“Silent” Edits for MO?

This question is inspired by

Wouldn't it make sense, to have the choice of a "silent" edit, that doesn't bring an old question back to the top.

The editing person could then help prevent cluttering the list of recent or active questions by deciding whether the edits justify reconsidering the question?
That would also allow bulk editing without causing irritations.

• What kind of edits could be made silent? – François G. Dorais Sep 7 '13 at 11:35
• Have you not seen (or looked for) the discussions of the reasons for edits bumping things to the front page? – Gerry Myerson Sep 7 '13 at 11:36
• Here is a relevant mathoverflow thread with a related feature request: meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/192/… – Ricardo Andrade Sep 7 '13 at 11:56
• @FrançoisG.Dorais: I would consider formatting, correcting typos and so on as candidates for silent edits. Maybe there could be an option to display recently edited problems, this would prevent from unnoticed editing and leave the possibility that the classification of the be changed by others. – Manfred Weis Sep 7 '13 at 12:54
• I'm almost tempted to close this as a duplicate of meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/192/… – Scott Morrison Sep 9 '13 at 0:18
• There is obviously quite good machine learning algorithms in use at SE sites. Some such algorithm could decide if an edit is minor (and very probably not malicious) and so decide it do not need bumping. – kjetil b halvorsen Feb 20 '16 at 19:44
• Maybe $50\%$ or so of somewhat MathJax-heavy postings on MathOverflow look like a toddler's drawing with crayons. It is unfortunate that it should be expensive to clean one of those up. – Michael Hardy Feb 9 '19 at 20:42

As others said this came up before and has some issue to it. I never got arount to making the following precise, but here is slightly different take on the matter, possibly not fully thought out, but perhaps reasonable.

Instead of making some edits 'silent' one could create a new 'tab' (or change an existing one).

We have 'new' and 'active' and some others. The issue is that 'new' is perhaps too static (making one not see new answers) and 'active' perhaps too noisy.

It seems to me technically it should not be a big problem to have one more 'tab' say called 'new post' that shows questions ordered chronologically by last addition of a post to the the question, that is new questions and new answers are noticeable but edits are not. In this way, people that want to avoid the noisy 'active' but still see answers would have an option.

Or, around the same idea, one could consider to look into a slight change how 'hotness' is determined and thus what the 'hot' tab displays.

(If one wants to develop the idea, one could add to 'new post' also signifcant edits, determined either via marking it so and/or in some automatic way.)

I am not sure how good or bad this idea is, but it might avoid the worries some have regarding making edits silent while giving others a way to avoid the edit-noise but still not miss important things.

• Why not make the entries in the "active" tab itself more verbous? -- Presently they say only "modified xyz mins ago". Wouldn't it be reasonable to make this read "new answer added xyz mins ago" if a new answer was added, or "edited (+X/-Y characters) xyz mins ago" if the post was edited? – Stefan Kohl Sep 7 '13 at 15:47
• Yes, what @StefanKohl says could also be a good idea. It seems like a still smaller change so could have a better chance of getting implemented. But two points to consider: First, it could then be an issue if say somebody gives a new answer briefly after that somebody makes a small correction and then it seems (but actucally is not true!) that only a minor edit happened (possibly leading to people ignoring the post). – user9072 Sep 7 '13 at 21:12
• Second, there was a recent incident that somebody edited 30+ posts in a row. Now if one sees 30 posts with same user name last active it seems like an obvious assumption these were all or mainly minor edits. (And if one wanted to be sure one could check that users page for recent acitivity). Still some people in general in the patient side got annoyed. So, it might not help that much. – user9072 Sep 7 '13 at 21:13

The idea behind "silent" is that nobody else notices. However, that would mean malicious edits could be performed and then cataloged by search engines.

Even bulk edits by moderators should be noted by the community, as well as by the original posters and editors. I do think having a quieter form of notification for this is appropriate, but silent is not the way to go.

• I put the "silent" in quotes to indicate that it should not be taken too literally; it is meant in the sense of not causing distraction and not in the sense of being able to make unnoticable changes. – Manfred Weis Sep 7 '13 at 19:00
• Even if you don't mean silent when you write "silent", it still conveys something not quite good enough for the intent. "Low profile" or "quiet" would be better; "less obtrusive" is what is wanted. – The Masked Avenger Sep 7 '13 at 19:32
• Machine learning algorithms could be used to mark edits as possibly malicious and then always bump them. If very probably not malicious and minor it could decide not to bump. Should}nt be to difficult for the SE team. – kjetil b halvorsen Feb 20 '16 at 19:48