is not about the general rules about articles; nor am I asking for instructions on how to use them. [proudly and with a touch of self-complacency]: I already know how. [sternly]: This is a pretty sophisticated question, so please read it carefully and answer thoughtfully. Pavlov has about enough dogs in his kennel. Thunder and lightning.

from which I removed meta information, reducing it to

Why this is not a duplicate question: This is not about the general rules about articles; nor am I asking for instructions on how to use them; I already know how.

This is justified by the policy explained in Help on editing: "Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date" (my emphasis). Nothing I removed changed the question at all.

There was an edit war where you added your text back, along with

Please do not edit my stuff. I must say that editing texts into which this published author has invested some of his time, energy, and thought, is a highly presumptuous practice.

...and I removed that as well, because it was completely irrelevant to the question. I then locked the post for a couple of hours to discourage further adverse changes. That is the only action specific to moderators.

The point is well made in the Help that "if you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you." As far as editing goes, a trusted user has at least 2000 rep points: there are currently 435 such users, including me, and any of them could have made the changes I did. With under 2000 rep, edits are suggested and reviewed by users who do have the privilege.

Questions should be succinct, contain sufficient information to enable them to be answered — including reasons against being a duplicate, if that's relevant — and nothing which is not relevant to the problem at hand. "Proudly and with a touch of complancency" is not relevant; whether you think your question is sophisticated or not is not relevant; asking people to read it and answer carefully is superfluous (that's the whole point of the site); and Pavlov, thunder and lightning have no connection to whether Buckingham Palace requires an article or not.

Keep questions on topic and correctly spelled and tagged, and write clear, complete and corroborated answers, and you should find your purple prose remains unmolested.

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    In the 30 years that I've made my living as a copy editor, I've edited the prose of hundreds of published authors. Most of them understand the collaborative nature of publishing, and few of them imagine that the manuscript they submit is, in practical terms, unimprovable. But some do feel that way. In my experience those authors, as a group, are not better writers than the ones who put the quality of the finished text ahead of their own vanity and who welcome editorial suggestions, challenges, and improvements. – Sven Yargs Nov 5 '15 at 20:07
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    If I may butt in, as one of the users who has edited Ricky's answers/questions the most times (oops!). It has never, ever, been my intention to humiliate Ricky. I can argue, discuss, and disagree strongly with someone, but if they post a good question, and I like it, I'll upvote it. And if I can improve the formatting I'll do it, regardless of whether I like the post or not. What's more, the OP never once objected. When a user has objected to an edit, which I think has only happened twice, I then steer clear. – Mari-Lou A Nov 6 '15 at 12:30
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    About editing, if you please, an unregistered user can suggest an edit as well, which must be peer reviewed. Which is perfectly in line with the license. Recently I have been troubled by what I read. All that negativity towards peer editing; entitlement. Part of the intro paragraph on editing has been quoted here and there but it feels like the first sentence is almost taboo. It's sad. Share and Adapt is the basis of the license. The content is granted for the entire world to use, with attribution, for any purpose, under cc by-sa. Thank you! – user98955 Nov 11 '15 at 11:49
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I'll try to answer each of your points. It's just my opinion of course.

Sometimes, power gets to people's heads.

I'm someone who criticises people's posts. Those I criticise might think it's a power trip. I see it as a way of improving questions and answers and the standard of the site generally. Personally I don't care who I criticise: If they have higher rep than me or are a moderator I'll still criticise if I think there is a good reason. I flagged a moderator's comment in the last hour or so because I thought it was offensive (not to me but to someone else).

Certain members here have been monitoring my questions, answers and comments closely.

On the face of it, that sounds a little paranoid. Of course you can give the usual reply "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me"!

I do wonder though. Maybe these people are critical of everyone and you have only noticed their behaviour with respect to your own answers. Why would they single someone out? Why would they go to the trouble of following you? (you're not Justin Bieber I'm guessing ;-)

Note - That last bit was humour. I hope you saw it as humour.

My crime? I believe that humor a) makes people happy b) helps the learning process.

Ditto but be aware that sense of humour differs from person to person -- a lot!

I've been called names.

That is completely unacceptable and totally out of order. You should flag the remarks as offensive. Check back to see if the moderators have erased them. If not then complain again. I've done this before and usually the offensive remark gets removed.

My questions and answers have been edited for no reason. This is humiliating and boring. Is there a way to guard yourself against trolls with high rep numbers?

That is a problem. I personally think it is bad practice to edit someone else's question or answer. The only valid reason I support would be to help, say, a newbie with formatting or a non-native speaker with grammar or clarity. I prefer to comment and let the person deal with it themselves.

Or should I just leave (I don't mind)?

Believe me there are tougher on-line environments than Stack Exchange. Here are some ways forward if I may make so bold:

  1. Change your own behaviour. Take a reflective approach. Notice what you constantly get criticised for and decide it if it is essential. If not, try to do whatever it is less. [I frequently have to do this myself]

  2. Fight back. This needs a lot of care. Always do it in a way that avoids sinking to the other person's level. Answer them logically and coolly--don't' become them. Don't forget you can roll back unwanted edits.

  3. Grow a tough hide. Sticks and stones. Life's like that. Illegitimi non carborundum ("Don't let the bastards grind you down"). The fact that there are plenty of aphorisms about coping with difficult people tells us that life is just like that. Here is a good anonymous safe place to practise dealing with morons.

  4. Leave [not recommended by me! I like your contributions]. However if it really is too hot in the kitchen then it's best to simply get out of the heat.

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    Though there are as many opinions on 'bad practice' as there are users, the help site says specifically "Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you." The idea is to improve the standard of questions and answers, not to soothe (or hurt) somebody's feelings. – Tim Lymington supports Monica Nov 5 '15 at 14:08
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    I upvoted your answer because I think you've addressed almost every point spot-on – with the exception of editing. As @TimL points out, editing is encouraged on SE. Moreover, if I've made a typo or a minor omission, I'd much rather someone edit my answer and fix it than let it stand for all to see, or leave a comment for all to read. I've said it more than once: If you have the credit, make the edit. (Of course, a few edits are unwarranted, but I'd have to see some specific examples before I'd agree the O.P. has had work edited "for no reason" in a way that is "humiliating.") – J.R. Nov 5 '15 at 18:58
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    And after reading Andrew's answer below, I don't find anything "humiliating" about those edits. Instead, I see an O.P. who is perhaps too attached to his own wit, too quick to rebuke, and not sufficiently interested in learning more about the culture of the site. – J.R. Nov 5 '15 at 19:03
  • Good answer! Thanks for contributing. – michael_timofeev Nov 7 '15 at 0:58
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    @J.R. - Precicely. E.g. this response to comments made an hour earlier.. – anongoodnurse Nov 7 '15 at 16:31

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