I posted a question. The question was answered, and the question is not in question. The title contained something, which is a tag, that was "organic to the conversational nature of the post". It was edited out. I reverted it back. The person to edit this out has since LOCKED the post so their edit is final.

Is the poster NOT the arbiter of the content of their post?


2 Answers 2


To answer the surface question — no:

Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work?

All contributions are licensed under Creative Commons […] If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you.

Effectively, a post is “owned” by the community.† When it comes to what the question is asking it is pragmatic that the poster has final say about that (though we have exceptions even there) because we're here to answer real questions, not what we might wish people would ask. But when it comes to details of the post that amount to site-management, both the rules of the site and pragmatics mean community standards trump the post author.

To answer the unasked question which is actually at issue:

No, we don't put tags in titles when we can at all help it. “[question] in D&D 3.5e” and “In D&D 3.5e [question]” are both proscribed title formats. As that is a site-management issue, the author wanting to staple the name of the game onto the front of the question doesn't trump community management rules.

As a rule of thumb, if the title can still be a comprehensible title without the game's name in there, it will be edited out. The only exceptions are when it is integrated inextricably into the grammar of the title and removing it is not possible. Since it is trivially removed in this case, it is not organic to the nature of the title.

Keep in mind that anyone on the site can see the tags, and anyone seeing the question on Google will have the most popular tag on the question automatically prepended to the title, and dnd-3.5e - In DnD 3.5 can you see the moon with the spot skill? showing up on Google makes us look like a bag of illiterate gerbils. The only place where no tags are visible either attached to the question nor prepended to the title is in the Hot Network Questions list, but we don't alter our titles to serve that view if it does a disservice to the two normal views (site and external search).

† The legalities are more nuanced. Legally, the community has a non-exclusive, irrevocable, permanent license to the version submitted to and hosted by the community, and has full rights to alter it regardless of the wishes of the author. That's not technically ownership in the legal sense, but for purposes local to the site is effectively ownership in the pedestrian sense. The author retains full rights to their original version, which they can do with as they like elsewhere, as they hold the actual copyright. So in common (not legal) parlance the community “owns” the specific copy of the content hosted here on RPG.se and the community's rules apply fully to it, but RPG.se can't stop the author from using it elsewhere.

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    \$\begingroup\$ They are not 'essentially owned by the community', they are explicitly owned by the poster. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tritium21 Explain? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Read the license at the bottom of the page. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tritium21 Hence “essentially”. If you want to talk legalities, the poster owns the original content submitted, but the site has irrevocable, permanent license to the specific version submitted. The community, in a more colloquial sense, therefore “owns” the version of the post that is hosted and distributed by the community. So yes, you're right, but not in a way that's remotely relevant to the version distributed here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 17:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you cannot respect my license, delete the content \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tritium21 The license under which you provided the text does not provide you the option to revoke it (hence “irrevocable”) and is not being broken/disrespected anyway. You can ask for a specific piece of content to be disassociated from your name, but you cannot require the content to be removed from the site. Besides, that is somewhat nuclear for the issue in question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it a valid action to delete a question, if one is the querent in question? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 18:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Not usually. Especially not over a few letters in the title. (Destroying content is one of the things that can result in suspension.) An author that doesn't want to be associated with a post anymore has the option to have their name removed from it (“disassociation”), which can be requested from the Community Managers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 18:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Incidentally, we have no policy against mentioning the system being used in the body text of a question, so editing it in is an option if you think the tag isn't enough. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 23:46

Usually yes, we try to respect the OP's content wishes and if there's an edit conflict we tend to let them have their way. That's not an absolute right, but we tend to err on that side in many cases.

Of course in some cases, when editing the content for cause, we do not.

This is admittedly an edge case. It's not something foul or illegal being edited out to where I consider the edit absolutely mandatory, but here on RPG.SE we try to not put game systems in titles, we do not consider that "organic to the conversational nature of the post," see: Should questions include System/Setting in title if tagged with system/setting?. You'll note by looking at the entire front page of posts that we don't do this unless the game name is a direct subject of the post title (e.g. "How do I learn Dungeons & Dragons" doesn't make sense without it, but "How do I double-wield" (with tag) does).

However there's nothing about this that requires having a snit fit on anyone's part, or discussions about deleting or dissociating or licensing or whatnot. We prefer not to put game names in the title when it's an indirect part and rely on tags and/or body, that's pretty simple. It got edited in a routine way for that. For that to get escalated from edit war to locking to meta posts to deletion threats is a sign that someone needs to go take a nap. It's really not a big deal and you should probably look deeper into why you think it is one.

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    \$\begingroup\$ One could argue that the "war", locking and meta thread all were forced by a moderator. Certainly, neither locking nor the meta thread that they were told to open was originally Tritium21's idea. If it's "not a big deal", forcing a user to comply would not have been needed? I'm not saying it was wrong by the letter of the law or help page, but the means seem to be overly strict for something that's not a big deal. That "nap taking" advice goes both ways. \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 9:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt As a moderator I don't start edit wars; I end them. If someone thinks they can edit war to get their way, they're asking to be shown their error and reminded of how we do things 'round here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 16:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie And by ending it this way, you left one more disgruntled user. Sometimes, using less force is more helpful than using the full force available, regardless of who is ultimately right. \$\endgroup\$
    – nvoigt
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt It's true, a lighter hand is needed in some contexts. But in this case, the user is already disgruntled at me, and I take a dim view of disrupting the site to try to score points. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 16:23

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