The problem with the editing system is that it allows a user to edit a post while another user is editing it, too.

This happened here. P. E. Dant submitted his edit while I was editing the same post; I then subsequently submited another edit. Consequently, it seems that I rolled back the very nice edit by P. E. Dant.

I think this problem is likely to cause an edit-rollback war or maybe blind downvoting which would probably happen by virtue of madness and annoyance.

In my opinion, it's a good idea to wait for a few minutes before editing a post; sloppy writers like me tend to submit a post without thoroughly proofreading it, but we'll notice the mistakes just a few minutes after the post has been submitted.

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    Nah, conflicting edits happen a lot on newly posted posts, especially questions. They're not a big deal and they're unlikely to result in a rollback war. I'd just sometimes give the OP a few minutes when I suspect they'll fix their typos.
    – M.A.R.
    Jul 6, 2017 at 6:06
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    @M.A.R. Well who knows there are really sensitive people. Btw, I agree it happens a lot. But I can't find any relevant meta post. Jul 6, 2017 at 6:20
  • @M.A.R. Oh, thanks for the comment. I can find lots of related questions when I search "conflicting edit on stack exchange" on Google. I really never thought of that key word. But I hope this post wouldn't get closed because I think "waiting for a few minutes" is a good suggestion. Jul 6, 2017 at 8:08
  • My English is not good enough, so I have never edited someone's post. I saw P.E. Dant's comment somewhere that he said he was a teacher, this made me wonder why a school teacher got that much time on stackexchange answering and editing people's posts. J.R. has been here for many years, when the first time I came here, J.R. was already a moderator here, but J.R. was also a school teacher. I can't remember the URL of their comments.
    – kitty
    Jul 8, 2017 at 6:42
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    @kitty You don't have to be a grammar pundit to edit a post. I'm not good at English either, but I do edit posts. I never fix the grammar errors; all I do is retag, edit the title, and improve the readibility. Btw, it's good to know that we have lots of teachers here. Jul 8, 2017 at 13:19
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    @kitty It's OK if your edits don't make the grammar of a post perfect. If you can improve the title and the formatting of a question to make it easier to find and understand, that could make the difference between someone getting a few good answers to their question and not getting any answers at all.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 8, 2017 at 16:16
  • @kitty I know I have approved more than one of your edits. If you see something that can be improved, go right ahead and improve it. Not only will you help the author of the post and all subsequent readers, but you will also help yourself by utilizing your English skills. That is a win all around! Don't worry about making a mistake: Everybody makes mistakes. J.R. made one in 2015! Jul 27, 2017 at 3:19

2 Answers 2


General Editing Tips

If the user is inexperienced, and the many errors impede comprehensibility and readability then I tend not to wait before diving in.

If the error is a simple typo, and the user is experienced and a frequent contributor, then a friendly comment (I sometimes come across as gruff) is enough. Give these users the opportunity to fix their own posts.

I would not waste time or effort in editing posts that are wildly off-topic. These posts should be closed, and then subsequently deleted.

It's well worth mentioning that one's preference of formatting doesn't suit all tastes, and to impose your stylistic preference can be seen to be intrusive by some. If you explain the reason for your edit, and it's a valid one – improved visibility, then users ought to appreciate the motivation. I mean, the edit is not only to help the OP but also the community!

Over time, a user who enjoys editing should develop a sense of whose posts they can improve or repair, and whose are best to leave alone.

  • +1 Let me test this. Is it a typo when you say "a friendly comment is suffice"? Or is it just me? I'm resisting the temptation to edit it. I'm not sure of it. :)
    – NVZ
    Jul 23, 2017 at 15:53
  • @NVZ oh, I was thinking "is sufficient"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 23, 2017 at 16:02
  • "a friendly comment will suffice", I suggest. :)
    – NVZ
    Jul 23, 2017 at 16:03
  • @NVZ thanks for the correction, it is appreciated. :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 23, 2017 at 16:10

I'm usually editing a lot of stuff on ELU.

When the edits I make on another's post is lost by subsequent edits, it's usually that I didn't give enough time for the OP to edit it themselves, or (rarely), another experienced user would've submitted their own edits at the same time.

I've been trying to avoid jumping at the chance to edit posts nowadays, and that's a good thing.


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