This discussion is about why a seemingly valid edit was rolled back.

Recently I asked a question that was off-topic due to the cabling being in a residential location rather than a business location.

The question was placed on hold. The description quite clearly asked me to reword the question to be on topic:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit your question ...

I followed the request and reworded the question to fit the rules in the help center. The question, as reworded, was now presumably on topic.

The moderator who asked me to reword the question then rolled the edit back and made the question off topic again. I undid that and he redid it.

My question is: Why did a moderator ask me to reword the question to be on topic, then rollback the edits that were asked for? I am wholly confused about the intention. The "on hold" system was applied and used effectively.

Please note that this post primarily concerns the action of edits being rolled back. Even if the edits did not put the question on topic, were they invalid edits? Why were they rolled back (twice)?

3 Answers 3


Even if the edits did not put the question on topic, were they invalid edits?

There is no "rewording" of home networking that can ever make it on topic. You admit with the original post that it was "home wiring". That is absolutely beyond scope here. In short, what has been said cannot be un-said; your edit didn't rework anything, but removed a relevant part of the question that, unfortunately, makes it off topic.

Why were they rolled back (twice)?

Edits that obscure that fact will be rolled back to avoid confusion, and restore the original intent of the question.

Why did a moderator ask me to reword the question to be on topic, then rollback the edits that were asked for?

The comment attached is the same comment attached to all "on hold" questions. Moving questions directly to closed was seen as too harsh, so everything goes through a "hold" period first.

  • In other words, "If the question can be reworded" doesn't apply here. This home networking question cannot be re-worded to be on-topic without lying. I was on the road when this happened and was going to reply this morning, but Ricky said most of what I was going to say. I would only add that it helps to be patient and perhaps a little humble when you're new to a stack. SE sites have unique communities that cater to people with specific expertise; those sites also have close-voting patterns that may feel foreign to those used to other stack exchange sites. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 11:53
  • FWIW, occasionally I reword home networking questions that could reasonably be on-topic here... this question is a good example. However, no amount of massaging can make home cabling questions on-topic. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 12:36
  • Thank you, this is a thoughtful response but does not address my questions, which were indicated in bold. In no other context on any SE site is it common practice to rollback edits that attempt to make the answer valid but fail. In all cases the action is to leave the edits and leave the question on hold or close it. Why were the edits rolled back?
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 14:31
  • Off-topic: As far as rewording home network questions to make them on topic, there are certainly re-wordings. For example, every question that is not about home networking is potentially a home networking question that was reworded prior to posting, and you didn't know.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 14:33
  • @MikePennington "However, no amount of massaging can make home cabling questions on-topic" - The usual etiquette when a question on hold is edited, but the edit fails to make the question on topic, is to leave the question on hold and ultimately close it, not to roll back the edits. So again, why were the edits rolled back? And no, the behavior of "I have a strong dislike for this type of question, therefore I will break normal etiquette when dealing with it" is certainly not unique to any specific SE site - what is unique is how well certain users control that behavior.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 14:36
  • @MikePennington Off-topic: "This home networking question cannot be re-worded to be on-topic without lying." You would have let the question go without issue and not have noticed any lies had it not been in the edit history, of course. Again, from what I have observed on all SE sites I have visited (and granted it may be different here), the usual approach is to focus on the question itself in its current form.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 14:41
  • 2
    Not when the question is clearly about a home wiring issue. The edit(s) were rolled back to restore that element in the question. Yes, if one were to ask a general question, even if the poster is working in a residential/consumer context. You failed in this respect by outing yourself in the first sentence. Any edit to later obscure that fact WILL be rolledback.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:01
  • @RickyBeam I see where you are coming from although I stand by the more commonly observed (on other SE sites at least, which are different than this one) behavior of judging a question based on its current form and independent of past information, which was edited out for a reason. I believe edits should be respected. We will have to agree to disagree there, I suppose.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:21
  • 1
    No SE site allows "substantive changes" to the question. (eg. editing a question about ponies to be about kittens) Editing a question to hide the fact that it's "home networking" falls into this bin.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:31

Why did a moderator ask me to reword the question to be on topic, then rollback the edits that were asked for? I am wholly confused about the intention. The "on hold" system was applied and used effectively.

Let's be clear: I did not ask you to reword the question, I said "SuperUser is the right place to ask this question". You promptly took my advice and got a helpful resolution to your problem.

As Ricky already pointed out, there is no amount of rewording that helps home networking questions to be on-topic. As for your comment that other questions could have been home networking questions, that is beside the point. Your question was a home networking question; and that is the only SE question up for debate in this Meta discussion.

Even if the edits did not put the question on topic, were they invalid edits? Why were they rolled back (twice)?

Quoting the help/edit from the Help Center: "Try to make the post substantively better when you edit". Your edits were not making the post better, in fact they were obfuscating the nature of the disagreement. I rolled it back so the community could have a discussion about the question you asked, not the question you wish you asked.Note 1

In manymost cases, edits like that could improve a post; however, the community has expressed a strong disinterest in walking the general public through home networking problems. The equipment and techniques used at home and professional network cabling environments are very different; thus "where you're building the cable, and who builds the cable" matters.

Please trust the community to fairly evaluate your question in the context of what we have voted on and off-topic. You might not like how we voted, but that's not something that new users can randomly show up and coerce us into changing.

If you want to understand the reasons for the scope of the site as status-quo, you can ask Meta questions (as you did).

Note 1Quite arguably, it's not easy to foist a home cabling question on the site, because our default questions are going to be along the lines of "What did your cable installer, or cable tester tell you?" Similarly, we have a long list of questions for other subjects, which otherwise sniff out residential networking queries.

  • No, you did ask me to reword my question, by putting it on hold. If that was not what you meant then you should have deleted it. Surely you agree that you should use the system we have in place to accurately reflect what you really mean, no? Otherwise you are just confusing. Had you immediately closed, or just deleted, the question, I would have reacted differently. You placed the question on hold, and this is an active invite for rewording. If you are not sure the difference between "on hold" and "delete" there are plenty of resources in the help center.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:19
  • I think it's time to stop pointless debates about "On hold" for your question. At some point in the future, we might build a custom close reason for home cabling. In the mean time, the reality is your cable works, the community agrees that home cabling is off-topic, and you're not making yourself look better by bludgeoning a dead horse. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:23
  • For more information about questions being placed on hold, see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/10582/…, in particular: "What does it mean for a question to be on hold? ... This is meant to convey that the question requires improvement and may be reopened if improved." I understand that you have a personal vendetta against home networking questions and also may be a bit defensive because your moderation style is being called into question, but I do expect moderators to stick to common SE etiquette and use the system correctly. I am OK with how I look.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:23
  • 2
    @JasonC, moderators no longer close a question. StackExchange decide that the system was too harsh and many questions that could be edited were not. When we take an action that used to be considered "closing" it is generally put on hold for a period of time instead. The system then closes (and deletes) questions that meet the criteria for closing. Deletion is generally considered a major action, and we generally don't delete questions that are not harmful to the community (i.e. spam, inflammatory, insulting, etc). The correct course of action for an off-topic post is to put it "on hold."
    – YLearn
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:27
  • @YLearn Mike put the question "on hold" with the predisposition that it could never be edited to be on topic, and even reverted attempted edits to make it on topic. If SE decided questions should be left on hold to allow a chance for editing and to reduce harshness, but Mike placed the question on hold and effectively made it an immediate close by pre-judging and rolling back edits, then Mike still used the system incorrectly by subverting the "give-it-a-chance" reasons for that policy. Either way, this wasn't the correct way to handle this question.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:38
  • 2
    @JasonC, having worked with Mike over the past year+, I will state that you are wrong. I would further say you are deliberately misinterpreting the actions of the moderator to prop up your position, despite any explanation from any other source. A second moderator (myself) agrees with the actions taken in this case, as does another non-moderator member of the community who has chosen to provide input. No one has taken your side. At this point, it is clear that further discussion is not helpful and barring any new relevant information, I won't waste any more of my time on the matter.
    – YLearn
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:45
  • @JasonC, the community seems to support my rollbacks. Your next channel to complain seems to be an email to [email protected]. I think you should take a day or so to consider how important this is to you... honestly, I think you're getting into attention-diva mode and you should consider a more productive use of your time. Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:46
  • Let me be clear that I am not propping up my question and have no arguments about blatant home networking being off-topic here after reading comments here and posts on meta. I asked the question on SU yesterday immediately after seeing the advice, received some answers, solved the problem (for the most part), and all was well there. My question does not need to exist on NE at all. But, I have always actively confronted seemingly biased (for any reason) moderator actions on SE and non-SE sites alike, and will continue to do so, and I feel it is a productive use of my time.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:49

There are a couple of great answers here that speak more generally. I will give a very specific answer as to why I would roll back these edits.

In your edit, you removed a key piece of information, namely that you used a continuity tester. Further, in your comments you claim to use a professional tester. As a continuity tester is not a professional cable tester, this misleads those who would potentially answer this question based on the way the question was then provided.

The edit in this case not only does not improve the question in any way, it goes out of it's way to mislead the community. The community will then base any answers on false information and provide answers that are likely not relevant to the actual question. This wastes the community's time and doesn't help the person asking the question.

As such, it is in the community's best interest to roll back the edit.

  • This reasoning is disingenuous. Had this been the real reason it would have been stated at the time, and the correct approach would have been to only re-add the information about the continuity tester rather than rolling back the whole edit (twice). All evidence suggests the rollbacks were Mike having a knee-jerk reaction to a pet-peeve question. Had your explanation been the real reason at that time, it would have taken less than 21 hours to formulate it.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:43
  • As I said in the second sentence, "why I would roll back these edits." Simply, Mike did before I did. While the exact reasons may differ slightly, the effect is the same. Frankly, why would we waste our volunteer time to edit fixing a previous valueless edit when we can roll back with one click?
    – YLearn
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:51
  • Twice as many clicks as that, to pick nits. He rolled back twice (which further belies your reasoning in this answer), and likely would have continued a rollback war had I not had the sense to not try again.
    – Jason C
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 18:56
  • 1
    Actually, he rolled back, you redid the same (or nearly so) edit, and he rolled it back again (and subsequently locked it to get you to chat or meta where this sort of back-and-forth belongs)
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 0:44

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