This issue has come up a couple of times, and does not seem to have been resolved, so a meta discussion seems to be in order.
I have noticed since private beta that there are a very large number of edits being made that seem to be primarily based upon the person making the edits deciding that the style of writing other people are using needs to be fixed.
Trivial edits such as changing the order of sentences, removing or changing phrasing that is grammatically correct, if not ideal, and generally imposing style upon other people's posts seemingly abound.
I am concerned that this may make our community seem a bit... unwelcoming. The fact that we allow peer edits can sometimes be difficult for people not familiar with the platform to accept, as it can be easy to see edits as criticism. It is much easier to justify this when there are obvious mistakes that are being fixed.
Changing someone else's post just because you prefer a different order of thoughts is harder to justify, and increases the chances of the original poster taking offense or feeling put upon.
I'm absolutely supportive of making edits to other people's posts for spelling, punctuation, and formatting when there are multiple errors (or even a single error if it is particularly glaring). Changes for style, or drastically re-writing someone else's post because they put an extra punctuation mark, however, seem like overkill.
The Help Page on edit privileges says:
When should I edit posts?
Any time you feel you can make the post better, and are inclined to do so. Editing is encouraged!
Some common reasons to edit are:
- to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes
- to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it
- to correct minor mistakes or add addendums / updates as the post ages
- to add related resources or hyperlinks
Try to make the post substantively better when you edit, not just change a single character. Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged.
What should the community's position on this be? Where do we draw the line between "make the post substantively better" and "tiny, trivial edits"?