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I've only been reviewing suggested edits for a bit over a month, but in that time, I have never once seen an acceptable edit from an anonymous user. I have had to reject all anonymous edits (almost all as "attempt to reply") because they criticize, change the meaning of the answer, say thanks, or don't help at all.

I understand that Stack Exchange wants to make it possible for anonymous/unregistered people to participate. Considering the width and composition of the unregistered audience of this site, however, it looks like anonymous edits here are more trouble than they're worth. It appears that people with tech problems come sailing in from Google, click around until they find a text field relevant to a particular answer, and dump their thoughts into it without putting any effort or commitment into this community and its policies.

Has anyone seen any good anonymous edits? Is my assessment of their value correct?

  • I'm unclear on the purpose of this question. Is the end goal to change SE policy? – Faheem Mitha Feb 8 '16 at 13:17
  • @FaheemMitha I'm thinking that such a change might be a good idea here. I'm trying to see if anybody has a good reason for allowing anonymous suggested edits despite all the problems mentioned above. – Ben N Feb 8 '16 at 17:15
  • Ok. I think these policies are SE wide. Would SE even consider modifying them selectively on a per-site basis? Also, there doesn't seem to be a proper mechanism of submitting such proposals to SE that I am aware of. I too (in U&L) have suggested changes that people agreed with (based on upvotes), but then nothing happened. See Add suggestions in user template about mentioning OS/distribution and version for example. – Faheem Mitha Feb 8 '16 at 21:35
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    The percentage is low, but every once in a while I see good, useful edits submitted anonymously. As a matter of principle, though, I think it would be better if edits required some "skin in the game", i.e., originate from a user account. "worth the trouble?" can be addressed with the skip button. – fixer1234 Feb 9 '16 at 0:46
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Unfortunately most of the edits coming from anonymous users - as you wrote - are useless.

However sometimes I see the original author of a post coming back and editing anonymously (probably already forgot his password or just don't care to sign in). In this case having the possibility this possibility is the only chance of the post to be improved by the author.

Considering also that majority of those edits are really poor quality (you don't really need to spend much time to assess and reject them), I think this functionality of the site is ok.

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