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  How should the editing guidelines be phrased?

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

In this thread are given some guidelines (not hard rules) for editing posts anywhere on the site.

asked Mar 21, 2015 in Discussion by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
recategorized Mar 27, 2015 by dimension10

Why not base the phrasing on Arnold s  suggestion and adapt it to the needs of the community such that most people are satisfied (getting everybody to exactly agree is maybe too hard).?

I second Dilaton.

1 Answer

+ 4 like - 0 dislike

Posts may be edited for readability or to make them more direct. However, keep in mind that the OP's user rights still apply, in that the OP has the final say regarding the appropriateness of your edit. Civility is strongly encouraged but will never be enforced.

Here are some guidelines on editing (note that they're not hard rules, and that you should generally use your common sense in editing a post)

  • You are strongly encouraged to edit a post to remove personal attacks or racist/sexist/etc. remarks as they do not refer to factual content, but rather ad hominem remarks.
  • You are encouraged to refine the tone of the post to be more direct and matter-of-fact, rather than unnecessarily offensive, and excessive use of adjectives/adverbs or descriptive language can be discarded. e.g.
    • "totally worthless" to "worthless".
    • "full of crap" to "incorrect on many fronts".
    • "a construction of absolutely zero interest" to "a construction of no interest"
  • Factually empty remarks can be edited out from a post (note: If the entire post is factually empty, then flag or vote to delete the post, rather than blank it out), e.g.
    • "Do not fool yourself"
    • "My patience for this paper is nil, it is insulting the reader's intelligence"
  • On meta, you should also preserve more emotional language, since there discussions are not just about scientific facts. However, editing out of personal attacks is still encouraged, e.g.
    • "You are deluded", "You are lying" to "That is untrue"
    • "You are an idiot", "You are dishonest", "XYZ is dishonest", etc. can be edited out altogether.
  • Corrections of typographical errors and grammatical inconsistencies/errors are a valid reason to edit a post, and completely welcome. However, it is important to ensure that the meaning of the post is not changed with the edit.
  • Dissent about factual statements made in the post should be addressed by submitting a comment rather than by an edit (unless OPs agree that it's an error, but do not edit their post). Make sure that all seemingly factual information (including value judgments you disagree with) is preserved by any rephrasing.
  • You are encouraged to edit questions that are low-level, off-topic, etc. to make them more appropriate for PhysicsOverflow, as long as the new question is not totally different, in that any existing answers, including possible answers to the old question, should not look out of place upon the edit.
  • Please do not attempt to enforce conventions such as:
    • Natural units vs. S.I. units
    • English (UK) vs English (US) or any other widely accepted form of English
    • Accepted symbols and notation, e.g. between \(\mathrm{Re}(z)\) vs. \(\Re (z)\).
  • Translations of contributions written in non-English languages are completely welcome.

If you are a contributor whose text was edited, and you don't like the edit, it is often better to improve it further in the light of the corrections made than to undo it, which is usually appropriate only in case the edit changes the scientific meaning of the post.

answered Mar 21, 2015 by dimension10 (1,985 points) [ revision history ]
edited Mar 24, 2015 by Arnold Neumaier
Most voted comments show all comments

this seems to have obtained the necessary amount of votes, and has stayed there since a while, so let's make it official. 

I don't know where +2-0 is declared to be the necessary amount of votes to make a proposal official, but in view of the +4-0 votes of my proposal here it is appropriate to wait until this has 4 positive votes, too, and otherwise take my proposal as official.

I edited your proposal so that I could upvote it; please check, and if you signal agreement I'll upvote it.

@ArnoldNeumaier Yes I agree to the edit.

I'm pretty sure most of the votes on that proposal were for the idea of a general editing guideline, not the exact phrasing of the guideline. At least my upvote was, and I'm sure Ron's, and perhaps Dilaton's was, too.


I'm pretty sure most of the votes on that proposal were for the idea of a general editing guideline

Ok. But in important matters it is better to have a strong vote  than just the bare minimum. (Where is the net +2 rule?)

It's +4-0, you can make it official with for the current PO meta overwhelming support!

Added to FAQ (I think it's actually fine there, because as a guideline, it's mostly apolitical).

Most recent comments show all comments

@RonMaimon I'll put in some of Arnold's examples and replace mine, but modify the desired outcome of editing, remember that almost nobody (I don't know about you) agreed with the specific proposed outcomes of the edits.

I considered using "should be edited" (words like "please" don't occur to me quickly : )) instead of "it would be fine to", but I felt it makes it seem that editing is a compusion. I'll make it "you are encouraged to", if that's more encouraging.

@ArnoldNeumaier That's quite difficult, in a small community. The +2 rule is only recorded in the moderator manual which I recently shared a link to today, and is also now linked to in the user rights.

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