Guidelines to prove that $2^{\sqrt{2}}$ is a transcendental number? question bumped into https://mathoverflow.net/ after making an edit.

I am not sure if that adds anything to the question.

Should there be restriction on who edits a closed question? Even though if it is just tags. How about restricting the right to edit to just the one who asked the question?

I am not able to see the point of editing a 6 years old question.

To give clarity about my objection, I have no problem with adding relevant tags(I don’t see point in that but I am ok with it). I have problem with editing the content. Here in that post, it was making 2^sqrt{2} to $2^\sqrt{2} $.

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe I should add to this specific situation that my edit to this question was mainly to remove (abstract-algebra) tag. This is one of the deprecated tags and AFAICT there is an ongoing community effort to remove those tags and replace them with more suitable ones. In this case (abstract-algebra) was the only tag on the question. A recommendation from a moderator was to retag questions which do not have other suitable tags first. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak how does it make any difference for closed questions... $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ Since your question seems to be about closed questions in general (and also I did not want to leave too many comments here), I have wrote something about this specific situation in chat: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/10243/2018/7/31. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ In any case, +1 from me - since I think that question whether and another which circumstances edits to closed/old questions can be useful is a valid question. (If I had to guess, the downvotes are most likely related to suggestion to let only the OP edit such question. But it would definitely be better if the downvoter(s) mentioned in a comment what exactly was the reason for their downvote.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


EDIT: This was posted as a response to the original version of the question which explicitly mentioned also tag edits.

I will try to address mainly the general question about editing closed questions - as far as I can tell your question is intended to be general and not only about the edit you linked to. (We can leave comments and chat for discussion of this specific edit. But certainly the reason that I was the editor in question was a contributing factor why I decided to post an answer. So I briefly touch also this specific edit in this answer - but that is not the main point of the answer.)

I think that allowing only the OP to edit closed post is not ideal. (On the other hand, in the first days after putting on hold it is definitely preferable if edits comes from the OP at least for salvageable questions, since the first edit - if done within five days - pushes the question into the reopen review queue. But that's a separate topic.)

There might be also some other arguments against the suggestion "only the OP can edit a closed question", but in fact you pointed out one important one already in your question - namely the tags. If only the OP would be allowed to edit closed question, it might be impossible to remove tags that exists on such questions. To list some recent examples, we might still have the misspelled tag . Or even if the community agreed that specific tag for ncatlab is not suitable, a single user would be able to keep the tag alive simply by refusing to remove it from a single closed question. More importantly, closed questions often come from inexperienced users who are not familiar with tagging systems. And in case of older questions it might be possible that the OP no longer visits the site, so we cannot really expect edit to come from the OP. (Of course, the tag can be removed also when a question is deleted, but it seems that MO users do not vote to delete questions very often.)

You have also specifically mentioned old questions. It is true that old questions should not be bumped often, but with moderation it is acceptable: Do we have an unofficial quota on how many old questions one should bump for minor edits in a single day?

You have also asked this:

I am not sure if that adds anything to the question. ... I am not able to see the point of editing a 6 years old question.

I think having questions correctly tagged is useful. It helps when searching and also when choosing the questions in the related questions list in the sidebar. In this specific case the question is closed but it seems unlikely to me that it is going to be deleted. So if it stays, it is probably better for the site that it is correctly tagged even if it is closed. (But I definitely admit that this is more important for questions that are not closed. And it is much better to make such edits when the question is new or if it has already been bumped for some other reason. Probably I would not have made this specific edit if it wasn't a post with a deprecated tag.)

Some benefits of bumping this question:

  • The question gets to the front page and users who see it might reconsider whether it is worth keeping (if not, they might vote to delete it) and also reconsider whether it is worth reopening (although in this specific case this is unlikely scenario).
  • Whoever is curious why the question was bumped and looks at the edit summary might be reminded that there are deprecated tags. And perhaps the reminder helps that the user helps with the removal of such tags when they see them.

And a possible downside is only that an old question will be for a short period on the frontpage - which is not that bad. (Considering that I have over 100 helpful spam flags - which means that I contributed to remove quite a few unsuitable posts from frontpage - I definitely feel less guilty if my action leads to some post appearing on the frontpage, even if the post is less than optimal. And I am quite careful not to bump more than one old question per day - which is way below the suggested quota of three questions per day.)

  • $\begingroup$ It is very big so can not reply for every statement.. you said “I think having questions correctly tagged is useful”.. if the question itself is not useful, what is the point of editing it by some one else other than OP... $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @PraphullaKoushik As I explained, in this specific case it was mainly to help in removal of a deprecated tag. (As mentioned before, I have left a few more comments on this specific instance in chat.) And edits only by OP could cause problem in tag removals in general. Also, the question was closed, but still MO users considered it useful enough to leave it on the site rather than deleting it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ Tag removal is fine for me.. (I said otherwise before and change my statement now)... not the body of the question... I saw that chat.. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 13:33
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    $\begingroup$ @PraphullaKoushik I have edited my answer to clarify that I was responding to the previous version to the question. Since you have added to your post the thing with 2^sqrt(2) - since the question was bumped anyway, I did not really see much sense in leaving there ascii version of a mathematical formula instead of properly formatted $2^{\sqrt2}$. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ Ok.. it’s just my point of view... I have nothing more to say,.. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 15:23

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