I recently edited a post to make it easier to find and to add some extra tags to it. I had also answered the question. Because I was slightly broadening the question title in order to make the question searchable for future users due to one of the issues arising, I left a note under the OP's question. I explained what I'd done - because they might feel that I'd altered the question too much and might want to therefore roll back the edit. Or they might just not like the edit at all and want to roll it back.
Shortly afterwards I got a comment from a completely different user which began like this:
- WTF is this? Firstly you .... and then you go and edit the title to make it fit your answer.
I'm no shrinking violet, but I didn't really appreciate the WTF wording of this comment, all things considered. I try and be a friendly user, make new users feel at home, be constructive and that kind of thing, so I was kind of a bit nose-out-of-joint about this, and I flagged the comment.
So far this is just a bit of background info, all a bit boring and not really significant. But I thought the background info would be useful. Anyhow, I was a bit surprised when eight or so hours later I found that the comment had been edited. It now read:
- Huh? Firstly blah, blah, blah
So my question is, was this comment edited by a mod? I assume it was because as far as I know there's no way of editing comments after five minutes if you're a normal user. If it was edited by a mod then I have some further questions, if that's ok. Firstly, was the original user consulted about the rewording of their comment? Personally speaking, I am not too worried about people deleting my comments, but if they reword them and still attribute them to me, then I would definitely not be happy.
Another thing that's worrying me slightly is the comment has no note to say that it has been edited. Now, if I see a comment attributed to a user, I would normally believe that that is the comment that was left by that user. I may use this information in the future when trying to assess what a user is trying to say, whether they are well-intentioned and so forth. I normally expect that the comments are a faithful rendition of what users have actually said and done.
I want to be very clear that I'm not having a go at mods here, especially if one of them edited this comment. I am well aware that being a mod is not easy and is often an under-appreciated and thankless task. I do however, want to know what the policy is on editing comments. Is there any sort of written policy anywhere? Also is it possible that some of my comments have been edited without my knowing? Is there any guarantee that what is attributed to users here has actually been said by those users? (There might be some legal issues here). As a community I'm interested to know whether we feel that comments should be edited so that we no longer know what is actually part of what a user has said.
One last thing. Thanks to the Mod (if it was a mod) who edited this comment. I understand why it was edited and I understand why part of it was left. No problems there. I hope you don't mind me asking this question!