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What is the etiquette for extremely minor edits that bump dead threads by no longer active users? A related meta question.

Recently someone has been on a binge of such editing. Most of the edits are things like "deleted two characters in post" or "fixed typo." These were actually pretty good questions that got bumped, but I lose all motivation to try to answer them when I see how old they are and that the user that asked will never see the answer.

I guess it is no big deal, but it is pushing recent questions in the category way down the list and it is annoying to sort through to find which ones are current.

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    $\begingroup$ If the questions are pretty good, they might also be interesting to other people, which seems like a good reason to answer them. $\endgroup$ – Dejan Govc Sep 26 '12 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ This seems relevant: the Recent Questions tab lists the questions in the order they were asked. As opposed to Active Questions which lists them in the order of last edit. $\endgroup$ – user31373 Sep 26 '12 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ We have been here before (except, perhaps, for the bit about "no longer active users"). You might find something in the Related list on the right side of this page. I'm sure I've expressed the opinion (probably several times) that one should limit such bumps to maybe three at any one "session". $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Sep 27 '12 at 1:01
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    $\begingroup$ Sometimes simply asking the user doing the edits to slow down could help. (Or at least pointing him to the meta thread.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 27 '12 at 11:02
  • $\begingroup$ Is this a recurring problem, or a one time problem? $\endgroup$ – Graphth Oct 1 '12 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Graphth It is a one-time problem, and actions have been taken in order to make sure this particular user never does it again. $\endgroup$ – M Turgeon Oct 1 '12 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ There is a badge called Archaeologist, which you can earn by editing 100 posts that have been inactive for 6 months. This could be the reason behind the behavior described here. In that case a modification of the requirements for this badge might be called for. $\endgroup$ – Per Manne Oct 2 '12 at 10:30
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    $\begingroup$ I would say it is a recurring one-time problem. $\endgroup$ – MJD Oct 5 '12 at 17:43
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This was intended as a comment, not an answer. But I was too lazy to divide this into separate comments - since it is too long - and I also think that in this way it is more readable.

Feel free to edit this, if there are some inaccuracies.


I wanted to check for myself whether there are many bumped old question. (For the sake of simplicity, let us say that old means older than 7 days.) I went through 150 recently active questions (as of this moment; timestamp shows 2012-09-26 18:26, of course I've spent some time typing and formatting this text).

I found out - to my surprise - that 8 old questions were bumped because of a new answers: 140384 192049 191538 7695 124130 186506 199767 198435 (The names of the links are numbers of questions, but I've put here links directly to answers, that caused the bump.) Some of them were edited after being bumped by a new answer - but I would not count these questions. (I consider this a natural approach - if some thread was bumped anyway, why not improve it.)


I found 9 questions bumped because of an edit or a retag: 198787 164783 77536 146288 143624 60123 201147. 178999 62203

Of course I might have made a mistake - I don't know of a better way how to do this than to go through questions manually. But anyway 9 questions out of 150 does not seem as a large number to me. (The fact that several old questions have new answers was more surprising to me.)

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  • $\begingroup$ You've completely missed the point. I didn't look at all of them, but I think 8 of those 9 were done by the same person and are all tagged algebraic geometry or arithmetic geometry so that for the tags I look at 8/12 is a pretty high number. In fact, all but 1 of the questions that were highlighted for me on the front page were from this, so it actually had bumped newer questions completely off the front page. $\endgroup$ – Matt Sep 27 '12 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Matt I apologize if my post made the impression that I wanted to dismiss your complaint as irrelevant. The only intention of the above post was to somehow "map" (and quantify) the edits you were complaining about. (I've explicitly stated that it's not an answer, but a comment which would be too long.) Some time ago I've posted a question with the intention to find out how much bumping can be tolerated. (I consider editing and retagging useful but, of course, it must not be excessive.) (cont...) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 27 '12 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ (...cont) Obviously in that thread we did not think about the situation that many edits will be concentrated in a single tag - which seems to be your main concern here. There are some situations where this cannot be avoided. When we were removing algebra tag, most of the questions necessarily ended up tagged as abstract-algebra or algebra-precalculus. But the situation which you describe seems to be of a different nature. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 27 '12 at 10:58

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