The following two questions of me:

Were there any pre-enlightenment philosophical considerations of the naturalistic fallacy or related concepts?

What are the main points of criticism of the ancient Stoic school vis-a-vis the system of philosophy of the Epicureans?

had their content edited and then close-voted/down-voted by the same person.

I think that I am among the posters who welcome edits more than most (and I actually thanked the editor between the edit and the close-vote), but this combination really annoys me.

Apart maybe from obvious typos or offensive words, I don't think that anyone should edit the substance of a post that they vote to close.

I would be happy to discuss the merits and possible besser formulations of the two questions in another thread, but here, I really want to discuss whether this combination (edit then closevote) should be discouraged.

  • 2
    Apart maybe from obvious typos or offensive words, I don't think that anyone should edit the substance of a post that they vote to close. Why in the world not ? This isn't a real question until you defend that central assumption. At least, I have no idea how to answer it. Jun 14, 2011 at 9:28
  • @thei, if you will review the actual edits, you will see we didn't change any of the substance of your questions. I modified tags slightly so that others could re-vote on certain questions. I've done this for several of my own questions as well. We have to draw the line somewhere.
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Jun 14, 2011 at 12:18
  • 3
    @Joe: Those edits seem awfully aggressive to me. I think changing terms invariably changes the question. And it seems weird to edit a question (presumably to make it a better question) and then close it (presumably to give it space to be fashioned into a better question). It's sending very mixed messages and could feel like you are messing with the asker. To be honest, it smells a bit funny to me. Jun 14, 2011 at 17:01
  • 1
    @Jon with respect to one of those questions I did attempt to clean it up several days ago. After recent dicussions about cutting a sharper line for off-topic, I modified the question again but just by changing a single tag. I did this in order to bring the question up for attention; you will see that I have been doing the same with several problematic or borderline questions, including several of my own. I apologize if I have offended but none of these actions were intended to punish.
    – Joseph Weissman Mod
    Jun 14, 2011 at 17:12
  • @Joe: I appreciate your intentions. We need to get the site into shape. I happen to think the fault is partially (perhaps primary) a result of some flaws in the moderator tools. (But that's a debate I'm fated to lose.) Jun 14, 2011 at 17:21
  • I don't see a problem with the combination. I also don't see why this question got downvoted. It seems a good question for meta; if, like me, you don't agree that there's a problem, perhaps you ought to upvote the answer rather than downvote the question.
    – vanden
    Jun 15, 2011 at 5:07
  • @vanden: Many people downvote on meta just to indicate disagreement with the opinion presented in the question. (I do feel that this is an unfortunate habit that needlessly alienates people who post their first thread on a meta site, but we will hardly change that here.)
    – Phira
    Jun 15, 2011 at 5:11
  • @Jon: Now you have me curious what you think is wrong with the moderation tools, or at least how you think they could be improved. Consider bringing up the issue on the main meta site (meta.stackoverflow.com)? (Or kindly point me to a link if you already have?) Jun 15, 2011 at 6:49
  • @Cody: My horribly outdated answer about the closing issue can be found here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10582/… Jun 15, 2011 at 17:21
  • @Cody: My updated answer would make an analogy between the Stack Exchange moderating tools and the posse of a Western movie. Once the sheriff trusts the citizens enough, he starts handing out badges and guns. While it might be a step toward a town policing itself, it also risks gun fights at high noon. I have deep frustrations with the entire system (see: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/42481/…) so I may not be entirely objective on the topic. Jun 15, 2011 at 17:27
  • @Jon: Yes, I read your "postmortem" with great interest. It's very hard for me to personally relate to such things, though. Extrinsic motivation has never set in for me, even on Stack Overflow. I participate because I enjoy learning about new things and deepening my knowledge about things that I already know, and I also enjoy helping others. As my SO profile mentions, I love solving problems and always have. This is a convenient and useful outlet for me to do so. Sure, there was some motivation to get to 10K on SO, but that was mainly so I could help clean up bad stuff I saw. Jun 16, 2011 at 4:12
  • @Jon: But, reading the recent transcripts in the chat room from the big discussion I unfortunately missed, it seems you're not the only one of the contributors on this site who disagrees with the notion of closing questions. Again, I find that very intriguing, as I simply can't imagine things any other way. Well, I can, but I imagine those "other" sites, the ones that I would never participate on. I'm not an "internet forums" kind of guy. SE is sort of an anomaly for me, and I think it's only successful because it's strict & focused. The format is unique and at times unkind, but successful. Jun 16, 2011 at 4:14

1 Answer 1


Editing (and for that matter closing) a post isn't a punitive action. Someone who edits a post obviously feels that the post can be improved.

An overly vague or poorly-asked question may be closed so that it can be "fixed" before the answers start going off in every which direction. I cannot see any reason the person who closed the question should recuse themselves from trying to help fix that post. That's how the system works.


Other people can edit my stuff?!

Like Wikipedia, this site is collaboratively edited, and all edits are tracked. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your questions and answers being edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

  • I don't think that this excerpt of the FAQ is pertinent to my post. If you don't feel that it is open to discussion in private beta how close-votes and edits should or should not be accompanied by comments, then this thread can be closed. This was not my impression up until now.
    – Phira
    Jun 14, 2011 at 16:01
  • "Editing (and for that matter closing) a post isn't a punitive action. Someone who edits a post obviously feels that the post can be improved." This remains a long-standing problem on all StackExchange sites. The moderators have this position and the typical user has the opposite understanding. It's matter of a) poor communication by moderators, b) equivocation on words such as "edit" and "close", and c) unthinking applications of the tools. Whatever the intention here, the moderator actions leave a bad impression. Jun 14, 2011 at 16:54
  • In addition, the FAQ uses no such language: <meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10582/…>. I don't see any hopeful associations with closed questions, but the opposite. ("Questions that are particularly bad ...") Until moderators figure out how to effectively communicate this bit of gnosis to ordinary users, I think it's highly inappropriate to pass it along to other moderators. It gives closers of questions a blanket justification for their actions without providing the needed information to the asker of a closed question. Jun 14, 2011 at 19:39

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