8

I have mixed feelings about this guy's answers.

Most of his answers that I've read seem to be good, informative, but the formatting always bugs me, and sometimes the list of references looks spammy. The latest one I noticed isn't too bad, but I've seen other answers where he's got about 6 links to reference articles he's written.

So I guess I have 2 questions:

  1. Is it fair game to edit out the bold heading the summarizes the answer? and
  2. Is he borderline spamming?
3

Completely agree with John on the screaming issue.

As to the links, I'm bothered by the fact that he's presenting them as "further reading" (which indicates a degree of separation between the first author and the linked articles); instead of overtly stating that those are his articles, and he is linking to his blog essentially.

5
  • He doesn't always link to his own articles, sometimes it's to technet articles or other sources. But somehow the combination of the bold heading and the links to his (mostly) his own articles seems like a way to drive traffic to his blog. Feb 11 '12 at 17:14
  • 1
    OTOH, at the end of an answer about PTR records, he's got link to one of his posts that's almost unrelated to the rest of the answer. Feb 11 '12 at 18:55
  • Ok, maybe I'm wrong and he really is spamming. Of course rolling back my edits means I'm more likely to be hard on him. Feb 11 '12 at 22:58
  • 2
    I would be more inclined to beat him with a rubber hose if the "further reading" links to his articles weren't (mostly) relevant, or if he had ads on them (I didn't spot any). I'm a bit annoyed he's not stating that they're his articles more explicitly though, and the bold headlines in every answer bug me -- It makes the times the rest of us do it (like telling people to for the love of $_DEITY turn off telnet) have less impact...
    – voretaq7
    Feb 12 '12 at 1:06
  • 1
    Well this is turning into an arms race. He's reverting edits that myself and several others have made to his answers, putting the inappropriate formatting back in place. Example1, Example2, Example3. Perhaps an email from a mod is in order?
    – EEAA
    Feb 12 '12 at 13:54
3

That screaming in each and every answer of his annoyed me enough to edit them all. So as far as I'm concerned, yes it's fair game. I wouldn't consider it spamming though.

2
  • 1
    He's reverting your edits now...
    – EEAA
    Feb 11 '12 at 15:33
  • @ErikA, I see you are amongst those rectifying that. Maybe he'll take the hint. Feb 11 '12 at 23:02
-3

The generic stuff: They are his answers after all - my approach would be not to mess with them until really necessary or at least until I would be confident that he would not disagree with the edited content. As he expressed that he does disagree, minor edits not contributing anything significant to the subject should not be made.

The specific stuff: If he feels the need for headings, he should be able to use them. We also should take into consideration that serverfault only has one type / one level of heading formatting here - it is not his fault that the template is ugly.

As a side note, I really feel that the readability of his posts in fact do benefit from the way he is using his headers. A thing perceived as "ugly" and "screaming" by some of us, might be quite fine with others.

The linkage stuff: he always names the article author along with his reference, so he obviously is not hiding anything - especially as his user name is constructed from his initials.

The personal appeal: Live and let live.

The edit: I really would have been surprised if nobody had discussed this kind of a problem here yet, but there even has been a blog post at SO on edit wars to make things clear. Of course, there are always two sides in such a controversy, but the participants should not forget that one of the two sides is them. Some excerpts with appeals which obviously badly need repetition:

As it says on the sidebar of every edit page, here’s what makes up good editing practice as we see it on Stack Overflow:

[...]

  • Always respect the original author.

[...]

Editing is welcomed and encouraged. However, if the author of the post is resistant to your editing changes, even a perfectly legitimate edit based on the above rules, be the bigger man (or woman) and let them have it their way.

[...]

Remember, we’re all adults here .. in theory. Please try to resolve edit disputes through simple communication, hopefully the kind that doesn’t involve being rude to your fellow developers. It says “Be Nice” in the faq for a reason.

4
  • 2
    If we were used to seeing sentences-long section headers around here, perhaps it would be less of an issue. But no one else here does that and as such, it's very jarring at first sight and then continues to be distracting while reading the post. If the community prefers to see answers written in a certain way, that's what the edit button is for. I may be wrong, but from this meta QA, there are more than a few of us that think his markup is distracting.
    – EEAA
    Feb 12 '12 at 14:38
  • This meta QA is anything but a representative sample. It also typically will represent the attitude of the regular answer posters, not the one of questioners or information seekers who are likely to have different views on things. As long as he is posting profound answers, he definitely should be left alone. Personal resentments or controversies around taste or style surely do not diminish the value of his contribution.
    – the-wabbit
    Feb 12 '12 at 15:48
  • 1
    I clearly do not have any gripe about his content. There is nothing personal going on here. The edit button is there for a reason- myself and several others feel the formatting could use some help. So we helped.
    – EEAA
    Feb 12 '12 at 16:05
  • The blog post you cite could be used to support either of our viewpoints. In this instance, I'm frankly sick of thinking about it so I'll let it go. I still maintain, though, that sentences-long section headings are problematic on many levels. If this person wants to continue using them, so be it. The community will do their thing and munge answers into the format they prefer.
    – EEAA
    Feb 12 '12 at 20:02

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