I'm not one to frequently ask or answer on worldbuilding, but I do lurk very often. I'm well familiar with the layout of Stack Exchange sites, and am mainly active on Super User.

When I saw this question in which the original asker reverted any and all edits (which were approved in the case of the user with less than 2k rep), I figured it would be best to discuss the matter here.

He edited this in:

edit: If you feel the urge to fix my post's tone please resist your edits dumb it down and add nothing. Please stop making edits. I will revert them.

Which I know for a fact is something that shouldn't be in a question. I've myself removed more "Edit: Thanks for the answers!!" and "Edit: Nevermind guys!!" out of questions than I can remember.

Stack Exchange sites are not forums

Out of the interest of not creating more conflict, I didn't edit his question.

Concerning the edits @Jim2B made, I didn't see anything wrong with them. When an edit changes the intent of a question, they are malicious. I don't believe his edits changed the intent of the question.

It can be argued edits that improve grammar / spelling / change sentences around a bit "change the original author's tone" but I see questions with very poor English all the time that have been edited, and go on to be stellar questions (point being the tone was changed due to the way the question was worded, but the question intent was exactly the same).

What to do:

  1. Was the original edit fine?
  2. Should the question be reverted to that edit?
  3. Either way, should we removed the "do not edit my question" part of the question?
  • $\begingroup$ I am completely open to removing the edit comment if the complete (and I find pedantic) reworking of the question is not reverted to. The initial edit went much farther than fixing spelling and grammar and spoiled the intent of the post. The present edit is exactly the question I intended to ask. $\endgroup$
    – King-Ink
    Jan 25, 2016 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ In good faith, I will remove the "warning" but I will still revert the unproductive and fussy edits. Actual spelling and punctuation edits are fine but I don't need my sentences reworked by somebody who is guessing my intent. $\endgroup$
    – King-Ink
    Jan 25, 2016 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ Ironic thing is, on a post discussing edits involving spelling and grammar, there was a spelling error. Being the humored pedant, I've corrected. Feel free to roll back if you disagree. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jan 25, 2016 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ The "present edit" has at least one spelling error, plus a handful of grammar errors. It could be cleaned up without changing the intent of the question, and was, but @King-Ink backed them out. The roll-backs really look like juvenile "Stop touching me!" rather than any "high-minded/high-concept creative intent". $\endgroup$
    – T.J.L.
    Jan 25, 2016 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ I think we may have to go with the be a bigger man and let it go rule. It seems better than insults and fussiness. $\endgroup$
    – King-Ink
    Jan 25, 2016 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ @King-Ink "I will not fight with you except on pedantic edits :)" this is still not okay imo. I would just leave out the last 4 words.. $\endgroup$
    – Insane
    Jan 25, 2016 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ agreed, sounds like a plan. It is locked so feel free to make the edit. $\endgroup$
    – King-Ink
    Jan 25, 2016 at 17:36
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    $\begingroup$ @King-Ink Good answers require a grasp of what's being asked, and a whimsical question without any hint of intent is not conducive to that. For future reference it would be very helpful if you made the intent more clear, rather than silently revert every revision (that I believe was made in good faith.) $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2016 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ Version 2 is a clear improvement in a manner typical of the site. How does it dumb it down? Quite the contrary. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jan 31, 2016 at 0:03

4 Answers 4


I haven't had a chance to look at the various edits in detail, so cannot comment on the validity of those, but I still want to answer one part of your question.

Either way, should we removed the "do not edit my question" part of the question?

This one seems fairly obvious. While the OP shouldn't have to put up with nonconstructive edits, making statements like the one quoted in a question (or indeed anywhere) appears in almost direct contradiction to the Stack Exchange Be Nice policy, perhaps particularly "be welcoming, be patient, and assume good intentions".

If the OP finds the way a post is edited to be unacceptable to them, it's most often better to edit further to try to incorporate the point of the edit in a way that is acceptable to them. Very few edits are outright destructive; better to assume good intentions and try to understand what the editor was trying to do.

If you come across such things in the future, the proper thing to do is to flag the post for moderator attention and describe the problem. This is even more important to do if attempts to edit it out once or maybe twice through community effort is reverted by the OP. Nothing good ever comes of getting into an argument; at that point, just flag it and move on. Avoid using custom flags for frivolous reasons (there are only a few of us diamond moderators, and each custom flag has to be dealt with manually; for this reason, custom flags may also remain "pending" for longer than other types of flags, but rest assured that we stay on top of them), but if you feel that something does need the attention of specifically a diamond moderator, by all means use the custom flag feature; that's what it's there for! Also note that custom flags are confidential, visible only to diamond moderators and Stack Exchange employees.

As moderators, we have the ability to deal with this type of behavior in ways that the community doesn't (particularly, if necessary, we have the ability to contact a user privately to resolve issues, or in severe cases suspend users for a period of time). If the post is flagged with an appropriate flag description, that gives a clear record should it turn out that the behavior is consistent rather than a one-off thing, and it points us directly to the problematic post(s) should we want to look into a user's history.

Moderators are volunteers, and we invest our time in trying to make the site and community a good one. (About all we really get for our efforts is an Imaginary Internet Badge, either Constable or Sheriff.) However, because we are volunteers, it's unlikely that we'd go out of our way to search for similar issues in a user's previous posts' revision histories. Flags show up in a convenient summary that we can use to quickly judge whether it's a consistent problem that needs dealing with on a larger level than just a single post.


I fully agree with the point 3. I edited it (let's see what the user do) to remove that line. It should never be part of a question, regardless anyone's feeling of tone.

For the other part, I have more mixed feelings. I understand that the user want to make awkward sentences on purpose. And if that was the aim (it might be intended to indicate a given "tone" for the answers), the original edit probably goes against it.

On the other hand, the intention wasn't really clear, and instead of just rolling back, s/he should have indicated more explicitely in the comments that s/he wanted it that way.

So, for me, apart from the extra line, the OP is right.


I think it's obvious that Earthins should be Earthlings or Earth-people or Terrans. Earthins is not a word.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Unless we are talking about Ear-thins, a famous Alpha-Centaurian burrowing worm that likes to dig through the inner ear on its way to food. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2016 at 19:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I personally interpreted that as an "accented" form of Earthlings. I do agree it should be spelled better, though. $\endgroup$
    – March Ho
    Jan 25, 2016 at 22:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I personally think that while the OP probably shouldn't have bothered rolling that edit back, the OP was fine. It's pretty clear he's referring to Earthlings, and a lot of people have unique words in world building. Terrans wasn't a word until someone made it one in their world. A lot of roleplay gets into WB posts, and we haven't decided to cull that yet (afaik) $\endgroup$
    – DonyorM
    Feb 1, 2016 at 6:44

The real issue is I think somewhat obscured here. The original post is in dramatically non-standard English, and should not stand in this form. If the OP refuses corrections made by others, then he or she should correct them. As it stands, however, the question is problematic.

So the real issue is what to do if a question in semiliterate English cannot be edited because of the OP's preference? I say the question should be closed, or it should be edited without the OP being able to roll back.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The latter for sure. $\endgroup$
    – Insane
    Jan 29, 2016 at 10:21

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