There's an edit war going on in Smart Tic Tac Toe, a reinforcement learning approach . Every edit by one high-rep user is being reverted by the OP with no explanation, and he (sigh) offers this:

keep editing my post and I'll keep rolling it back and let's see who gives up first. You do not own the website, you're just a user like any of the other users, if the website allows you to edit my post, it also allows me of rolling back your edits, if you have suggestions, you come here with a comment requesting my approval and I decide what I want to include in my post and what I do not, it's not up to you to decide, wanna make it a challenge? go ahead and I will win whether you like it or not.

Though the following editorializing on my behalf is bordering on a self-answer,

if you have suggestions, you come here with a comment requesting my approval

That is not remotely the accepted model for edits. Editors do not (and should not, for efficiency's sake) seek approval from the OP beforehand. This community relies on mutual trust, including trust that users with enough rep to make edits understand the guidelines enough to be able to make constructive edits without first asking for permission. That is certainly the case here, though said trust from the OP seems lacking.

If there were a mechanism (?) to impose an edit freeze while discussion happens, I'd vote for that, but I don't know that there is one. What do we do?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Reinderien I mean no disrespect to anyone, I respect the website rules and if I'm violating anything here I think you or any of the other members would've indicated that or even flagged my post which is not the case and even if there's something that goes against the rules, he could've tried to discuss it with me but that is not the case either, and it's not the first or even the second occasion I notice this kind of behavior from that very same person. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @bullseye 1. I find silently reverting someone else's good-faith edits without then discussing them in the comments to be inherently disrespectful, though maybe I have a different standard for respect. 2. flagged my post which is not the case - Actually, it is the case (at least twice). \$\endgroup\$
    – Reinderien
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ To whomever flagged to close this question: it's perfectly fine for meta. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast Mod
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 19:22

3 Answers 3


If there were a mechanism (?) to impose an edit freeze while discussion happens, I'd vote for that, but I don't know that there is one.

Actually... there is a mechanism for that. It's just not available to regular users. For cases where edits keep getting applied back and forth, diamond moderators have the ability to lock a post.

Before this happens it can be useful to communicate why certain edits are applied, either through the edit summary (which is somewhat unintuitive, especially for new users), or through comments.
If this resolves the edit dispute without moderator involvement comments pertaining to the dispute can be flagged as obsolete.

When in doubt, please do flag the relevant post for moderator attention and give some context as to what's happening in the flag message :)


Users that are new to the network may not intuitively understand that they do not own any of the content they post on Stack Exchange, as per terms of service all user content is licensed under CC-BY-SA, and as content hosted on the SE network it is the duty of network users to make sure all network content looks great and reads well, and this is incentivized in several ways by the SE system itself, via reputation bonuses (+2 for an accepted edit suggestion), various badges and awards, and user rankings.

To be perfectly clear: the edits made are absolutely 1) warranted, 2) appropriate, and 3) necessary.

I've reinstated the legitimate edit. Such knee-jerk rollbacks are completely unjustified, but for the record this whole episode was never auto-flagged as an actual edit war.

As for preventing edit wars, we can't. There will always be users that are over-protective of "their" content and make wrong assumptions about others' intentions. What we can do is:

  • Flag the post for moderator intervention: moderator will review edit history, assess the situation, and take the appropriate decision, including rolling back, further editing, and/or locking the post for content dispute.
  • Respectfully educate newer users: let's face it, nobody reads the rulebook; most of us simply walk into Stack Exchange and accept whatever the rules are and go with the flow - those that walk into SE with apprehensions and assumptions about its communities and the motivations of its users, tend to have it a bit harder: these are the users we need to be tactful and patient with; a one-on-one chat conversation is likely the best way to do this (post comments only get you so far, and they're noisy). Avoid confrontational wording, and try to de-escalate any ad-hominem and insults - better to walk away than escalate, someone else can do this if you're getting too hot-headed right now. Use chat flags as appropriate.

The mechanism of editing privileges in my opinion is sometimes taken for false authoritative rights.

I think that this edit freeze mechanism only available to diamond users, this deprives non-diamond moderators/users such as myself from having a say in the context being edited and this creates conflicts that are uncalled for.

OPs of any given post whether old or new users should have a say in their context that is being edited unless it violates certain community specific regulations and even if that is the case that is the whole point of flags. Apart from that, It looks like there are some users that are very excited about the +2s they get from editing numerous posts that they keep making silly edits and change things within the post being edited outside the scope of formatting.

For example, an edit could be merely for a word or two and even slightly paraphrase the title or description, when the title/description is not ambiguous at all and doesn't have any spelling problems..

I'm the OP whose subject is being discussed, I meant no disrespect to anyone today. I always make sure of proper formatting, spelling and general regulations of this website or any online forum in general but this does not negate my right to express myself in the description as I please as much as any user should.

So long as the context does not violate any clearly documented rules and since my way of expressing myself through the description as far as I know does not have named and clear rules against except for it should be clear and indicative of what the code reflects, I shouldn't and I won't tolerate reputation-hunting behaviour, and so shouldn't any user.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There is a lot to unpack here, including: after a certain threshold (and the user in question is above it), you don't get rep for edits. There is no "rep hunting" going on here. The user was trying their best to improve your question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Reinderien
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 20:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Beyond that, your answer here is not at all an answer to my question of "what to do when users are in an edit war". \$\endgroup\$
    – Reinderien
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 20:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @bullseye this answer mentions "today I always make sure of proper formatting, spelling", but it doesn't reflect that. The community wanted to edit and improve this answer to make it more readable but alas, you'll probably roll it back again. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jul 2, 2020 at 6:12

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