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This is an example: https://english.stackexchange.com/a/160154/70861

The answer was edited to add a single space ahead of the first line. Does this serve any purpose?

The main issue, from my point of view, is that frivolous edits pop the questions to the top of the "Top Questions" list, effectively polluting that list with meaningless "noise". There are times when this sort of activity makes the "Top Questions" list nearly useless, driving reviewers away.

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    Once a user has earned the edit privilege (2000 rep), no reputation is given for their edits. Since the user in question has exceeded the rep needed for that privilege, there's no need to call that motive into question. – anongoodnurse Mar 18 '16 at 14:23
  • @Medica though there is still the badge (I haven't checked how close the user is to getting the badge) – curiousdannii Mar 18 '16 at 14:27
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    None of us can tell you. Rather than posting on Meta about things like this, I think it's better to ask the user (as you did), and if you want to notify someone else, flag the post with a note to a moderator explaining the odd pattern of behavior that you've noticed. – herisson Mar 18 '16 at 15:19
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the user in question (me) made a series of mistakes, tried to reverse them and has apologized. Can we forget it? – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Mar 18 '16 at 19:10
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    To get credit toward the editing badges (I think) you have to make changes of at least six characters to the edited question or answer. If so, a one-character edit has no effect on the editor's "number of posts edited" figure. I am strongly inclined to accept ab2's explanation of what happened and why, and to let the issue drop. The most interesting thing to me is that the site may make users jump through hoops of this kind in order to reverse a downvote; I wonder if that might be avoidable/correctable on the software side without much difficulty. – Sven Yargs Mar 19 '16 at 0:23
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    @ab2 Closing the question doesn't delete it - it just stops more answers from being created. Perhaps seek Hot Licks' concurrence as the OP, and ask a mod to delete it altogether. – Lawrence Mar 21 '16 at 14:05
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    @Lawrence Thanks for the suggestion, and the concern it reflected. I'm going to forget the whole thing -- except for the lesson I learned. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Mar 21 '16 at 17:32
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    I don't understand what you mean by polluting the "Top Questions" list. Where is this list located and how do frivolous edits drive reviewers away? – Kit Z. Fox Mar 21 '16 at 19:17
  • @KitZ.Fox - Go to the EL&U main page. What does the screen title say, over on the top left??? – Hot Licks Mar 21 '16 at 19:21
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    @HotLicks OK, so you are talking about the list of active questions. What does that have to do with retaining reviewers? – Kit Z. Fox Mar 21 '16 at 19:28
  • @KitZ.Fox - That list is where people first "meet" EL&U, and where most of us come back, even after we've been around for awhile. If you get to that page, which maxes out at about 50 entries, and 2/3rds of the entries are clearly frivolous edits of 5-year-old questions (a scenario which is not at all uncommon), your interest in reviewing anything diminishes quickly, and you go off to watch YouTube videos instead. – Hot Licks Mar 21 '16 at 19:33
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I'm pretty sure that there is no point, and that this should not be happening.

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    While I agree this is not an edit in any significant way, at times someone wanting to reverse a dowvote can only do so by making a very minor edit. – anongoodnurse Mar 18 '16 at 14:08
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ab2 explained that they edited it in order to reverse a downvote. A questionable move, but it does sometimes serve a purpose.

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    But I saw this action by the same person on at least 5 different answers. – Hot Licks Mar 18 '16 at 12:15
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    I did it. I am sorry. Excuse me. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Mar 18 '16 at 18:15
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    @HotLicks So this same person used the same method to reverse downvotes on 5 different answers. Your question has been answered. – Kit Z. Fox Mar 21 '16 at 13:52
  • @KitZ.Fox - The point of doing this is still unclear. The argument of wanting to avoid the negative points from downvotes done under the influence of "pain medications" is fairly lame, to say the least. Especially when one of the answers modified was one by that author, and he would not have been able to downvote it in the first place. – Hot Licks Mar 21 '16 at 19:03
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    @HotLicks You may consider it a lame answer, but it is still an answer. Maybe there was no point. I don't think pestering the user over it will be constructive, nor do I think it is particularly worrisome that a single user edit-bumped five posts while in a haze. It is certainly not the first time a community member has done something like that. What I do find worrisome is that you won't let it drop and move on. – Kit Z. Fox Mar 21 '16 at 19:15
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I don't think there's any effect at all. Just by highlighting the text, it seems the space is removed from the formatted text anyway. The lines of text in the next section form a conclusive test, assuming meta's formatting is the same as the main site's for leading spaces. A single leading space has no effect, though multiple spaces can change the formatting.


Test: this line was typed with a leading space.

Test: this line was typed with no leading spaces.

                Test: this line was typed with several leading spaces.

At the editor's rep count of 5K+, I don't think editing points are awarded.

Also, the question isn't closed, but editing answers doesn't push questions onto the reopen queue.

Stack exchange has lots of seemingly-undocumented features, so there may be a side-effect we've not considered that the editor was counting on. It could also be as innocent as an accidental mouse-click.

You may have to pose a question to the editor if you want to know :) . Post back here if you find out.

  • It may have been a mistake, maybe the editor had started a more extensive edit, changed his mind, wiped out the "improvements" but left the single space by mistake. Just a thought. – Mari-Lou A Mar 18 '16 at 9:23
  • @Mari-LouA - The same person repeated the same edit on at least 5 answers that I checked. An awful lot of mind changing. – Hot Licks Mar 18 '16 at 12:15
  • @HotLicks ahh, not good then. Not good... frivolous edits. Oh, I've just seen curiousdanni's response. It makes sense now, I wouldn't make such a minor edit myself but ...hey? – Mari-Lou A Mar 18 '16 at 12:22
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    @Mari-LouA - That doesn't explain why he edited one of his own answers this way. – Hot Licks Mar 18 '16 at 12:27
  • The main issue, from my point of view, is that frivolous edits pop the questions to the top of the "Top Questions" list, effectively polluting that list with meaningless "noise". There are times when this sort of activity makes the "Top Questions" list nearly useless, driving reviewers away. – Hot Licks Mar 21 '16 at 19:07
  • @HotLicks Speaking generally now that the cited case is effectively closed: there is a useful function for this feature - to make intended changes to the questions visible. It's similar to the edit-trigger that populates the reopen review queue. These changes may be small but still important. On balance, the ratio of new questions to frivolous edits masks the occasional edit anyway. As a practical measure, you could raise a feature-request to not push the question to the top of Top Questions if the edits don't change the formatted post. – Lawrence Mar 21 '16 at 23:43
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    It might be worthwhile to make such a request. As it is, there are times when a single (presumably) rep-hungry newbie, making trivial edits, accounts for half the entries in the "Top Questions" list. – Hot Licks Mar 21 '16 at 23:47
  • @HotLicks Actually, a single newbie making numerous trivial edits would be justification to flag the moderators rather than to change the programming. – Lawrence Mar 22 '16 at 0:46
  • @Lawrence -- I'm not sure you understand how often this happens. And, besides, why should I have to be "policeman"? I'm not a moderator. – Hot Licks Mar 22 '16 at 0:53
  • @HotLicks Sorry, no offense intended. I had in mind the maxim to never legislate for exceptions; that's what the leeway granted to human judges is for. My reference to moderators was about flagging them - from recent experience, they're very quick to act, though they sometimes all go away for a couple of days at the same time :) . I don't think I've seen more than half a dozen episodes of mass-edits in my time with ELU, which is admittedly not that long. What tends to reduce my interest in the site is the lack of interesting questions (of course :) ), which does happen from time to time. – Lawrence Mar 22 '16 at 1:16

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