After participating in a question, that in my opinion was of low quality since the extensive background information that was given was one sided, giving the impression that there can be only one conclusion.

The goal of the question was to recieve a source confirming his opinion.

In the past, soley for specific topics (Germany in general, Nazis in particular), his answers are very biased and often leaves out points that contradicts his forgone conclusions.

In other areas, outside of these topics, his answers have a tendency to be long, but well sourced and of good quality.

Yesterday I gave a preliminary answer, listing some aspects that was lacking in the background information.

Since there was already 1 vote to close this question as Option based, I added my vote to this. There are now 4 close votes.

This morning I add some more information.

After another user suggested a spelling correction, I noticed that after almost every paragraph comments had been added in a schoolteacher mannor on a student paper:

For these reasons I casted the second vote to close this question as Opion-based.

<! -- Opinions of answerers are not sought with it. "Were there attempts?" isn't opinion based. You seem to deny that there was some effective anti-French sentiment that got as far as to rename slow to change institutions in their language patterns, like governemnt, bureaucracy or military? -->

So how should one deal with, what in my opinion, is a misuse of edit privileges by this user?

I have not reacted to this and have not yet removed the undesirable additions to my answer.

Original Question:

  • Since you analyse the intent of the MainQ as "The goal of the question was to recieve a source confirming his opinion" I'd be interested to know what that, my, opinion would be? Or the 'one conclusion'? I ask for the different sides of the debate. And show that we know from actual history that the line from eg Campe 1801 to Engel 1917 did not succeed with their wishes. This 'how' for the 'why' is an open & difficult question? [Sidenote: is 'my answers on nazi topics are very biased' meant as an insult or a compliment? ;) ] Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 13:45
  • 7
    The substance of this question is interesting; what are the limits of friendly edits, how do we want to use the site, how do we edit in a way that enables multiple competing viewpoints. I fear that the language is going to provoke replies that are less constructive. Would it be possible to edit this question to more strongly emphasize the content, and less emphasize the personalities and offenses? I'm not sure that I'm expressing the distinction clearly; if anyone can help clarify, I'd be grateful.
    – MCW Mod
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 16:34
  • @MarkC.Wallace It is not only the language used. The first paragraphs here are more of an attack or general complaint about one user (lengthy posts, biased against nazis, etc – incl the para that admits to not answer the question on main but provide additional detail & "background" for what ever reason). If the question was about 'are incline comments to be treated like a friendly edit or as an alternative to lengthy and argumentative comment threads' (which would be useful; for either 'in this case' or 'in general'). But the 1st 50% are just superfluous for that. I suggest removal of em. Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 22:23
  • On language: I guess the title here is a little nonsensical. MarkJohnson is the OP (both on Main & here), I was the editor. OP disagrees with inline comments (or is the editor not agreeing to the A?). Who did the "filling", who disagrees to what…? As a start, may I suggest sth like the following edit: "Is it a misuse of 'editing posts privilege' when another user injects into an answer they don't agree to some 'inline comments'?" In any case, I find the title quite confusing, even when I think I know what it is supposed to transport. Please edit to clarify. Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 23:20

2 Answers 2


These edits are clearly replies to the author, and should therefore be rejected. The editing privilege is meant to be used for improving a post; it is not a medium for engaging another user in conversation. In fact, we have a canned reject reason for almost this exact scenario:

This edit was intended to address the author of the post and makes no sense as an edit. It should have been written as a comment or an answer.

In this case, I suspect the editor chose not to use comments not out of malice, but because it would've taken way too many comments to fit their entire response. While understandable, that nonetheless does not make in-line edits an appropriate alternative.

Instead, the correct venue for such extended discussions is our built-in chat system: https://chat.stackexchange.com/?tab=site&host=history.stackexchange.com

  • 9
    I aggree with this viewpoint. If anyone, who disagrees with any questions or answers could edit in their comments, chaos would ensue through the cluttering up of the markdown text. In this case there were 20 inline comments, sometimes within a paragraph. Summary, for the reason of the edit, was left blank. This is a sign of a complete disregard for the work of others. If everyone did this, everything would become a complete mess. Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 15:07
  • So take action and delete the post. Those of us who originally voted to close this post are locked from doing so again until Nov. 14., and the Question remains an open festering wound in the meatime. Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 15:09
  • Yes and all but one of the existing votes have expired and cannot be renewed until then (for me the 15th). Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 18:51
  • 1
    @PieterGeerkens Are you talking about OP's answer, or LangLangC's question? I'm only addressing the particular case of edits raised in this meta question. The problems with LLC's question should really be addressed in its own meta question, if normal channels are insufficient. I admit I did not bother reading that question as it is monstrously oversized. I might have if there was 4 close votes on it (in accordance with convention) but I don't recall seeing that being the case at any point.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 20:56
  • At the time this question was originally asked, there were 4 votes to close. Now there is only 1. Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 21:01
  • @Semaphore: I an unable to cast a close vote for another 12 days. That same will be true for other non-moderators who originally closed it. Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 22:00
  • @PieterGeerkens I discussed it with the mod team but ultimately we felt there's no cause for moderator intervention in that case.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 8:32

Since it was me doing that edit, I clearly didn't see that as a "misuse".

It surely wasn't a 'defacing' as I took care to not change anything else in the post. A casual reader will not see any differences or any changes made to that post at all. Despite some more typos for example that also would still need improvement. Even in the revision view only one of three viewing options makes those comments visible. A plus side to this would be that the OP as well as anyone else editing that post would read it and then decide to be responsive to that content or not. In the latter case with the fast and easy option of a relatively painless rollback.

Therefore the rationale for it is that this is still a friendly edit. An edit that should give hints to improve the post. And as the canned edit rejection phrases it:

This edit was intended to address the author of the post and makes no sense as an edit. It should have been written as a comment or an answer.

The edit I made addresses the content of the post, which I thought was largely unresponsive to the question posed, too weak in the arguments presented, with some grievous errors or falsehoods, and in the parts that do present a direct response it ignores the actual evidence already present in the question by just stating an unreferenced 'false'.

Couple this with expressed intent of the answer to just complement the question, as this user thought the question itself, which already got complaints for being ugh-tooo-looong, to include more background info. Info which by its very nature in this case might be interesting to know for non-Berliners in general, but not really relevant for the question asked.

The answer also engages in a contradictory meta-discussion:

"For these reasons I casted the second vote to close this question as Opion-based." which is evidently so non sequitur that it still prompts OP to then go on to post an opinion based answer. Still filled with the intent to accuse the author of the question as narrow minded and either pushing a position or asking in bad faith, as apparently 'evidenced' that the question post was too short and supposedly ignored the small French origin minority from some time earlier than the time frame asked about.

To repeat that: my question presented an observed pattern of language policy that left out one particular spot to fill. The question asks for the discussions at the time as to why there was some exception made. We see from the question that the exact wording in question was under attack from 1801 but the medal itself seen with a really special status even in 1934. Now that 1934 data point is a tiny hint with indeed the help of a reference in the answer under discussion, alas wholly dismissed by OP.

The close votes the question attracted for being allegedly "opinion based" are hard to follow. "Low quality" was now another reason given here on meta by OP.

Just because a simple net search doesn't give you the direct answer? Wikipedia links don't spell out the answer? The question is difficult to answer, as some of the most relevant books are not online: Stephen Thomas Previtera: "Prussian Blue: A History of the Order Pour Le Merite", 2005.
David Edkins: "The Prussian Orden Pour Le Mérite: History of the Blue Max", 1981.

The perceived by me need to improve the answer is a really rather large one. Adding just a comment is not enough for comment length restrictions and further made difficult for the surely ensuing discussion style, with a pattern of then receiving a response that will be argumentative and with a ratio of one comment generating another three or more as responses that are often filled up with 'me is right and you are wrong' or

My statement is correct, yours is false.

Looked at from the other side: how should one rectify such problems as 'Liberty fries and Liberty cabbage'? While being an 'American thing' one is a century after the inquired time frame, the other the exact same pattern to observe. Some policy results in attempts to change the language in seemingly simple words. OP dismisses both of these far away incidences in another language and polity but just links to the fries, where that propaganda stint didn't catch on outside of jokes with a reference to Wikipedia. Had he done that with a link to the cabbage than the whole circumstantial argument breaks down, as 'liberty cabbage' did catch on much better for a time. For the purpose of the question this is quite secondary, as it is the reasons and arguments exchanged at the time that are being asked for, not just some random 21st century SE user's opinion. I'll stop listing even more examples from the question on main for the purpose of returning to 'purpose of inline comments and proper use'

As per SE model: From the long list of flaws and errors in that answer that I tried to fix I included some counterarguments into the question itself. By incorporating some evidence I try to preempt that these mere assertions and tangential reasonings are not enough and even clearly contradicted by prior research in the question.

But how should anyone improve further a question that is met with

Your own quote answers your own question: The aim was to replace foreign words with German expressions. Words not names. Had they wanted to change everything French, they would have done it then. But they didn't. Sorry, but this is wishful thinking on your part.

"Names" are not "words"? "Had they wanted to change everything French, they would have done it then." – I give evidence of a century long struggle with small steps of achievement and defeat, a process with ups and downs, many arguments exchanged, then get greeted with a nonsensical 'common sense' comment that is proven wrong in the text of the question itself, with hard evidence and primary source quotes – yet the comment is still upvoted?

In light of this I chose the alternative to proceed as it presented itself to me, as repeated from the canned rejection response:

Address the author 'with a comment'. In this case an inline comment invisible to the casual reader.

It is not my intention to attack the author or deface that post, however much I really do disagree with most of its content. Those 4014 characters added are not made in or for fun and are meant as an invitation to fix what's wrong with the post.

If "should be a comment" really unexpectedly for me excludes 'inline comments' – it was one attempt to find a solution to the problems of content and form discussed above – then I'll just stop.

Jedes Urtheil wissenschaftlicher Kritik ist mir willkommen. Gegenüber den Vorurtheilen der s.g. öffentlichen Meinung, der ich nie Koncessionen gemacht habe, gilt mir nach wie vor der Wahlspruch des grossen Florentiners: Segui il tuo corso, e lascia dir le genti!

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