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I recently left a comment. That comment originally said something like "What part of our [faq] made you think that this question was appropriate for Server Fault?"

It wasn't hostile, but it also wasn't the nicest. The user was a 1-rep user that clearly hadn't read the faq, so I kept it short and to-the-point instead of taking the hand-holding approach.

Now, that comment reads: "This is really off-topic for Server Fault (See our FAQ) -- it MIGHT fit on Stack Overflow, but it doesn't meet the requirements of a good question (Our standards and Stack Overflows are probably pretty similar)"

It shows that it was edited, but it wasn't by me. This leads me to believe that a mod edited it. Should a mod use commend-edit-power to make such a radical change? If my comment was offensive or inappropriate, I would prefer that it be deleted and the mod leave a "nicer" comment, instead of completely rewriting my own.

What does the community think of this use of mod-edit powers?

  • 1
    You don't recognize @voretaq7's writing by now? :) – jscott Sep 12 '12 at 15:19
  • @jscott Of course I do ;) – MDMarra Sep 12 '12 at 16:17
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    I'd be curious to hear from the people downvoting this what their opinion is. – MDMarra Sep 12 '12 at 16:18
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I haven't found an official source/reference for this yet, but here's my opinion:

Mods should not radically change the content of a comment. Spelling mistakes, various typos, and the like are fair game for correction. If part of a comment is "hostile" and the rest is not, delete only the offending part.

With that blanket statement, I'll confess that I've messed with people's comments before, turning snarky quips into overly-nice advice; though only once or twice, and I think they were both Chopper's.

Specifically responding to your cited example, it should have been deleted, the Mod should have left that comment under their own pseudonym.

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    That edit was me, and in retrospect Chris is correct - I should have zotted the original and left a replacement. (Normally I apply a 20% rule to comment edits -- If I have to change more than 20% of the comment to make it "nice" it should just be deleted. In this case I broke my own unwritten rule...) – voretaq7 Sep 12 '12 at 14:57
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    @voretaq7 I'm sure you wrote something else in this comment and Chris edited it. ;-) – splattne Sep 12 '12 at 19:02
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    @splattne I may or may not have offered the user up as an hors' d'oeuvre to the Great Old Ones... – voretaq7 Sep 12 '12 at 19:55
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I liked the original version much better and if I remember correctly I even upvoted it. The edited version is too limp-wristed for my taste. It's also wrong because there is no similarity whatsoever in the standards on SF and SO, the latter being extremely undisciplined and sloppy.

TL;DR - I don't believe such an edit should be allowed unless the original is offensive.

  • So on board with this, except for the summary. If the comment's offensive, it should be deleted, not saved by radically altering its original meaning. And I too, prefer the... less than extremely polite comments telling lusers to RTFFM, so I wouldn't have edited or deleted that comment, had I the blue diamond powers. Though, I have it on good authority that I can be/definitely am a cold bastard, so YMMV and all. – HopelessN00b Sep 21 '12 at 0:13
  • @HopelessN00b, despite our occasional disagreements I can see we have a fait bit in common. :) – John Gardeniers Sep 21 '12 at 2:23
  • No doubt. And don't worry about the occasional disagreements - as I said, nothing's perfect but me, and I'm sure you'll come around, see the light and agree with me on everything eventually. ;D – HopelessN00b Sep 21 '12 at 2:38
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I would have no problem with this if it was transparent to the viewer what had happened, as with question edits -- if the page displayed or made easily available that the comment had been edited, by whom, when, and what the change was I would see no issue with this.

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    I disagree. Editing, in any usage on SE, should not radically alter the ideas or intent of a question. If you would need to radically rewrite an answer in an edit, for example, you should just write your own answer. – MDMarra Sep 13 '12 at 20:25
  • You're right -- I should say I'd have LESS of a problem with this rather than no problem. The main point I'm trying to make is that if editing is allowed by anyone other than the original comment author, mod or otherwise, it should make info on the edit readily available, and one shouldn't ever return to see their own comment edited in any way with no indication of the source. – nedm Sep 13 '12 at 23:44

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