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I just noticed that an user, call them $A$ (for "answer", not their real user name) has edited this problem, apparently with the aim of adding an extra hypothesis (namely that the measure of the derived set of the $r_n$ is $0$) that would "make" the incorrect answer by $A$ "correct". (I had left earlier comments to $A$'s answer pointing out the error.) This is a form of cheating in my opinion and should not be tolerated. I cannot quite understand the motive and if $A$ understands that this should be a big NO! NO!

Hope this could be addressed, sorry if it had already been discussed, didn't see something similar in list of questions already posted, when I typed the title of my question.

Are there any general policy, norms, actions by moderators that could prevent something like this happening. I assume that users should themselves follow an honor code, but when that does not seem to work is there anything that could/should be done? (P.S. I had also posted an answer to that problem, but deleted it, as it was incomplete. There is yet another answer there, by another user.) (P.P.S. I wish there was a tag called cheating.)

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  • $\begingroup$ This is really an issue to be taken up by the moderators. You can flag the question and/or answer and tell the moderators what is going on. The moderators should reverse the change and issue a warning to the answerer. I imagine if the answerer continues the behavior, (s)he will be suspended. $\endgroup$ – Ron Gordon Dec 14 '15 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ @RonGordon I did flag the answer and a moderator almost immediately reversed the change (which in hindsight I could have done myself, but I didn't think of it, besides I feel that a moderator should do that). Thank you $\endgroup$ – Mirko Dec 14 '15 at 1:06
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that's wrong. It is my understanding that editing questions is for clarity only, and that the preference here is to close a question for being "unclear" rather than make the slightest guess as to what the OP meant if the OP fails to clarify. $\endgroup$ – David R. Dec 15 '15 at 22:54
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Focusing on the answerer and the answer rather seems to distract from the main issue.

In general, an edit to a question should not change the question as intended originally. The questioner asked a question they need an answer to. It seems clear that one should not change the question to a different one against the intent (and the interests) of the questioner.

There can however be cases where an edit to a question that changes it in a literal sense, in fact brings the question as written in line with the question as intended. In this case an edit would be alright, provided one has enough information to know this is the case and one pays attention not to ruin other valuable answers in the process.

The first step in addressing invalid edits is to roll them back (and to explain to the editor why there is a problem with their edit). If the editor insists on their edit, flag for moderators explaining the problem.

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  • $\begingroup$ I have edited questions to fix an obvious typo and as you say this should be alright. You also say: It seems clear that one should not change the question to a different one against the intent (and the interests) of the questioner. Apparently this does not seem clear to everyone. Thus my question: What if one does change a question against the intent of the questioner (and as it seems in this case in order to deceive, and to benefit personally)? In a way the problem was quickly resolved by rolling back to the older version so never mind, perhaps I should just have flagged it and moved on. $\endgroup$ – Mirko Dec 14 '15 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ It is not only about fixing obvious typos. Not rarely questioners do not make explicit hypothesis they actually want to assume. On the other point: I had tried to address what one should do in my the last paragraph: "The first step in addressing invalid edits is to roll them back (and to explain to the editor why there is a problem with their edit). If the editor insists on their edit, flag for moderators explaining the problem." If a user would do this repeatedly I would agree there is a problem. But this user seems very new. Maybe they somehow thought this was a reasonable thing to do. $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 14 '15 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ Now, looking at the edit summary they indeed seem to believe (it appears in error; but I did not look at the math in detail) that the condition they impose is essential. $\endgroup$ – quid Dec 14 '15 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ well, ok, so they believed "the problem is wrong" ... so I was too quick to jump on it (I have to admit I did not read the edit summary). I would think the right thing then would be to leave a comment to the OP asking if the extra assumption was omitted (that the derived set is empty). I would think the answerer was a bit over-confident (or perhaps naive) that their solution was the only correct one (requiring the extra assumption). A fine line when exactly to edit, I feel that the answerer was thinking of "get your acceptance and a up" (as seen in a comment), and rushed to edit the problem. $\endgroup$ – Mirko Dec 14 '15 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ It is a whole day after this happened, I tend to believe that is this particular case the edit was not justified (in particular since there were already two comments under the problem, apart from comments under that answer, suggesting that the derived set need not be empty, and there was an answer by another user that did not need an extra assumption), but thanks to your answer and suggestions here, I feel that I should just forget about my concerns and not pursue this case any further. I wish the answerer happy MSE experience and success, I apologize if I wronged them for no reason, thank you $\endgroup$ – Mirko Dec 14 '15 at 19:05

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