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The user SE - stop firing the good guys edited this post with important highly upvoted, useful information from the comments that did not change the meaning of the post (it clarified that 'side content' referred to 'any content that's not necessary for completion'). This post went through the normal approval process for low rep users and was approved.

Next Wrigglenite♦ reverted the edit claiming that "Adding new information to answers is explicitly not what third party edits are for". However, as noted in the comments (now moved to chat), this claim directly contradicts SE policy which states:

All contributions are licensed under Creative Commons, and this site is collaboratively edited, like Wikipedia. If you see something that needs improvement, click edit!

Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

[...]

Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it. Common reasons for edits include:

  • [...]
  • To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)
  • To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the information relevant to the post is contained in one place

Source: https://gaming.stackexchange.com/help/editing

When this was pointed out to Wrigglenite♦ rather than re-applying the edit instead they claimed that the policy does not apply to 'third party' comments. Claiming that 'The only source of information in a post should be the post's author.' where 'author' seems to refer to the posts first author.

Is this something the Gaming SE community decided to deviate on from standard SE policy? Because the collaborative nature of writing answers is one of the core tenants of the SE network. It's quite typical that some users express discomfort with this, but in that case - as the above page states - "this may not be the site for you". When a moderator however expresses such notions it sounds like something bigger is going on.

Point is: On SE in general there is no such thing as a "third party" edit vs a "first party" edit. Neither the first author of an answer nor the 100th contributor to an answer is allowed to change the meaning of an answer (that's why we can write multiple answers and have each upvoted independently). The only advantage the first author has is that he can claim a superior understanding of the meaning of the post. As always: This isn't a forum, this is the Q&A version of Wikipedia.

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  • 4
    I personally don't think that we on Arqade are any different. I think there was just a misunderstanding of the policies in that post that you linked. I do know that Arqade does do things slightly differently (Tags for example), but I don't think this is the same kind of thing.
    – Potterton
    Feb 27 at 19:48
  • I do agree that the rule you quoted is intended for comments by the original author, meaning someone requested clarification and the author only responded in a comment, when it should be in the question/answer. However in this case, it was an explanation of some jargon, which should be completely fine IMO since it falls under "clarifying the meaning without changing the meaning". I've also seen lots of original authors change the meaning of their answer when they realize the original was wrong, so I'm not sure there's actually a prohibition on that.
    – Kat
    Feb 28 at 18:03
  • @Kat original authors can modify their answers as they'd like even if its pretty drastic. Other people can only do that with explicit permission. i.e. "that last part of your answer there is somewhat incorrect, can I quick fix it to what more seems to apply?", "sure!" or something like that. But if you're proposing to change an entire answer to something completely different then you might as well make your own answer at that point
    – Penguin
    Feb 28 at 19:00
  • @Penguin tell OP, not me, I'm not the one claiming that authors of answers can't change the meaning of their answer.
    – Kat
    Feb 28 at 19:43
  • @Penguin Please refer to the guideline I referenced, there is no exception for the first author of a post. If you want to write a drastically different answer you can write a new answer. You don't own an answer you started writing, you gave it away under a CC license and everyone together tries to make it the best possible answer. Feb 28 at 22:17
  • @Kat I have seen a moderator once point out to a user that they should've written a new answer rather than completely replacing their answer with a different answer on IPS.SE. Still I totally agree with you that in general I haven't seen a lot of issues around it (typically authors only expand on answers rather than replacing them) Feb 28 at 22:24
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This question is based on a slight misunderstanding. It's true that posts are a collaborative effort, but that doesn't mean post authorship is completely nonexistant. Just a look at the voting and badges system should tell you that Stack Exchange values the connection between posts and their authors, and that leaving a post's content to its author is important to make sure that reputation and badges are awarded correctly.

The term "additional information only found in comments" can be, admittedly, misleading, but it's common for question and answer owners to reply to clarification from comments in other comments. Adding that information into the original post is a good edit, since it's still coming from the original owner.

More suggestions on how to edits can be found in other places too. For example, when editing a post, the following guidelines are offered:

How to Edit

  • fix grammatical or spelling errors
  • clarify meaning without changing it
  • correct minor mistakes
  • add related resources or links
  • always respect the original author

The "edit questions and answers" privilege page omits the part about comments as well:

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

Not changing the meaning of a post is mentioned twice. Adding or removing information is changing the meaning of a post.

Additionally, the names of the badges related to editing give off the same impression: "Editor", "Strunk & White", and "Copy Editor".

All of this reinforces the idea that third party edits are supposed to be about style and presentation, not content.

The idea that Arqade, or Stack Exchange in general, is a Q&A version of Wikipedia is a bit of a misquote as well, as the Help Page actually reads "this site is collaboratively edited, like Wikipedia".
It's true that anyone is welcome to contribute new information with questions and answers, and it's true that anyone can edit posts, but these are supposed to be more like copy editing than co-authoring. Indeed, each post only ever has a single author.

And for those who want a more collaborative effort on maintaining a post's content, that's what the Community Wiki option is for.

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  • On Stack Overflow I've found that moving comments into a post, even from the author of that post, has about a 50/50 chance of being rejected. I would not dream of editing in a whole paragraph of information from a third party comment, no matter how relevant. That sort of editing is exactly what I'd expect the Community Wiki format was for.
    – Booga Roo
    Mar 3 at 23:05
  • @BoogaRoo Mentioning in the edit summary that the additions are from the author's comments usually helps with that. Mar 4 at 8:12
  • A good edit summary goes a long way, but even with mentioning that it's from the author it was still about 50/50 on Stack Overflow when the edits needed three approvals. Perhaps the ratio is better now with only two needed, but it was a gamble back in 2016.
    – Booga Roo
    Mar 4 at 8:36
  • @BoogaRoo Suggested edits on SO in general are just 50/50. I once edited to place code into code block formatting and had it rejected ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Best advice for SO is to just get to 2000 rep ASAP so your edits don't have to go through the review process.
    – Robotnik Mod
    Mar 4 at 23:45
  • @Robotnik Fair point and that was indeed part of my answer to the question I linked. I was mainly trying to point out that moving comments into posts is difficult, even on other sites on the network. I suspect this sort of rollback discussed here, where third party content was moved into a post, is probably fairly common(if it makes it past the approvals in the first place). At the very least, it's not unusual.
    – Booga Roo
    Mar 5 at 0:07
  • 1
    To add to this, content changes can be inaccurate, even if you are certain they are correct. Posting it as a comment, then letting the answer author decide whether to include it or not, enables at least one extra opinion (more if other comment on it afterwards) before including potentially incorrect information. Even if it doesn't get included, the information in the comment is still viewable by readers.
    – MBorg
    Mar 6 at 1:17
2

This does not apply to third party comments. Otherwise that would be kind of a loophole. Think about it, you can't make drastic changes to other people's posts but if you comment it then you're allowed to edit it in because it was found in a comment. Obviously that's pretty stupid at its arbitrary level.

This edit is debatable because it is riding the line on adding new information and clarifying. In case of a third party comment, view the edit as if it was on its own and not influenced by a comment.

I personally think this edit may have qualified as another answer entirely or at least permission asked to edit it, it seems to somewhat change the answer in a way that may conflict with what the author means.

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    If you want to change the SE guidelines so that they don't apply to "third party" comments, please suggest that on meta.SE. It's not a loophole, just like editing an article on Wikipedia isn't a loophole. Obviously common sense still applies, but "there is a highly upvoted comment which adds important information" is absolutely what that guideline is about. There is a reason why the second line in the guideline about edits is "If you see something that needs improvement, click edit!". Working together results in better answers than competing by writing multiple answers. Feb 28 at 22:19
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    @DavidMulder Any drastic changes should be separate answers, that's literally the point of other answers. Otherwise we would have one answer and keep editing it for what's better. Whether you think this is drastic or not is up in the air
    – Penguin
    Feb 28 at 23:15
  • @DavidMulder there's also literally edit reject reasons labeled "attempt to reply" and "not author's intent"
    – Penguin
    Feb 28 at 23:19
  • Sure, drastic changes imply a different answer. Often a question can have more than one valid answer. Including more information is something completely different. And "attempt to reply" is about replying "This edit was intended to address the author of the post and makes no sense as an edit" and has completely nothing to do with this. Mar 1 at 0:30
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    @DavidMulder i was reading your reply again and Im honestly confused why Wikipedia has anything to do with this? Were not an encyclopedia, were a q&a site?
    – Penguin
    Mar 1 at 3:59
  • We got a +4 -3 split on this, what in this is up for debate? It seems pretty split so if you know could you tell me because im honestly just curious
    – Penguin
    Mar 4 at 18:09

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