Today I have seen that some low-rep. user has been suggesting edits to many posts. Generally, this is a good thing. However many of these posts were old (at least a month old), and often downvoted. The changes themselves were not always significant.

Since the review page does not tell you whether another user has reviewed and approved/rejected this, and most people would usually approve a reasonable grammatical/LaTeX edit (even without checking timestamps), many of the edits went through.

When something like that happens, and I feel reluctant to approve the edits, but I also feel that the user is acting badly, what sort of action should I take?

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    $\begingroup$ You should open a thread on meta, asking for advice. Oh, wait.... $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 22 '12 at 1:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: I once played the game of wait with a wall and won. I can wait... :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 22 '12 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ I think I know the user you are writing about. I've left a comment on one recent edit, asking said user to slow down, keep it to maybe three edits a day. But I think direct communication from a moderator may be in order. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 22 '12 at 6:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: I strongly agree with that. As a matter of fact the first thing I did after posting this thread was to flag it with the user details, to communicate to the moderators the case which brought this issue up. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 22 '12 at 6:09
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    $\begingroup$ If they continue, they will soon reach 1000 rep and need to find another avenue to get reputation. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Nov 22 '12 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ @robjohn: I thought that you need a 3,000 rep threshold for that. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 22 '12 at 8:50
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    $\begingroup$ One can only gain 1000 reputation from suggested edits. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Nov 22 '12 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ @robjohn: Oh. Well, either way this is still something to be addressed when done on such a short timespan. :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 22 '12 at 9:00
  • $\begingroup$ As with the last time this happened, empirically the most effective response is to leave a comment politely asking the user to take it easy. @Gerry, perhaps you should turn your comment into an answer. $\endgroup$ – user856 Nov 22 '12 at 10:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul, I made two comments in this thread --- but I think I know which one you mean. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 22 '12 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Will: I disagree. The age of the post is a factor when weighing in the amount of changes. Just changing one letter is not a good enough reason to bump a two years old post. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 22 '12 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Gerry: ...and that is why I sometimes hate talking with mathematicians! :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 22 '12 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf: While you say the age of the post should be a factor, it seems the community disagreed when you asked about it on meta. For what it's worth, I agree with your position, but it doesn't seem to be the consensus. $\endgroup$ – user856 Nov 23 '12 at 2:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul: I completely forgot about that... :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 23 '12 at 2:29
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I was tempted to write an answer to this, just because of how much I disagree with the importance you give to the age of a post. And saying that a post is old if it is older than a month makes this position even more extreme. I occasionally decide to do the required reading of some background material to be "entitled" to write an answer to an interesting question (so admittedly this situation is more typical for philosophy than for math), and such reading can easily exceed a month. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Klimpel Nov 25 '12 at 11:27

At Rahul's suggestion, comment becomes answer:

I left a comment on one recent edit, asking the user to slow down, maybe keep it to three edits a day. The user has responded favorably so, one hopes, problem solved.


I think you should forget about the age of the posts, and focus on the content of the edits. If the edits themselves were good, then you should approve them, otherwise you should not. If someone has the time to run through old posts to edit them, all the more power to them. Then they deserve those 2 measly rep points, because they improve the site, do they not? I've made a couple of recent edits on old posts myself, but I don't look for them. Instead, I found those posts googling for an answer to a question I had, and after noticing LaTeX rendering errors I figured why not make it clearer. I probably wasn't the last person to stumble upon that post, so it might be helpful to others, as well.

To sum it up, judge the edits on their own merits, and forget about everything else related to the post. This site is an archive of answered and unanswered questions, and in that sense an encyclopedia of knowledge. All improvements should therefore be more than welcome, regardless of whether you think reputation points should be gained by answering questions or making edits.

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    $\begingroup$ You seem to have completely misread the reasons of the OP. The reputation is not the issue. The bumping of old questions (in bulk) is. $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kildetoft Feb 19 '14 at 7:35
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasKildetoft, no, I didn't. I just didn't read the comments. If the OP had put that in his question, I would've responded differently, so I don't see a reason for downvoting my answer. The questions should be self-sustained and not require reading of comments to address them. Also, if that was his major concern, why "confuse" us by putting the descriptor "low-rep" in the title if reputation is not an issue? Regardless, I stick to my point. If the edit is valid, let the post be bumped. So, seriously, I would like to know how my answer has not addressed the question and required a downvote. $\endgroup$ – Ryker Feb 19 '14 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ The reason for putting "low-rep" there is that other users do not need to get their edits approved. $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kildetoft Feb 19 '14 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Ryker: Meta and main have slightly different uses for the voting system. Downvotes on meta (almost always) mean that the downvoter does not agree with your stance, not that the quality of the answer is bad. $\endgroup$ – Eric Stucky Feb 19 '14 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ @EricStucky, I didn't know that, so thanks for letting me know. Still, for some unknown reason, I must have rustled a lot of feathers with my answer, and I can't really see what it was that did it. $\endgroup$ – Ryker Feb 19 '14 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ @TobiasKildetoft, OK, again, this was not evident to me from the post and I didn't know that was supposed to be the reasoning he put it there. In fact, reading the first few comments now, it seems as if reputation indeed was at least part of what caused his irritation (see discussion with robjohn). Also, I thought this site was aimed at addressing specific questions as they stand on their own rather than the paraphernalia that comes with it in the form of comments etc. $\endgroup$ – Ryker Feb 19 '14 at 21:21

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