Occasionally, there are legitimate questions asked but these maybe embellished with a lot of personal detail more suited to a blog, such as unnecessary criticism of the software in question. By "unnecessary", I mean, at the minimum, not related to getting an answer to the specific question being asked.

I made an edit to a question: I left what I considered the basic question intact; I removed a lot of what I considered to unnecessary, subjective commentary.

Unsurprisingly, the original author rolled back the question to the original version. Is that the end of this matter?

Community is the last word for edits, If original author rollbacked useful edits, You should rollback again and mention the reason in comments:) –  Tachyons Jan 4 '13 at 4:52
@Tachyons While the community is the last word, non-OP editors should not be considered more (or necessarily less) authoritative than OP editors. It's fine to roll back any edit (including a previous rollback) that is in error (providing explanation if necessary). But in any situation where there's genuine dispute over what the post should look like, or where it looks like a rollback war (or other edit war) may take place, or even when it looks like someone may be tempted to engage in acts of aggressive editing, the community as a whole or a moderator should be consulted. –  Eliah Kagan Jan 13 '13 at 23:23
Even simple praise will probably be removed from a post... OMG I love Ubuntu but I have a problem will probably end up at only I have a problem. Stick to to facts, if its not relevant to the question then probably shouldnt be there. –  Bruno Pereira Jan 14 '13 at 11:03
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1 Answer

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Here's a couple of guidelines. Just be aware that this reflects my preferences. I recommend soliciting the views of others as well. (Which is to say, I recommend others post answers here too.)

  • Treat unnecessary criticism the same as unnecessary praise. There's nothing worse or less appropriate about criticism than praise. Praise can get in the way just as much as criticism.

  • Remove unnecessary criticism or praise if you think the question will be better or more easily answered and that doing so keeps the question fundamentally intact and respects the author.

    If I'm guessing correctly about what question you're talking about, your edit abides by that guideline. It was a reasonable and good edit.

  • If unnecessary criticism or praise is rolled back by the author, only seek to have it removed again if you believe the unnecessary criticism or praise clearly makes the question harder to understand, harder to work on, less useful to the community, or in violation of community standards. The community should only override the express wishes of a post's original author in cases where it is clearly important to do so.

    If I'm guessing correctly about what question you're talking about, the unnecessary criticism doesn't really get in the way of the question. At least not in a severe way. It isn't inflammatory and the question as a whole is well-written even with it.

  • We're used to seeing criticism of Ubuntu that violates community standards--though sometimes the criticism is just a vehicle for violating community standards, and is not seriously intended on its own. We're less used to seeing praise that violates community standards but this does happen from time to time and it should be tolerated no more or less than similarly problematic criticism. If someone says:

    Ubuntu rocks. Far better than OS/2! Ubuntu users are kings and queens of the world while OS/2 Warp users are &(^*& $%^&s who $&%* every !@#$ that *)(!es the &^*%. They *(^_ themselves when they see Ubuntu's mighty UI! OS/2 wishes it could search Amazon from the desktop; instead, it can only (*^( and %^&*__*(^*(()$$ with goats and *(*^)es.

    Even if you personally think OS/2 Warp users are no-good goat %^&*__*(^*(()$$ers, you'd still best edit that out!

    If any of those character sequences turns out to actually mean something, please accept my humblest apologies!

  • Sometimes, someone says something to get their message out or start a discussion. In that case, what they want to do is often quite legitimate (whether or not their beliefs are right). But Ask Ubuntu is not a good or appropriate place for it. In that case, it's a good idea to comment explaining that they should post on a forum or blog. If referring users to particular forums, it's a good idea to remind them to read those forums' policies or FAQs before posting.

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I think the paragraph beginning with "If unnecessary criticism or praise is rolled back by the author," clarifies my mind. Plus, the question as it stood originally was already adequately answered before my suggested edit. –  user25656 Jan 4 '13 at 5:21
Bad example, everyone loves OS/2! –  Jorge Castro Jan 4 '13 at 13:28
Eliah where did you learn to swear like that? –  Tom Brossman Jan 4 '13 at 22:01
What did you say OS/2 users are??? locks Eliah's account for indeterminate time Be gone! :) –  Bruno Pereira Jan 14 '13 at 11:04
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