We have this answer and a proposed edit https://workplace.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/72814

I made this edit to remove offensive characterization of people who take Software Freedom seriously (the question author names them "zealots"), without changing the overall meaning of the answer.
The edit was rejected, and I can see that the only user who reviewed the edit was the question author. The reason given is:

This edit deviates from the original intent of the post

I see 2 problems here:

  1. The edit doesn't actually deviate from the original intent of the post, unless the whole point of the answer is to offend a group of people (which is not a valid goal on this site, if I understand it correctly);
  2. The fact that an edit can be declined by 1 person.

I don't think the answer in its current form is OK; if something is wrong with the proposed edit, something else has to be done to it.

  • 2
    ... no it dosn't. you have misread the OP post entirely. It doesn't call people who take software freedom seriously "zealots". It says that people who are software freedom zealots might feel differently - ie people who take software freedom seriously and are zealous in this endeavour.
    – bharal
    Jul 4 '18 at 8:49
  • Maybe don't push your worldview onto others and you won't have this problem. IMO, copyleft "freedom" is not freedom, but restriction. BSD/MIT are truly "free" license IMO. Not everyone agrees with me. But I don't have the right to go edit answers that mention GPL to push that opinion. Feb 16 '19 at 1:38

As others have said, the author of a post can single-handedly reject an edit.

That doesn't mean posts can't be edited. If you feel that a post does not fit site guidelines, whether Be Nice or Back It Up or something else, then in addition to downvoting you can also flag appropriately -- rude/abusive if it crosses that line or NAA if it doesn't meet answer reuqirements. If enough community members agree with you, the post will be deleted.

An author can reject an edit that he doesn't like, but there might be consequences. The community is not obligated to accept the post if y'all feel it's bad enough that it needs to go if it can't be edited.


This is in accordance with StackExchange rules on suggested edits:

The owner of a post or a moderator may cast a binding vote to accept or reject any modification of their post.

If the post owner declined the edit suggestion, it means he wants to keep his answer the way he has written it. You have the option of leaving a comment or downvoting the answer if you think the answer is not OK.

If you do not agree with the StackExchange rules, you can raise it on the main meta.


Regarding your 2 problems:

  1. The edit doesn't actually deviate from the original intent of the post, unless the whole point of the answer is to offend a group of people (which is not a valid goal on this site, if I understand it correctly);

It deviates from the author's style and intent. If that user decided to use such word it was for a reason. Zealot is not a curse word, whatsoever, and probably was used here to make emphasis on the relevance of that part of the answer.

From the Review Queue we got these options when handling edit suggestions, which suggests that the original goal of the poster should be preserved:

enter image description here

Perhaps you don't like that word to much, but as of now it seems that other 83 users don't bother about that single word on such highly voted answer. Editing answers I think can be more delicate than editing questions, as we can see from this situation.

  1. The fact that an edit can be declined by 1 person.

A post author's can instantly accept/reject any edits proposed. It is a feature, and I think that it makes sense. The author should have complete freedom to delete, edit, or modify their posts, so it makes sense that the author can instantly accept/reject such change.

  • From style — yes, absolutely. But style is not the intent. Jun 8 '18 at 16:21
  • @SargeBorsch I think I wrote "Style and intent"... the author wanted to stress that part by using that word. Sometimes, intent can be expressed by style.
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Jun 8 '18 at 16:23
  • Also, it's totally possible to curse and belittle a large group of people without using even a single dedicated cursing word. Jun 8 '18 at 16:23
  • @SargeBorsch TWP is a full contact sport. If you look at some of my answers, or especially Kilisi's answers, you'll find them to be full of style that expresses our opinions clearly. Someone once asked if they should put an aimbot on their resume. I said if I ever saw an aimbot on a resume, I'd burn the resume and use the ashes to fertilize the local poison ivy. Jun 8 '18 at 16:26
  • @Crossedtheriverstyx and that is not even offensive. It doesn't even come close to ad hominem. I actually think your answer is completely fine. (regardless of whether I would do the same or not) Jun 8 '18 at 16:27
  • @SargeBorsch added a pic from the Review Process that clearly indicates one should reject those edits that deviate from the author's intent and goals.
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Jun 8 '18 at 16:28
  • @DarkCygnus I saw it (of course; I can read). I just thought that deliberately offending people is not a valid goal. Jun 8 '18 at 16:29
  • 2
    @SargeBorsch yes, deliberately offending people should not be anyone's goal. I think that for you this word may appear strong, but for others may not. Philip gave a great insight on his answer, and the zealot word although perhaps "strong" was given to emphasize the importance of that situation, and the fact that us IT folks should adapt to a world that is not yet completely tolerant on LaTex and other modern tools... if you just read that word and not the rest of that valuable answer then I urge you to read it again, and not to make such a molehill of a single non-curse word.
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Jun 8 '18 at 16:33
  • @DarkCygnus LaTeX is not really that modern. And I have read the whole answer and while I see the point, it's really unnecessarily offensive IMO. (But I got, after a while, that this should be treated with flags and not edits) Jun 8 '18 at 16:35
  • 2
    @SargeBorsch seems that you again just read the "modern" word of my long comment :/ ... I agree that it's not the nicest word, but again this was a sound advise and that word makes the reader consider it more strongly (sometimes we need a little shake to get a message, and this one is IMO not unfriendly). If you have problems you can flag the post, or DV it, or why not ping the author asking to reconsider the use of such word? If you wish to further discuss this feel free to ping me in chat
    – DarkCygnus Mod
    Jun 8 '18 at 16:38
  • @DarkCygnus I pinged the author actually. Then the comments were simply deleted. I have read your comment in full, sorry if that's not apparent, but I answered to those parts for which I have something to say. Jun 8 '18 at 16:39
  • 3
    @Sarge The first set of comments were moved because of the excessive arguments. Further argumentative comments were deleted. Comments should be only used to seek clarification or suggest improvement, not for arguments. Your now deleted comment complaining about loaded words was itself quite confrontational using loaded words like "unnecessary bloated software" and "people ... who understand the values of freedom". Politely asking the OP to make changes would have probably been a better strategy than passive aggressively suggesting edits after arguing with the OP in the comments.
    – Masked Man
    Jun 9 '18 at 16:53

The author is the final authority, this is to protect the post from deliberate twisting of intent, and in some cases, outright vandalism.

If you don't like a particular answer, provide your own, but do not alter an answer more to your liking. "Improving an answer" does not mean "Make it fit my worldview"

  • It's not about worldview, the answer in its current form is outright offensive. And if you take a look at the (moved) comments, it's not only me who noticed this. Jun 8 '18 at 16:18
  • 5
    If you don't like the tone of a post, flag it for a moderator. Edits are not for tone policing Jun 8 '18 at 16:19
  • @SargeBorsch I can see where your coming from, but you should flag the post in this case IMO.
    – Neo
    Jun 8 '18 at 16:20
  • @Neo well that's what I did in the end. Jun 8 '18 at 16:21

The answer author's disagreement is now enough to reject an edit?

No, it was ALWAYS enough, it's not something new.

  • 2
    Makes perfect sense to me that I should have the right to decide both content and style of anything that has my name as the author. If an edit remains that I do not approve of, then I am no longer the author.
    – WGroleau
    Jun 9 '18 at 21:14
  • 4
    @WGroleau same, if I wrote zealot, then I meant 'zealot' not fan or anything else.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Jun 10 '18 at 4:10

So did OP actually change the post of someone else to remove an "offensive" word or was it just a suggestion (in a post or comment)?

If you did the first, that should not even be possible in my opinion. If the second, it should indeed be pending approval of the original author and you shouldn't have a right to forcefully induce a change to a post without the authors blessing.

If the post somehow violates the forum terms, then the poster should be alerted by a mod and given a chance to adapt accordingly.

I find arbitrary deletion of posts without proper reasoning / feedback and warning very aggravating and bordering on tyranny. But hey, such is the relationship on many boards between mods/sysops and the users (which funny enough are the ones keeping a board alive)...

p.s. I've been on both sides of this, so I speak from experience (;

  • why the downvotes? Jun 9 '18 at 23:31
  • 4
    See why can people edit my posts?. Editing is part of the model. Jun 10 '18 at 4:20
  • 1
    fair enough, I'm new to the site and begin to understand this is not a forum. Jun 10 '18 at 6:15
  • 2
    @DigitalBlade969 Since you say you are new, I'd also recommend taking a look at our tour and help center. Hopefully they can help explain a little better how things work around here. Welcome!
    – David K
    Jun 11 '18 at 12:00

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