Since we have a such small community, and are in need of everyone who finds us, we have to consider the way we treat newcomers.

The most imporant and natural way is to vote, I suppose. Should we keep in mind that the user is a newcomer? Maybe pay a little extra attention to those questions?

Should we avoid editing posts made by newcomers (to any extent)? Even though it is completely irrational, I do believe (although I have no evidence of this) that having your question edited can have a discouraging effect. It is important that people feel welcome. Of course, there are cases when we should edit also the posts of newcomers. But where should the line be drawn? I've tried to make a list of examples, ranging from a very necessary edit to edits of which the gain is less obvious.

  • Removing undebatable mistake
  • Converting from the x-system
  • Formatting
  • English spelling
  • English grammar
  • Puncuation
  • Making sentences shorter
  • Making sentences "sound better" (is this what is called "stylistic changes"?)
  • Remove greetings

Whether or not to be picky about tags is another thing we can discuss. I'm not sure where to place that on my list.

I also think there is a possible alternative to editing: leaving a nice comment asking the user to correct it himself/herself.

What do you all say?

(Earlier I started a thread regarding edits, with several sides to it. But, I think this specific matter can be discussed separeately. Therefore, I removed the topic from the other question and started this one. I believe it made no damage since none of the comments or answers in the last question had anything to do with newcomers.)

  • Possible duplicate of What should be our standpoints for edits?
    – apaderno
    Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 12:10
  • 2
    I realized we should discuss this separately. I will edit the other question, and remove the part about newcomers. It should be fine since none of the anwers or comments mention newcomers specifically. Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 16:26
  • I feel it is still a duplicate, since newcomers are a sub-set of the users of a site. If there is a different approach for newcomers, an answer to the other question should point that out.
    – apaderno
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 16:32
  • 1
    I see what you mean, but I want a more direct response. I feel like the opinion of the other users hasn't been presented to me regardig this yet. I edited the other question now, to make things more clear. Anyone who thinks we should not have a different approach for newcomers is more than welcome to post that as an answer to this question. Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 21:11
  • Do we have any data to backup what said here, for example the number of edits done on questions asked by newcomers? How do you define a user newcomer? Do you consider the reputation a user has on EL, or the network reputation? In this case, what is the reputation limit under which a user falls in the newcomer category?
    – apaderno
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 5:59

2 Answers 2


I think I count as a newcomer, maybe a semi-newcomer by now?

Some extra consideration for my newness would be appreciated, as I only want to contribute to the efforts being made here with posts that are up to standard, because all I want for Esperantujo is some high-quality information and discussion being generated here--but along the way I have to figure out the internal customs, culture, and netiquette specific to StackExchange, as well as the site's actual features. It's a bit of a hurdle.

I didn't realize there was an edit feature awarded to users eventually, so I think I would have appreciated first seeing a courteous comment with a suggestion for improvement, or at least a comment explaining the edit after it had taken place. Being edited with no explanation and not even knowing it was a feature of StackExchange would have been a bit bewildering to me. Now I know it's a feature, so I'm not going to be surprised when it happens.

I think the top 3 things on your list of edit types can be done without problem and just mentioned afterwards in a comment. Everything following that strikes me as something that might be better handled with a polite suggestion in the comments...Although I do see a potential for off-topic arguing when someone suggests a correction to someone's English grammar (especially since we are potentially speaking with a mixture of native and non-native English speakers, and the topic we have all gathered to discuss is an entirely different language--I just see it veering off into emotional grammar battles that aren't even about Esperanto--and this would definitely be off-putting for me).

I think it's good to be picky about tags. Organization is a good thing. I have no idea what tags are best to use and would appreciate some guidance with the questions I've posted so far. This is another thing I think people with edit powers can just handle and comment on after. Leaving an explanatory comment at least leaves the new person the option to make a case for themself if they don't like it, or to ask how to do better in the future.

  • Thank you! This is exactly the kind of answer I'm looking for, and coming from a newcomer too! Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 18:54

As a newcomer, I very much appreciated Vanege's edit of one of my first questions (here) that actually was probably among the first continuous stretches of text I wrote in Esperanto only, if not the first ever. I remember feeling very cautious about every word and hesitating to post the question. The edit gave me confidence that while wrong, it was not too bad, and the edit history is fantastic in that it highlights where the changes have been made. If people just told me in the comments "this is wrong, and this, and that" instead, I would not have felt very motivated towards writing any more questions in Eo anytime soon.

But I think it's important that I had prior experience from other SE sites. I knew what edits are, where to find who did what and why, that often courtesies (like "Thanks in advance!") end up removed, or that language or style in general is often adjusted without any malicious intent just to better match the overall pattern.

Therefore, I suggest for consideration a solution I adopted on Stack Overflow: before making an edit, I just have a quick glance at the rep. If it's > 100, the user came from another site where they already had some reputation, and thus presumably knows how things go. Do what you feel like to make the contribution look good (I agree basically with all your bullet points). If they have one or two digits, I either just leave a comment with a link to the help centre, or explain my change and the reason for it right after making it.

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