Where are guidelines about proper text formatting, suggested edits, and their review? Possibly there is nothing but “common sense”, but Ī̲ don’t hold in respect sites where users are encouraged to assess things they’re unwilling to read carefully, such as this.

  • $\begingroup$ There is an extendet faq on everything related to StackExchange here. You might especially be interested in this section of it. $\endgroup$
    – T3 H40
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ From the review screen, it's hard to tell what the text is supposed to look like. $\endgroup$
    – Vincent
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ @T3 H40: Of course, Ī̲’m aware of meta.SE’s existence. Ī̲ never saw there anything like “don’t fix typesetting in answers” but, possibly, worldbuilding.SE has some special regulations? $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2016 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent: Possibly, moderators will admonish users for at least canned rejection reasons where these users can “hardly tell what the text is supposed to look like”. $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2016 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ I am not even completely sure what your question is Incnis, can you clarify what the problem you are have is? $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ @James: The problem is yet another instance of the reviewer’s button-pushing syndrome; generally, button-pushing syndrome is the bane of modern Web 2.0. Ī̲ hope you aren’t related to the meta’s James who voted to close my question ☺ $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2016 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ Well there's always the door :) $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ I find it ironic that you're asking a question about text formatting while consistently using a symbol instead of the "I" expected in conventional English. Are you trying to be ironic and I'm missing something? $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2016 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Monica: When StackExchange stopped to force {font-family: …,sans-serif;} upon all running text, there will be no “Ī̲” symbol anymore. Press StackExchange’s designers to abandon mandatory sans-serif. $\endgroup$ Commented May 18, 2016 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ So you think it's ok to punish (or at least inconvenience) all the users here because you disagree with something in the platform? Do you also go into grocery stores and dump stuff off their shelves because product manufacturers use corn syrup and you prefer sugar? I'm not going to edit out your obfuscating non-English, but I'm also not inclined to take you seriously so long as you prioritize your preference over legibility. $\endgroup$ Commented May 18, 2016 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Monica Cellio: Again, writing SI units in Roman is an international standard, not “preference”. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2016 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ Not foe the first-person pronoun it's not. If you're open to input about community norms then show me; if you just want to argue or pontificate, I'm done. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2016 at 13:19

2 Answers 2


No such specific guidelines exist on this site, though the community here tends to reject 'cosmetic' edits unless they are substantive and/or drastically increase the quality of the question/answer.

In the odd case where edits have been disagreed over and one or both parties are unsatisfied with the result they have brought the question here to ask the community their opinion, which generally resolves the problems.

If you want to discuss the specific edit you mentioned being rejected and ask for wider consensus or reasons why it might have been rejected, then I would suggest raising a question specifically about that edit on the meta, and posting the link as a comment on the question; something along the lines of "This question/answer is currently being discussed on meta <link>". Raising things in this way tends to be standard practice on this site.

  • $\begingroup$ What about answers indeed? $\endgroup$ Commented May 18, 2016 at 7:16
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    $\begingroup$ Questions and answers makes no difference in this particular case. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 10:19

There are no specific guidelines, but I'll give my opinion on cosmetic edits.

People use the close reason unclear what you're asking for certain reasons but to me a question can be unclear because of how badly formatted the question is.

Zero line breaks, superfluous whitespace, unnecessary phrases such as salutations or apologies (such as for perceived sub-par English speaking skills) or thanks, poor grammar/spelling, or any sort of dramatic flair such as "I need help!" and what not.

I will edit and I tend to accept edits that improve the question's appearance. However, I only do so when I know that it hasn't met any of the edit rejection reasons. If it "conflicts with the author's intent" or offers no improvement (or makes it worse) then I'll reject it, because that's a valid rejection reason for any sort of edit.

That being said...

In your example, you changed - to – everywhere, and made edits like LH2 to LH2. I'm not well versed in Chemistry rules, but I looked up liquid hydrogen and found that it can be LH2 or LH2.

To me, that's an unnecessary edit. It was also difficult to read what your edit was supposed to achieve, but when I looked at the actual post, it seemed rather readable to me. In your reason for editing, your comment was "typography (mostly removal of inappropriate italic)." In another edit of yours that I found, your edit comment was "rectified “\cos 60” rubbish, other fixes."

Words like inappropriate and rubbish seems to me to violate the Be Nice principle that the Stack Exchange networks tend to adhere to, and it offers up no information that would help someone understand what your edit was supposed to achieve.

If you truly feel like your edit is a strong improvement, I'd recommend that you use the comment to convey that improvement more if it's possible that it could be confusing to a reviewer. In the event of conflict or if you have a question about it, follow the advice @Mourdos provided in his answer.

  • $\begingroup$ [a comment to the posting edited]Damn. One may not use italic for SI units – Ī̲ said it in (worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/40161/… comment to the answer edited]. You have enough time to try some mudslinging, but are not interested in the specific case. Wreckers are encouraged at this site. No more to discuss IMHO. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2016 at 9:31
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    $\begingroup$ @IncnisMrsi There is no mudslinging. I copied and pasted what you typed word for word, so it's just the facts here. Your lack of courtesy is probably why you are not finding a lot of headway. Based on your post history, you're usually engaged in edit warring, you use derogatory language instead of constructive language such as crap or rubbish, you call people names, you say arrogant things, and you create threads that are for argument or pontificating. Try adhering to the Be Nice principle and you'll see that it works better. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2016 at 13:41

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