A question posted to math.s.e. said $$ X ~ \operatorname{Poi}(\lambda) $$ and that was coded as X ~ \operatorname{Poi}(\lambda).

It is obvious that the poster intended it to say $$ X\sim\operatorname{Poi}(\lambda) $$ since that is the standard notation, but didn't know how to write the MathJax code for that. So I edited it to correct that. Then the moderators wrote to me:

We recently asked you not to make edits which serve only to change the style of a post, and which do not offer significant improvement. You have continued to make such edits, e.g.

. . . and they cited the particular case above. And two others, each of which corrected a typesetting mistake, although the fact that those other two were mistakes was probably not obvious to people who are as callous about such things as mathematicians often are. (One of them changed something like $\displaystyle\iiint fdxdydz$ to $\displaystyle\iiint f\,dx\,dy\,dz,$ and that's not very subtle, to say the least, but it seems they regarded it as not a significant improvement. And apparently thought everyone would realize that that is the state of their own standards in such matters.) Simultaneously they suspended me for a week, saying I had disregarded their earlier message.

But the fact is that after getting their earlier message, each time I edited, I was quite careful to ascertain that the edit did something that is articulably identifiable as a correction of an error.

I heeded and complied with their request, but they could not understand that, even after looking at the before-and-after versions of the things I edited. They could have acted in accordance with their explicitly stated goal of "amicably resolv[ing] issues in a constructive way through direct communication" by further clarifying that they demand adherence to low standards in such things.

For some years I have done large numbers of edits of these kinds and users often thank me for telling them something about MathJax and LaTeX or spelling or grammar that they didn't know, and I don't recall that any such user has ever complained. (As far as grammar goes, many who are not native speakers of English post things like "Does this has...?" rather than "Does this have...?", and sometimes I have corrected things like that.)

Circumstantial evidence suggests the moderators singled me out because the number of my contributions is large. But they have not said they will not suspend others guilty of correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling, or MathJax typesetting, so be aware.

proposed software feature:

The Community Managers said that postings being moved to the list of top postings by getting edited may be the reason this is considered problematic. I suggested a software feature: let the person who edits a posting suppress that if the edit does not warrant moving a posting to the top of the list. They responded by saying that cannot be automated, and I answered that by saying I was not proposing automation; rather I proposed letting the user make that judgment.



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