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Here have been a few puzzles lately with "mistakes" in them that on any other site, the right thing to do would be to edit and fix. Here on puzzling, not only does the author undo the help, in some cases there are angry comments objecting to the edits.

Is this ok? I don't think so. "I never make mistakes" is a ridiculous claim, but even if it were true, nobody should be expected to memorize which question-posers are perfect.

I'd like to see a policy for askers that if their mistakes are deliberate they just rollback the edit and refrain from criticizing the edit or demanding the editor ask first. These angry comments are getting upvoted.

We could adjust the editing tips to explain that we're different, but a general "don't edit" seems wrong to me.

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    $\begingroup$ A pretty simple solution would just be to ask before making an edit, especially if your rep is high enough that an edit you make would go through automatically. It's a very simple courtesy that takes a trivial amount of effort and saves everyone a lot of trouble. $\endgroup$ – question_asker Mar 29 '16 at 12:09
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    $\begingroup$ My point is precisely and exactly that editors should not be expected to ask before editing. Asking before editing is not a solution to "you shouldn't have to ask before editing." $\endgroup$ – Kate Gregory Mar 29 '16 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I'd agree if we were sure that editors were perfect judges of correctness, but we're not, and in fact the track record leads me to believe we should be more critical of editors, not less. $\endgroup$ – question_asker Mar 29 '16 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ The editors can't read your mind. That doesn't make them imperfect. You can just roll it back. You don't need to criticize them. They thought they were helping. It's inappropriate to be angry at them for it. This sort of thing makes newcomers feel unwelcome. You're the experienced person who knows the secret of the post; quietly use your knowledge (that they don't have) to make it right. $\endgroup$ – Kate Gregory Mar 29 '16 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ The problem is your interpretation of a mistake, Kate. While, on any other SE site, something like an image is considered a mistake because text will work, equally, the same does not flow true for this site. In the case of a puzzle, an image may be the most important part of a puzzle (as it was in at least one of your examples.) Removal of the image may violate the edit rule of changing the "meaning" of the puzzle. $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha Mar 29 '16 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ I am not objecting to rolling back the edit. I am objecting to responding angrily to the editor. $\endgroup$ – Kate Gregory Mar 29 '16 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ This sort of thing makes newcomers feel unwelcome - this is literally exactly backward. It's the editors, who have been here for ages, incorrectly making edits to posts (in at least one of those cases, they edited out something that could have only been put there deliberately) of new users. Those new users are the ones who are not going to want to come back, knowing that their posts will be immediately changed in a way that mischaracterizes them. $\endgroup$ – question_asker Mar 29 '16 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ And @Khale_Kitha makes a good point - this site is different than other SE sites, and we should recognize that. To everyone's credit, I think the regular users here mostly do. $\endgroup$ – question_asker Mar 29 '16 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ Read the last paragraph of my question. I think the editing help should explain we are different . But when folks get it wrong, we should remember rule 1: Be Nice. $\endgroup$ – Kate Gregory Mar 29 '16 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ I'm understanding the point you're trying to get at, though, Kate. You're annoyed that people are fighting back at edits. For an author to state "I never make mistakes" is a bit much, but we also need to be careful what edits we make. As such, however, there is no reason for someone to get up-in-arms about an edit unless it is being, obviously, done maliciously. $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha Mar 29 '16 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ My edits?? Absolutely NOT. I have no edits on those posts and nobody has rolled back or criticized an edit of mine. I am objecting to anger directed at other people (and upvoted) because it is hurting the mood of the site $\endgroup$ – Kate Gregory Mar 29 '16 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you, I clashed with the asker of the first linked question and thought about taking this to Meta but didn't want to appear any more combative. I wholeheartedly agree with this post and the accepted answer. Another point to keep in mind is that those who are trying to gain rep are able to propose edits sooner than they can comment (this is how I almost always overcome noob status on SE sites), so asking first is a very noninclusive practice. $\endgroup$ – feelinferrety Mar 30 '16 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe there is a simple way to prevent the necessity for authors to rollback and/or users to be concerned with editing entirely. A tag called No-Edit (or something similar) could be created. The sole purpose of the tag would be to warn users that the question's spelling & formatting are deliberate and should not be edited. Personally, I am grateful to those who edit my posts, as I nearly always seem to have (at least) a few formatting errors, but I also recognize that editing could do more harm than good in certain situations. $\endgroup$ – Matthew0898 Apr 3 '16 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Matthew0898 that tag is too meta to exist, I think. $\endgroup$ – Raystafarian Apr 6 '16 at 16:07
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  • I would think that 99% of the edits on this site are done with good and friendly intention (and the remaining 1% are spam and some destructive stuff).
  • And out of these 99% edits with good and friendly intention, a minuscule fraction collides with the wording of the puzzle (as in the two examples listed by Kate).

For me this now makes it very clear that the default should be: Perform your edits without asking. In the few cases where this indeed causes trouble, the question author should simply do a rollback.

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    $\begingroup$ Agree with your assessment - perform your edits without asking, but keep in mind that imagery may not necessarily be a "mistake," due to the nature of this site. People being edited need to keep in mind that editors are not there to harass them, and should refrain from being defensive. $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha Mar 29 '16 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ How about we set an 'edit flag'? That way the asker could discourage edits if they wanted to: 'The asker prefers that this question not be edited'. It's a lame example text, but something should work; kind of like a protected question. $\endgroup$ – cst1992 Apr 7 '16 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ I post this because naturally some new users object to someone else editing their posts, as they come from sites/cultures where the sole editor is the poster. $\endgroup$ – cst1992 Apr 7 '16 at 14:22
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Perhaps the perfect, I-will-make-no-mistakes authors should learn how to use HTML comments:

Given how easily my previous problems have been solved,
I am unwiling to give any hints. 
<!-- Misspelling is intentional! -->
But maybe one won’t hurt.

will display to readers as

Given how easily my previous problems have been solved, I am unwiling to give any hints.  But maybe one won’t hurt.

and the comment will be visible only to people who edit the post or otherwise do handstands to see the source text.

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