I just answered this question:

Boolean formula over 64 Boolean variables X

By the time I had posted my answer, another user had edited the question so as to remove all the mathematical interest.

What is going on here? I feel very demotivated after spending time crafting an answer to a question and then seeing a sensible question trashed.



  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for drawing attention to this case. I've reverted the change, as it did not seem to serve the question best. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2013 at 22:18
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    $\begingroup$ Who approved that edit? Or are we not naming names still? $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2013 at 22:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @TheChaz2.0 The edit was approved by the OP of that question. It's possible that the approval was a genuine mistake on the part of the (new) user presented with the "an edit was suggested to your question" message. Who knows, maybe the user was afraid of getting on someone's wrong side by rejecting the edit. $\endgroup$
    – user100000
    Oct 16, 2013 at 22:44
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    $\begingroup$ It seems that the OP has a history of defacing his/her questions: math.stackexchange.com/revisions/512521/8 $\endgroup$ Oct 17, 2013 at 0:01
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    $\begingroup$ Both vandalized questions were homework from this course. I've contacted the instructor. $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2013 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ user98289 really likes defacing questions: stackoverflow.com/revisions/19471064/11, stackoverflow.com/revisions/19473518/5 $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2013 at 0:52

3 Answers 3


This isn't going to directly address the question (which has been amply answered by others), but I do want to highlight a comment made by Lord_Farin:

In case of defacing edits, it's good to flag the question with attention for a moderator as well.

I'll go a step further and say that whenever you notice very suspicious edits, the moderators should be notified via a flag. We will then investigate to see if anything shady went on, and deal with the user(s) involved as appropriate. Starting meta-threads on the topic is not always the best way to get our attention, and simply reverting the edits may not be enough.


Thanks to everyone for their comments and to Andres Caicedo for undoing the irresponsible edit. I conclude that I was bamboozled into solving a homework question. When I gave an answer the student or students tried to cover up what had happened by conspiring to delete the mathematical content of the question.

Or maybe I should apply Hanlon's Razor and conclude it was all down to incompetence rather than malice.

  • $\begingroup$ I think @user100045's explanation above is more likely. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2013 at 22:47
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    $\begingroup$ It's malice. (See my comment above.) $\endgroup$ Oct 17, 2013 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JoelReyesNoche Good find. Looks like the OP used a different account by mistake this time. $\endgroup$ Oct 17, 2013 at 0:54
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    $\begingroup$ You may be interested in math.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/109761 too. I think that is also a point in favour of your first interpretation. $\endgroup$ Oct 17, 2013 at 11:24

Anyone is able to edit a question or answer; this is common across all stackexchange sites, not just Mathematics. Those with less than 2000 reputation must first have their edit approved.

It's unfortunate when a question is edited to either change the question asked or otherwise make the question lose its value. However, you can suggest an edit to change it back, and explain in the edit description that you are trying to change it back after a previous edit invalidated the question in some way.

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    $\begingroup$ In case of defacing edits, it's good to flag the question with attention for a moderator as well. $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Oct 16, 2013 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ I try not to get a moderator involved if it's just one case; sometimes the user just doesn't know that it's not kosher (like a user removing question content after it's resolved). However, if they continue their behavior, then a moderator may be necessary. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2013 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ This edit was done by someone with 25 reputation points. How do I found out who approved it and why? (I suspect it may be because I was bamboozled into answering a homework question, but that isn't clear from what I see on MSE). $\endgroup$
    – Rob Arthan
    Oct 16, 2013 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ @RobArthan Click on the "edited ..." and go into the revision history. Once there, you should see "suggested ..." next to each edit. Click on it and it should show who approved it. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2013 at 22:13
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    $\begingroup$ To save you time, it looks like the original poster approved all of the edits. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2013 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Dennis Meng: It was approved by user2461496 who has 27 reputation points. So the OP can keep on changing his or her anonymous name? $\endgroup$
    – Rob Arthan
    Oct 16, 2013 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ My understanding is that a user is allowed to change their name, yes. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2013 at 22:18

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