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Hey folks and thanks for allowing me to contribute occasionally to this community!

I have noticed recently that WPSE seems much pickier on accepting "edit" suggestions than other SE communities, and I wanted to be sure I understood the guidelines (and if/why they differ here).

In particular, user @fuxia who is the main moderator here, seems to reject the majority of my suggestions with the following reason:

This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability.

Because moderators can apparently bypass the "two users to approve edits" guideline, and because @fuxia is so active here, it means that the majority of editing decisions are hers alone; this approach does not seem to be very welcoming to users who are willing to donate their time to help improve this community (the concept of collaboration disappears).

According to a 2012 thread, I seem to be following @fuxia's stated guidelines (I think?). That thread explicitly welcomes suggestions, esp. to grammar, esp. from native English speakers.

However, within that thread @fuxia also links to a (not very popular) answer on META frowning on minor edits -- but the most popular answer in that thread states that minor edits should always be accepted, as long as they improve the question, etc.

So, what is going on here? Does WPSE follow it's own unique rules? Nearly all my edits are accepted by other SE communities, while nearly all are rejected by WPSE. Cheers!

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    Looking at the 5 most recent edits in your link above they all appear to be title edits. I think titles should be short and to the point. Whenever we add in additional descriptors they can be seen as "fluff" or unnecessary. The content on the other-hand should be as descriptive as it needs to be. Looking at This edit in particular. Does adding in "How to fix" make the question easier to understand the users intentions? I think by them asking a question they're already looking for a "fix" so I would consider this edit "fluff". – Howdy_McGee Mod Oct 21 '20 at 14:24
  • Thanks for the feedback, I guess I'm looking at it from a usability/SEO standpoint. If a question can be mildly improved with a "How to..." or even just a question mark, it seems like a good idea (and in line with general SE sentiment i.e. "does it improve the content even a little?"). I do think it would be cool if SE made default title character width the same as major search engines so that editors can optimize the title word length better, though! – Jesse Nickles Oct 21 '20 at 21:33
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I want to start by thanking you for trying to improve the site :) An important part of a healthy stack is good quality questions and answers!

Moving on to edit approvals and rejections though, I think it's helpful to remember that we're all unpaid volunteers making a best effort case. So we should always keep that in mind, and raise subjects we're unsure of here.

Having said that, this is a grey area, and one that doesn't have hard, well defined rules, but guidelines and conventions. The answer you linked to isn't the rule, it's just someones opinion that was popularly upvoted.

So I don't think it's fair to say that WPSE has an edits rule and it differs from stack exchange. Your concerns appear to be directed entirely at Fuxia though, so I can only speak in the general sense.

Having reviewed the edits myself, she has approved some, and the edits she rejected didn't materially change the questions or answers other than to make minor rewordings that might have flowed better to some, and added tags. Thus it could be interpreted in the strictest sense that they didn't add a demonstrable improvement that enabled greater understanding. But that is my interpretation, I cannot speak on behalf of Fuxia.

I think the best approach is to ask how to improve your edits here, and gain a greater understanding of why they were rejected. This gives you both opportunities to share knowledge, and self reflect. I'd like to give you both the benefit of the doubt. Personally, I think the area that needs the most attention for edits are new users posts who might not understand the formatting, and users who don't speak english as a first language. Usually small changes can make big improvements to understanding these questions.


As an aside, it can be reassuring when close voting and handling edits to know that others have agreed with you when a post gets closed or an edit gets approved/rejected, but once I got elected to the moderator position by the community that went away

While it's a sign that I was trusted enough to make that judgement on my own, I and other moderators do refrain from wielding these votes as much as we did prior so that the community can self moderate. This applies to the review queues and all they hold. Having said that, if the edit review queue grows long today that might need a moderator to spend some time if nobody else has had the opportunity, so if you're prolific you're likely to see familiar names and faces, but don't take that too personally

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First, thank you for trying to help! :) Second, please don't take these rejections personally. Looking through the last rejected edits, I see that none of these suggestion made the post even a little bit easier to read or to understand. In addition, you have a tendency to add irrelevant tags: php and functions for example are old, meaningless tags, and menus is reserved for the "Nav Menu" feature introduced in WP 3, it should not be used for admin bar problems.

It was only when you suggested many of these edits in a row that I noticed a pattern and gave you a short time-out.

I'm fully aware of the problems the binding moderator vote has in the review queues, and I'm not happy about it. On the other hand Suggested Edits, Low Quality and Reopen Votes are the three queues that I didn't let pile up for the last ten years, because time is often an important factor here. For example an unresolved suggested edit is blocking other edits that might be more useful.

And to answer your question finally: No, our site doesn't follow special rules, just common sense. :)

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    I guess I'm confused -- you say you're aware of the danger with a sole moderator vetoing all edits, but that is how you spend much of your time here. You also say many tags are old and meaningless, then why do they exist? Your personal "common sense" is not necessarily community "common sense" as seen by your disagreement with the top answer in the linked thread above. Ultimately, if you want to improve collaboration here, I suggest you hold to the 2/3 rule whenever possible, and reserve unilateral decisions for more critical issues, etc. Anyway, cheers and great work! – Jesse Nickles Oct 21 '20 at 21:29
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    @JesseNickles It's not so much a "danger", more a legitimization issue. The sad fact is that we don't have enough high rep users who are spending time in the review queues. I made that experiment in the past and waited for others to do the work – didn't happen. :/ – fuxia Mod Oct 21 '20 at 21:36
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    It's also worth noting that there is no system in place to permanently delete tags. Anybody with enough reputation can add new tags however relevant or irrelevant they may be. – Howdy_McGee Mod Oct 21 '20 at 22:18
  • That's why there's still tags such as WooCommerce for offtopic subjects, delete them and users just recreate them – Tom J Nowell Mod Oct 22 '20 at 20:38
  • @TomJNowell Recreating is easily prevented (I'm patroling the new tags every day), but especially the woocommerce tag is used to allow those question to be filtered out for every user. – fuxia Mod Oct 23 '20 at 4:35
  • I can tell you exactly why WPSE has too few users with high enough rep. That being the culture of this SE. Higher rep users have a tendency to piss all over newer users. I've found the community to be largely toxic, insular, and wildly inconsistent. Things that are welcomed in all other SEs are rejected here. I suspect that WPSE has entered into to a self-perpetuating downward spiral. – Matthew Brown aka Lord Matt Dec 14 '20 at 16:48
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Since several days have passed and the top moderators involved have responded already, I will follow up here with my own answer to this question...

Yes, WPSE follows different guidelines from other SE communities:

  • Most editing decisions are made unilaterally by @fuxia (unlike other SE communities that follow a 2/3 rule which means if 2 out of 3 reviewers agree with the edit, it will be approved)
  • Moderator @fuxia will actively "block" users who suggest edits that she doesn't agree with, an apparent abuse of SE moderation tools
  • Moderator @fuxia also strongly believes that "minor" edits should not be accepted, as per her previous linking to Jeff Atwood's opinion from 2011:

I completely agree -- reject them, with extreme prejudice. This is why we limit edit suggestions to 6 characters; there are still some hacky ways of getting around that. Sam was against making this stricter, but I am going to overrule him on this and implement more strict checking myself; I would rather be too strict and reject some edits than have to deal with a continal stream of character-twiddling edit suggesting users.

However, Jeff seemed to be referring to edits that are less than 6 characters of modification, such as simply capitalizing a single letter of a word, etc. This is different from @fuxia opinions on this page, e.g. that even extensive improvements to question titles (etc) do not improve comprehension, and should be rejected immediately without proceeding to the 2/3 reviewers rule...

Such opinions contradict the more popular opinion, quoted below:

Edits should be accepted if they are correct or helpful, and rejected if they are incorrect or spam. The length of the edit is irrelevant. Who cares if the edit is tiny or major as long as it's improving the quality of the site's content? The reviewer's time has already been used in checking the edit, so nothing is lost in accepting it. The How to Edit box next to the edit window encourages exactly these kinds of changes, so it would be pretty hypocritical and counterproductive to reject them...

In affect this SE community is actively discouraging contributions from new users, and is also preventing reputation from being gained by new users, since @fuxia controls nearly all moderation activity, and because she continues to reject most suggestions being made by other users, while accumulating thousands of reputation "points" on SE with her own moderation activity.

Accordingly, I would suggest WPSE reconsider how this situation risks turning the community into yet another online "fiefdom" of over-moderation instead of a collaborative forum. I'm no fan of "government by committee" but when 1 person is rejecting the majority of edit suggestions on a daily basis, and then "blocking" users (like me) who make suggestions that she doesn't agree with, it certainly appears to be harming the purpose and spirit of the Stack Exchange platform (esp. noting the popularity of the WordPress SE community).

Cheers, and thanks for listening --

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    At first glance fuxia has unilaterally approved more of your edits than she has rejected though hasn't she? (including a few overruling rejections from other users, e,g. this one from me). – Rup Oct 25 '20 at 12:24
  • I know it's harder to gain rep around here than it is on StackOverflow, say - where you'll usually get at least two upvotes and a tick for a helpful answer to a tricky question, but here you're often lucky to even get the tick - but there are probably better ways to do it than suggested edits. – Rup Oct 25 '20 at 12:29
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    This reads as a personal attack on a moderator, without any credible justification. – Chenmunka Oct 25 '20 at 13:42
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    Jesse, what do you mean by block? The only reference to blocking made by anybody other than you is Fuxia saying that your edits prevent other people from making edits, nobody has blocked you from making future edits. You also shouldn't be using edits as a mechanism to gain reputation, edits are there to improve the site. The best way to gain reputation is and always will be to leave good quality answers that are upvoted. – Tom J Nowell Mod Oct 25 '20 at 17:05
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    And remember, stack exchange is not a discussion forum, it's a questions and answers site – Tom J Nowell Mod Oct 25 '20 at 17:06
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    @Tom A temporary ban, by the sound of it: Fuxia said 'a short time-out' – Rup Oct 25 '20 at 17:16
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    time outs and bans like that are automated, and clear on their own, Fuxia could not have applied it – Tom J Nowell Mod Oct 25 '20 at 17:29
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    @fuxia literally admitted on this page to banning me from editing because she did not agree with my edit suggestions. Call it temporary, call it whatever, the point is that a moderator mass-rejected my edits and locked me out of participating when none of my suggestions broke the SE rules. And this thread further proves that her opinions are in extreme contrast with most SE communities, and that WPSE is synonymous with Fuxia because she runs the show here. – Jesse Nickles Oct 25 '20 at 17:59
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    I guess she meant she triggered the ban by rejecting your edits then. FWIW I don't think the standard for edits here is any different to Stack Overflow, whatever meta says, although it's been a while since I reviewed suggested edits there. Please do stick around and help again when the ban runs out: I am keen on questions having good titles, but maybe focus on fixing the bad ones rather than tweaking the OK ones. Thanks! – Rup Oct 25 '20 at 23:42
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    I did trigger the time-out manually, after I saw you didn't learn from the prior rejections. We could also have discussed this in the chat and solve it there within minutes. – fuxia Mod Oct 26 '20 at 12:47
  • Thanks for confirming @fuxia that is what I suspected. I do think keeping these discussions public is more beneficial to improving SE (and I never knew about the chat feature, either). While I give you major props for your countless hours of dedication, it is apparent that you think your personal opinions matter more than the guidelines outlined by the Stack Exchange platform at times. Again, WPSE is the only community where I've noticed such a stark contrast with moderation... – Jesse Nickles Oct 26 '20 at 13:15

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