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I suggested an edit to this question, in order to remove irrelevant commentary, like the intro:

I have been out of school for a long time an have an assignment that I am finding hard to grasp, I would appreciate some help understanding the theory.

and

Thanks, I hope this is clear as I said it has been a long time.

along with breaking a sentence to another paragraph for better readability, and correcting a minor grammatical error.

My suggested edit was rejected; the reviewer(s) kept some of my improvements, but also kept the commentary in place, rejecting the edit as a whole.

Although I am fairly new here, I have quite a long experience in several other SE sites, and I know that such commentary has no place in SE questions and editing it out is standard procedure. If this is the case here as well (as I strongly suspect), why my edit was rejected? Or am I missing something?

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    $\begingroup$ Unclear. Both meta comments should be partially removed, though you should be careful about removing information that gives context. The second comment definitely should go. In the first, you could think about not removing the fact the question comes from an assignment. $\endgroup$
    – Pedro Tamaroff Mod
    Jan 4 at 23:04
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    $\begingroup$ In this case, the best course of action seems to improve the edit. $\endgroup$
    – Pedro Tamaroff Mod
    Jan 4 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ @PedroTamaroff thanks, but I am not following. Why "partially"? I saw your edit - what exactly in "I have been out of school for a long time and have an assignment that I am finding hard to grasp. I would appreciate some help understanding the theory" gives useful context here regarding the question? $\endgroup$
    – desertnaut
    Jan 4 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ I do agree with you it is a comment that can mostly go. Some people appreciate knowing when questions come from assignments (in particular if there is a book to reference, say, which answerers can consult). But I don't see any harm in the comment going away or being reworded to be more useful. $\endgroup$
    – Pedro Tamaroff Mod
    Jan 4 at 23:12
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    $\begingroup$ @PedroTamaroff evidently, there is nothing of the sorts here; adding the term "asignment" does not offer any actual context. And you chose to edit, and still leave there clutter, like "I am finding hard to grasp. I would appreciate some help understanding the theory". Sorry, still not following :( I bumped upon the question ~ 8 years after it was posted, and I cannot imagine anyone appreciating knowing that it came from some unspecified assignment, 8 years ago, or a mod bothering to edit and still leave (other) clutter there... $\endgroup$
    – desertnaut
    Jan 4 at 23:15
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    $\begingroup$ In the context of math.stackexchange, adding the term "assignment" most assuredly does add context. We have fought bitter wars about this. $\endgroup$ Jan 4 at 23:59
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    $\begingroup$ At best you wasted your time. At worst you bumped the 8 year old Question to make a point about how you don't see as context that the problem came from "an assignment" and that the poster has "been out of school for a long time." If you thought more context was appropriate, you could have left a Comment to that effect. Between your efforts and Pedro's the Question currently lacks anything in the way of context. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Jan 5 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ @hardmath I kindly suggest you entertain the possibility that I only saw irrelevant meta-commentary, without anything special in the term "assignment" itself. Re "If you thought more context was appropriate", I again do not follow - I did not imply anything of the sort. For me, the post now is as it should be in the first place - no clutter, no distractions. $\endgroup$
    – desertnaut
    Jan 5 at 0:27
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    $\begingroup$ For me the issue is removing context vs. getting users to provide it. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Jan 5 at 1:35
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    $\begingroup$ Newcomers are not expected to know the subtleties of math.stackexchange. Even those of us who have been here ten years and longer are occasionally caught short. You asked whether you were missing something, so I told you what you were missing. I didn't say it was your fault. Now: do you want to argue about the word assignment in isolation, or do you want to know more generally what's expected of a good question on math.stackexchange? I think the latter is the better idea, so I direct you to math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9959/… $\endgroup$ Jan 5 at 2:54
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    $\begingroup$ If there are two ways to answer a question, a brilliant way that makes everything crystal clear but requires access to deep results in algebraic geometry, stochastic differential equations, and homotopy type theory, and an uninspiring calculational slog that requires nothing beyond adding fractions, then it really helps to know the background of the person posting the question, if you want to optimize the usefulness of your answer. Nothing weird there. Not in the least. $\endgroup$ Jan 5 at 3:18
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    $\begingroup$ @desertnaut You have been a member of the site for two days. Perhaps it is prudent to take a moment and explore the site's dynamics and maybe unexpected idiosyncrasies before engaging in long back-and-forths that are not leading us anywhere but to a "does not, does too" situation. :/ $\endgroup$
    – Pedro Tamaroff Mod
    Jan 5 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ @PedroTamaroff indeed (I can count), but arguably ~ 7 years in 4 other SE sites make me not a complete stranger; and, as it turns out, I had suggested an edit which was adopted after having been rejected, which the post was specifically about. Puzzled by your tone here, from where I am standing this is just an informal, exploratory exchange (as you seem to suggest), and no one is obliged to participate if they feel they are just wasting their time. Should you suggest I should follow a "shut up and listen to the old boys" attitude, kindly say so explicitly :/ $\endgroup$
    – desertnaut
    Jan 5 at 15:59
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    $\begingroup$ I think that every part of the first sentence (and not just the bit about it being an assignment) adds to the question in a meaningful way. Asking for help "understanding the theory" is telling you what kind of question they are after, while teaching people who have been "out of school for a long time" is very different to teaching someone who has been in school continuously (e.g. age, forgotten knowledge, and other things like nervousness), and so also tells you the kind of answer they are after. $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Jan 5 at 17:26
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If this is the case here as well (as I strongly suspect), why my edit was rejected? Or am I missing something?

Unclear. Both meta comments should be partially removed, though you should be careful about removing information that gives context. The second comment definitely should go. In the first, you could think about not removing the fact the question comes from an assignment. The edit should not have been rejected, but rather improved. Approving the edit would not have done too much harm, either, since the question is quite old and inactive.

Another user rightly pointed to these guidelines on making or suggesting good edits. The following issues do pop up regarding the edit:

  1. Consider the age of the post: in this case, it was 8 years old.
  2. Don't just remove noise.

Later, there was some discussion in the comments regarding leaving the fact the question comes from an assignment (emphasis mine).

...nothing unexpected, except that "Indicate your own background [so that we can know the audience]", which sounds to me really weird, and seemingly contrary to what I think I have understood as a general SE rule answering questions for ~7 years in at least 4 different SE sites (namely that a question must have a value on its own, regardless from the specifics of the OPs).

The site receives many questions from wildly different backgrounds every day: students in high school, undergraduates, MSc , PhDs, and sometimes working mathematicians in early or even senior positions (although this latter two situations happen much more often in MathOverflow). This may be clear from the kind of question asked, but not always.

Moreover, there are non-trivial overlappings when it comes to these levels, in the sense that one may be studying say manifolds but still be unfamiliar with vector bundles, or de Rham cohomology, or Chern classes, etc, and now only basic definitions. Many questions admit simple answers understandable by beginners, or quick but complicated answers that require maybe some further training.

Thus, knowing the background of the OP is usually quite essential when producing an answer, and it is common for users to ask the OP what their background is, and what possible tools they have available. At the same time, producing answers that solve the question for the OP, using reasonable toolsets, is allowed and even encouraged, as it can help people different from the OP.

In any case, the post here was for a very specific question, and I have yet to see an argument why the mere presence of the term "assignment" provides any real context.

Questions come from people that are doing mathematics as a hobby, self-learning from a book, learning from a course, writing a more-or-less complex assignment for an upper level course, etc. In particular, questions coming from an assignment tend to be solved by certain fixed toolsets given by lecturers (unfortunately, this is not great, but that is another discussion). Depending on the subject, the toolsets may be narrower or wider, and it is useful to know at what level the OP is learning it.

Saying that the problem comes from an assignment only, however, is not really good enough, but is good for more experienced users to ask for further detail: what course, what book is being used, at what level is the course being taught. Similarly, if one mentions certain issue but omits it comes from a book or from lectures notes, or has an issue with results but omits the original paper, this will usually be frowned upon.

Many users in the site are experienced lecturers and/or researchers at various institutions, that have written books and notes themselves at the undergraduate and graduate level, and thus are able to appreciate the subtleties that appear when providing answers to such questions. In fact, a large portion of users tend to avoid answering posts that lack such context, and we have included it in our guidelines.

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