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While improving posts is a laudable goal, editing others work is a big responsibility. To the extent that the editor changes the submitters' work, the editor is assuming a degree of ownership of it. And if the editor gets it wrong (and editors are human) the editor doubly harms the community by degrading an answer and potentially offending an author - who might never return.

To encourage members at any level of points to edit posts with non-trivial changes "any time you feel you can make the post better", and not to say a word about the need for restraint, seems like a recipe for trouble. I think that a rewrite of this overly-liberal policy is needed in order to balance the privilege with the responsibility.

It also seems that for this community, 1000 Reputation points might be a bit low for this particular privilege. Is there a way to retrieve all non-poster edits in order to review them? Some numbers would help establish whether there is an existing problem and its magnitude.

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https://ham.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/edit

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.

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  • $\begingroup$ Consider Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work? in the Help Center. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jul 12 '14 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ I've reviewed "Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work?". But I don't think that the change I'm proposing here conflicts with what is stated there. Actually, I think the policy should be at least as open for changes as the questions and answers. $\endgroup$ – user2338215 Jul 12 '14 at 12:35
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If you are the original poster, you should receive a notification when your post is edited.

If you have a problem with the way your post is edited, consider adding a comment to that effect (and @-mentioning the editor to make sure they're notified). Editors normally do not have malicious intent and are reasonably willing to discuss their changes. If such is not the case, feel free to bring it to the attention of a mod.

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I think that the prolific edits I'm seeing are most likely due to the small, insular condition of the Amateur Radio SE Beta. I'm more used to something like StackOverflow, where a critical mass of knowledgeable and motivated participants has been reached.

Perhaps beta exchanges would be better served if some tweaks were made to their policies. And that is all I'm suggesting here.

All posters should be fully aware that once they click "submit" their words no longer belong to them. In a large enough community that shouldn't matter - at least in SE theory it should not - since the diverse and knowledgeable community will ensure that any deficiencies in the posting are corrected over time, including any erroneous edits. For participants in slow, tiny, beta groups like this one that group support may be lacking.

I've found, however, that there is at least a "nuclear option" for contributors who would like to participate as much as possible, but who aren't comfortable with the 1K brownie point threshold for the edit privilege: the misnamed "Delete" button.

With few exceptions, everything we contribute becomes a permanent record, and is never deleted even when we choose to "delete" it. Except in rare cases when an admin decides to completely expunge a post from the database, the words will hang around indefinitely. So provided one is not concerned about lost brownie points, or the lack of exposure of a particular question or answer, simply "delete" it. The post will remain, and you can still access it as can your fellow community members with point totals of 10k or more. (Save off your own copy if you're really concerned about preserving it.)

If and when the community matures you can always choose to undelete your post, and magically it will reappear rather like Rip Van Winkle after a 20-years slumber.

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    $\begingroup$ The "Delete" button is not misnamed. Yes, 10k+ users and you can still see it, but as far as the average user, and more importantly, the public viewer is concerned, it is gone. Even on StackOverflow with its large community, the vast majority of those making use of answers are unregistered or repless. By abusing the functionality of the delete button in the way you propose, you're removing the potential for those individuals to take advantage of the information presented in the post. You're also taking away any search engine indexing the post might have gotten, in turn harming Ham.SE too. $\endgroup$ – Amber Jul 14 '14 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ Which is why I have not accepted my "nuclear option" as an answer. Surely there must be a better way to address the issue. $\endgroup$ – user2338215 Jul 14 '14 at 13:30
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I think the point you are missing is

to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it.

In the edit review tool, there is even a specific reason for rejecting an edit on these grounds: radical edit.

I have not encountered any edits that were published that violate this rule. Occasionally, I see one in review, and reject it. This notifies the user who proposed the edit. I suspect this is how new users learn what is an acceptable edit and what is not.

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