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A user just applied an edit that was completely trivial (arguably harmful infact) specifically for the purposes of increasing the visibility of the (now quite old) question for extra rep. They actually put that as the edit reason.

I rolled back the edit, naturally. But how should one deal with the problem of the behaviour itself? My rollback simply bumps the question further, which rewards the behaviour. Is it even a problem at all, or are karma-seeking bumps like this ok? Should the question be flagged? If so, what action should the responding moderator (assuming they agree that the behaviour is wrong) take? Can we only take action in cases so blatant as this one, or would a repeated pattern of small edits by a user to their own question also be enough to trigger some action against them?

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    This is the same user that made a meta post about how they were repeatedly banned for sockpuppets and trying to game this system. – SurpriseDog Nov 29 '19 at 16:07
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    @SurpriseDog And was then suspended from MusicFans.SE for posting a question they knew was off-topic there, explicitly because they couldn't ask it on Music.SE due to said ban. Honestly, I'd put them squarely in "problem user" territory at this point. – F1Krazy Nov 29 '19 at 16:45
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    Once someone achieves the "triple threat" suspension (3 simultaneous suspensions on different accounts of all different lengths - week, month, year), I start to lose sympathy. Actually, they lost much of my sympathy even before that, but just pointing out the troubling behavior. – user45266 Nov 29 '19 at 19:54
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    @Maika_Sakuran0miya Maybe instead of trying to game the system for imaginary reputation points, you could use it as intended for Q&A. I'd be sorry if it was an unfair suspension, but you've been repeatedly trying to game the system and giving yourself an unfair advantage seemingly without understanding that you're doing anything wrong. It's a concerning behavior for the mods who are here purely to help these communities be better places to spend our time. – Redwolf Programs Dec 3 '19 at 3:19
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    @RedwolfPrograms Indeed. I've once in a blue moon had a strange thought for a question I didn't necessarily personally need an answer to for an in real life problem, and put it in because I figured people might appreciate it. The difference though is that I could care less if I got rep. I just don't bother wasting such ideas if they come to mind. – user64742 Dec 7 '19 at 4:27
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I, as the user who is responsible for this, and all that plagiarism, sockpuppetry, and Nico-nico-nii'ing, etc. will add to what other users had said.

Right after the "triple threat" suspension, I got extremely desperate - I scheduled my Music SE (year) and Meta SE (month) accounts for deletion, and let my suspension on Music Fans SE (week) age away. Currently, my Music Fans account is reinstated - now I need my Music and Meta SE accounts to be deleted in order to have a full relief.

I apologize for this, and I will remember not to make trivial, tiny edits on my posts for extra rep. Thank you for raising it on Meta.

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    I thought suspended accounts couldn't be deleted. I'm sure there was a guy on MSE the other week who wanted to delete his Politics.SE account but couldn't because it was suspended. – F1Krazy Nov 30 '19 at 8:49
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    @F1Krazy Suspended accounts can't access the "edit profile" section of the profile, but can request deletion through the help center and other media: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5999/… – user45266 Dec 2 '19 at 1:16
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    @F1Krazy Blip got his deleted after a suspension IIRC – Machavity Dec 2 '19 at 15:45
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    @Maika_Sakuran0miya thanks; I guess this demonstrates that the right approach, initially, is to raise it with the User on meta. – Dan Scally Dec 3 '19 at 11:08
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    I don't see how any of this post provides any explanation to the behavior of editing to game for rep. This post comes across strongly as begging to get unblocked so the user can delete their accounts and pandering with a hollow apology. Being desperate would result in email spam to moderators and the help system, not trying to get random pieces of reputation. – user64742 Dec 7 '19 at 4:29
  • @TheGreatDuck - It wasn't actually completely my fault when my 1-year suspension on Music SE has been invoked... But this post does not beg for unban at all. – user25526 Dec 8 '19 at 5:05
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    @Maika_Sakuran0miya "It [your 1-year suspension on Music SE] wasn't actually completely my fault" Irrelevant and laughably false. I hope you're not trying to blame your suspension on someone else, because that's just ridiculous. – user45266 Dec 9 '19 at 5:49
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    @user45266 He is, and it gets worse. Look at his profile and see who he's blaming it on... – F1Krazy Dec 9 '19 at 11:14
  • @F1Krazy - Hideri Kanzaki. (It's not really a user on SE, but only an anime character that doesn't exist in real life. So no harm.) – user25526 Dec 9 '19 at 14:27
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    @Maika_Sakuran0miya I'm not sure how you don't see the problem with blaming your suspension on a fictional character... – F1Krazy Dec 9 '19 at 14:34
  • @F1Krazy - I've edited my profile to remove that part out. – user25526 Dec 10 '19 at 11:35
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Don't roll back bumping edits. Mod flag

Edits like that should be mod flagged so a moderator can review them. Normally I would wait until a pattern has emerged, but the user is transparent about why they are doing it. Bumping is not allowed (it's more common to post a NAA but edits do the same thing)

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  • What is a "NAA"? – SX welcomes ageist gossip Mar 21 at 13:07
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    Not An Answer. A user will most often bump their post with an answer begging for an answer – Machavity Mar 21 at 13:27
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I don't think we need to make more of it than it actually is. Editing itself is not something to be discouraged, unless it's excessive.

If you think there's abuse, flag it for mod attention and explain. The mods can keep track of what's going on even if things are deleted and without accusing people in the open when it's just an accusation. Note that abuse can take different forms and many different small troll actions that may not be something on their own could be seen as successful trolling behavior if put together. The mods are in the best position to keep track of such small actions if they're brought to their attention by flags.

As for rolling back edits, I'd do that only if the edit actually harms the post. As you say, rolling back an edit bumps it to the front page again and that's not something we want for no reason. In this case, I think your rollback was justified because the edit introduced general tags that don't really improve the post.

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Amusingly one of my first contributions to an Electronics SE question resulted in the mods locking down my answer because they thought I was editing it to bump it to the main page (which I had no idea how it worked at the time). So yeah, mods can do that. Whether it's always the appropriate thing to do... it depends, I suppose.

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  • My first Electronics SE question lead to a barrage of personal attacks and them starting a meta thread about it to continue the drama after I deleted the question. Never had that experience anywhere else. It's something about the EE SE that attracts curmudgeonly people. – SurpriseDog Dec 2 '19 at 0:52
  • @SurpriseDog: some of the high-rep users there use the site to channel potential clients to their consultancy business, so I got the vibe they get more competitive about rep and such. (Probably happens on SO too.) – SX welcomes ageist gossip Dec 2 '19 at 1:50
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    Locking a question does not just prevents editing, but also commenting, voting and answering. It is a last resort measure to prevent disruptive editing. We should not use it lightly. – Philipp Dec 10 '19 at 15:32
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But I thought minor bump edits weren't an issue and weren't supposed to be discouraged ?

I'm puzzled.

If the policy hasn't changed since I asked that meta question 4 years ago, just ignore the minor edit. If it has changed, then pardon me.

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  • I think you're misreading that answer a bit. Minor edits aren't discouraged if they actually fix something. They're bumped with the idea that the community can verify the edits. If they weren't bumped, it would take a lot longer for people to notice when someone is vandalizing posts by doing minor destructive edits. – JJ for Transparency and Monica Nov 30 '19 at 22:53
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    Minor edits for things like typos are fine. We still want those. Bumping is never allowed – Machavity Dec 2 '19 at 15:56
  • I fail to see any difference. If you want to bump a post, it's not hard to edit it form little things. – Bregalad Dec 3 '19 at 10:53
  • @Bregalad but if a pattern emerges of making continual, inconsequential edits to ones own posts, I think it'd be easy to differentiate between that and more acceptable editing behaviour. – Dan Scally Dec 3 '19 at 11:07
  • @Bregalad all the edit did was add a completely irrelevant tag with an edit note of "bumping to home page to attract more upvotes". It is an edge case of purposeful abuse. – user64742 Dec 7 '19 at 4:34
  • @TheGreatDuck Sure I agree. But I and other people have been making very minor edits to questions with the goal to bump them as well as improve them. We didn't admit this openly though. I tought this was accepted behaviour. If it's not then I will refrain behaving like that. – Bregalad Dec 7 '19 at 9:41
  • @Bregalad the difference is that with the case here, the edit was destructive. It wasn't merely superfluous. Fixing a single typo and not necessarily fixing all of them and then coming back later and fixing others to get more "bump time" is a far cry from "I will intentionally add typos in orders to push my post to the front page" or "I will add irrelevant tags that confuse people to get more exposure.". The context of this user's behavior says a lot as well as they were suspended on multiple dupe accounts for attempting to game the rep system excessively. – user64742 Dec 7 '19 at 17:25
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Is there no "edit without bump" option? Even if it was only available for mods, it could be useful for stuff like this. (or allowing mods to rollback the bump time along with rolling back the edit.)

Though, you'd likely have to have another page where you can sort questions by last edit time rather than last bump time.

Probably not the right place to suggest it, but having an explicit "bump time" on something rather than using intrinsic dates makes this kind of metagaming easier to deal with. (e.g. user is banned from bumping own posts for some number of days, or can only do an action that bumps something every N seconds)

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    There's no "edit without bump" option to my knowledge, though I have seen threads requesting such a feature in the past. – Dan Scally Dec 3 '19 at 11:06
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    Part of the purpose of the "bump" is to surface edited posts for community review. Otherwise, it would be easy for someone to go edit a bunch of old posts with destructive purpose (including spam, etc) and have few members of the community aware. (I assume bobsburner is aware of this based on the 'for mods' suggestion but thought it would be useful food for the rest to think about) – Bryan Krause Dec 7 '19 at 0:27
  • Accept this was an edit deliberately made to game for rep, so an option to edit without bumping wouldn't fix anything. The user wouldn't use it, because they wanted a bump. – user64742 Dec 7 '19 at 4:33
  • I got a little off track while posting. I mostly got the idea from wikipedia's handling of the same sorts of edits. Most of the reply's not applicable in this case. – bobsburner Dec 8 '19 at 23:18
  • "Un-bumping" for mods only would be more work than it would be worth. You can not expect us to examine every single edit on the site. That's why we have a flagging system in the first place. That means in practice we could only make use of this feature if someone raises a flag. It often takes several hours until a mod gets to act on a flag, and in that case the damage is already done. And the problem is not so prevalent that we can not deal with it with a punitive approach (warn and suspend people who do it). – Philipp Dec 10 '19 at 15:24

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