I was recently involved in a series of back-and-forth edits to the tags of a question. In particular, the question lacked any explicit statement or tag designating the system, so it was closed in accordance with our don't guess the system policy.1
Another user (not the querent) added a system tag without any confirmation from the querent about the system. I reverted the edit, the tag was added again, and again I reverted the edit.
What happens if someone suggests a bad edit?
If a user without edit privileges proposes an edit that does not comply with the guidelines above, it is ordinarily rejected in the review process. Even if a bad edit is applied to a post, other users will generally fix it. Users with sufficient reputation may elect to roll back the post to a previous version (by viewing the revision history of the post and selecting the version they would like to display).
From my perspective, I felt I was reverting a "bad edit" (read: non-compliant) to maintain compliance with our policy. I was later accused of inciting an edit war (by the other editor).
Is this an appropriate course of action to take? How should I have handled this?
I haven't found a meta.rpg post concerning edit wars, so I think it would be helpful to establish some best practice for non-moderators for handling situations where a user is insistent on making poor or policy violating edits.
A thorough answer should address:
- What is an edit war?
- When should users stop reverting bad edits to a question and let the moderators handle it?
- Should this be handled differently for situations where the edits are clear policy violations (such as guessing system tags) vs. substantive edits to the question body?
1It should be noted that the "Don't Guess the System" policy is now obsolete.