What exactly are the rules for massively editing/retagging questions?

Per Gilles in the chat, all efforts like that need to be approved beforehand. And I see his point. Having SO many edits flood the front page when they seemed inconsequential does make it look like a stunt. And it causes new, more relevant posts to disappear and possibly lose user viability.

But to play Devil's Advocate, why does something like that need approval when it helps the site in the long run? And why would what Sachin Shekhar did with his recent Star Trek overhaul be denied as Gilles says would have happened if Sachin asked for permission?

What would a good plan of action be for future people who want to take it upon themselves to "clean up" the site a bit? When does it become "too much" editing, where's that threshold?

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    SE shouldn't promote edited question to front page after it detects mass edit. Promoting upto 5 questions would be fine..
    – user931
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 4:15
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    @SachinShekhar Feel free to take that up on meta.SO, if you think the feature should be changed. Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 15:50
  • I agree with Sachin (was hoping that'd be raised as an answer so I could vote it up) - I don't think edits should promote to the front page as there doesn't seem to be much, if any, benefit from it as opposed to a new answer doing so.
    – dlanod
    Commented Apr 26, 2012 at 4:09
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    @SachinShekhar, dlanod: No, that would be a terrible feature. The fact that they show up is an additional feature to detect misuse. A malevolent user could go and retag a lot of very old star-trek questions with star-wars and vice versa, without anyone noticing. You shouldn't mass-retag and the system should show it up for everybody to check, if you do!
    – bitmask
    Commented Apr 29, 2012 at 2:58
  • @bitmask Great... You've point. :)
    – user931
    Commented Apr 29, 2012 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


There isn't a hard limit, but here are a couple of guidelines:

  • No flooding the front page. If you're thinking of making minor edits to more than a handful¹ of posts, consider asking around. If you're thinking of making minor edits to more than two handfuls, do ask on meta first.
  • If you're going to do something that has a major impact, ask first. Even moderators are bound by this guideline; for example we asked before closing ~80 questions in one go when the site was young and the scope was taking form.

It's nice that you're improving the site, but pace yourself. Concentrate on the new posts and the old but unanswered questions first; improving and bumping these is good. If it comes to tweaking the tags or correcting the grammar in old, answered posts, don't do more than a handful¹ in one sitting².

This has come up before on other Stack Exchange sites:

¹ Most human hands have 5 fingers.
² Humans tend to act while seated. Assume one sitting per Sol 3 day, really.

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    Putting this as delicately as I can; Mods don't always ask. Other than that, +1
    – bitmask
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 21:39
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    @bitmask I was talking about mass actions, not single acts. There's a big difference between acting on one question in an easily reversible way, and taking actions that while reversible, spoil the site for others and take significant effort to reverse.
    – user56
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 21:46
  • Apologies for flooding the front page with old answered questions. I'd ask it in meta first for such mass re-tagging. But, would it not pose the same problem if I get permission? Or, should I assume, I'd never get permission for that?
    – user931
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 4:10
  • To test your suggestion (on chat room), I have just searched [harry*] using search box, but the result page isn't displaying harry-potter tagged questions.
    – user931
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 4:22
  • Yes, your URL based search is working that way, but.. isn't it somewhat tricky for new users?
    – user931
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 4:26
  • TL;DR: pace yourself. when planning on editing a large batch of questions, don't do more than the number of fingers on your dominant hand per day.
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 14:30
  • @SachinShekhar It's not exactly a matter of permission, more of a matter of discussing it with others first (and perhaps hearing good arguments against doing it). Regarding the tag wildcard search, the UI does seem to be broken, I'm looking for information on Meta Stack Exchange right now.
    – user56
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 23:17
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    @SachinShekhar See Add ability to use wildcarded tags in search and the devs have been prodded.
    – user56
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 23:23
  • Eh, just caught myself doing it (the ramifications, that is) by seeing how I showed up in 'Active' Questions- but not in time as @NominSim called me out on it. This is a Thing.
    – Solemnity
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 6:38

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