There was a strange discussion today which I would like explained. I'm not emotional and I hope I don't appear emotional; I'm just mystified. I posted an answer. It appears it was first. Hank proposed edits which I could not understand, which removed most of the cited uses of the word oblivious, although I was told the edits would not do this. Another user (Hot Licks) claimed that I posted after him and copied his citations, although in fact I posted first and cited my source, Merriam-Webster, one of the most widely cited authorities on the English language. I don't even agree that the proposed edits were an improvement (although Hank has a reputation of 1976 and I have a reputation of 128). Who can explain what it going on?
It appears that Hank added a link to the relevant page of Merriam-Webster Online; if so, that was a significant improvement to your answer because it enables people reading your answer to jump directly to the source of the material you quote. Hank referred to it as improving the formatting, which is a reasonable way to express it. The important thing was adding the link (which as far as I can tell from looking at the edit history wasn't there before).
Hank also removed some examples from the MW entry for oblivious, which you had included in your block quote. I'm not sure why he did, but I imagine he was trying to make your answer more succinct. I would not have done that—partly because I'm long-winded myself, and partly because I think judgments about how much material to include from a quoted definition are properly the poster's to make. But of course you can still make that choice, simply by reinstating the examples that you had originally included.
When an edit makes useful improvements but exceeds what you approve of, you can put it right either by rolling it back to your original version and then reintroducing the useful points from the edit or by accepting the edit and then reediting the post to reintroduce the lost portions of your original wording that you feel were useful and worth preserving.
As for the dispute over who's on first, what's on second, and I don't know's on third, I share medica's disappointment that such a controversy blew up on one of your first efforts to contribute to the site. The problem, I believe, is largely with the popularity of single-word requests in situations like this one.
From the commentary here and the answers and comments on the page in question, it appears that four different participants suggested or were in the process of suggesting oblivious within a few minutes of each other. This happened because (not to be dismissive of anyone's efforts) it is a pretty obvious (and suitable) answer to the poster's question. The reality is that the answer doesn't belong to anyone. Four people saw the question at an opportune time to respond with oblivious as a suggested answer—one (Mark Hubbard) in a comment; two (you and Hot Licks) in formal answers, and one (Hank) in a formal answer that he declined to post because you two got there first.
To the extent that English Language & Usage is a trivia game where whoever presses the button first gets to claim a particular answer, there are liable to be occasional bad feelings when someone answers just ahead of someone else—particularly since answers are never of exactly equal quality. But if everyone takes a step back and doesn't worry about the rep points that are rightfully theirs, I think they will see that there is little reason to get excited about the fact that a fairly obvious answer occurred to multiple people at virtually the same time.
I hope that your future experiences at EL&U are more pleasant, Chaim. Welcome!
It's easy to find out who posted when. You answered at 20:48:54Z; Hot Licks at 20:59:12Z. You answered first, by 10 minutes and a few seconds.** However, you had no links, no MW definition until your first edit at 21:07, 8 minutes after @Hot Licks. So the accusation.
However, this is a busy site and two people are often in the process of writing an answer simultaneously. These two answers were posted closely enough that assuming the worst on the other party's part is possibly unwise. If you see a pattern of such behavior, you can comment, or flag a moderator who might look at the user's pattern of answering.
I often use Merriam Webster and so do many others; it's a popular dictionary and this was probably a coincidence.
The edit actually was an improvement to your answer (in my opinion); it linked your definition and formatted it well, in a manner that is quite common on the site. The removal of several instances of the use of the word oblivious did not detract from your answer; the definition and a good example or two is usually enough.
However, if you feel anything untoward was done to your answer, you can always roll back to the original; that is always your right as the OP. But I would not take this edit personally at all. I'm certain it was kindly meant.
Welcome to the site. This kind of activity is not par for the course as far as I'm aware, though I haven't been following much for a few months. I'm sorry for your bad experience, and hope it doesn't get repeated. The last bit isn't really common behavior.
**Unless there's something about timestamps that I don't know; in that case, I'm out of line here and owe someone an apology big time.
Edited to add: I owe an apology to @Hot Licks, big time. I'm sorry for impugning your character. I was utterly wrong, and I stand corrected. @sumelic is correct.
I want to start by saying I hope none of my comments or actions offended you but I will gladly explain them all, along with all of my edits.
The reason I said Hot Lick's answer "was delivered in a much better way" is because he posted a link to the definition that he included, formatted his answer in a way that is more pleasing to the eyes, allowing for easier reading, and he added an explanation of his opinion on that word.
Your first draft, on the other hand, only included a mention of the word, used in a sentence to explain its usage very minimally, a quote of someone using the word, and two other word suggestions. It didn't provide enough structure and support for people who may be wanting to know more about the word. Some "definitions, proper formatting, and examples", once included in your post, improved the appearance and readability of the post.
As for the edit I suggested after your additional information, the information I deleted was over the top. You clearly copied and pasted the whole word entry and it had 5 different examples of usage; that many are not necessary. I also formatted it slightly, as to provide a better look to viewers.
My sole intention was to make edits to improve your answer and give you the best chance of receiving up-votes, not to cause any distress. Although this may be an opinion and not a rule of thumb, I personally prefer assisting someone who beat me to an answer over posting my own in a better way, even if it would have information the initial answer lacks. That is why I decided to discard my answer, instead of trying to outshine yours.
As everyone else suggested, regardless of my intentions or opinions, the final decision is always YOURS. Even if others agree there is nothing wrong with my edits or suggestions, YOU still have the final say. IF you want to revert back to having 5 example usages, then go for it. If you think my edits diminished the intended effect of your answer, then change it. We don't want you to get the impression that you are being bottle-necked, especially when nothing you posted was officially "wrong".
Here is what I see in the edit history.
20:48 - First draft of Chaim’s answer posted, with no MW link or quotation.
20:59: First draft of Hot Licks’ answer posted, with a link and quotation from MW.
21:07: Second draft of Chaim’s answer posted, with updated content including MW quotation.
As far as I can tell, none of the other edits that were made were relevant (edit: Sven Yargs pointed out that Hank added a MW link to Chaim's answer, which was useful).
Chaim, if I'm reading these correctly, your answer was first, but Hot Licks' answer was the first to link to and quote Merriam-Webster.
The site "be nice" policy requires users to assume good intentions. So it would not be right to accuse Chaim of improper behaviour. However, this assumption of good intentions must also be applied to Hot Licks' comment. It seems to be factually true that Hot Licks provided the MW definition first, and while saying that Chaim copied this might be interpreted as an accusation, I don't think it needs to be. Personally, I've never considered it wrong to edit one's answer to incorporate useful information from other answers. Hot Licks may have assumed that is what Chaim did, and this assumption may have been mistaken. So I think it's quite possible that nobody did anything wrong, and it's just a misunderstanding. That is what I will assume.
Hank's edits changed an introductory sentence before the quotation, and removed some examples. The edit summary may have been misleading: "Formatting for better reading". Chaim, you should keep in mind that you can look at the actual edit as well, in addition to the summary. Hopefully that will help you avoid approving edits that you don't agree with in the future. As medica said, I don't think Hank did anything malicious, and in my opinion removing some of the examples did in fact improve the answer.