Declining changing post title

Someone has changed the title of my post. But I disagree, with the change, because it changes the intended content of the post. Can I decline this change?

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Which post?

I don’t think you can do that, the system relies on users who have the right to do such edits acting with good will.

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I assume you commented on the thread itself pointing out that someone had changed the title in a way that you disagreed with? Did the person who made the change explain why they had done so, and if you still disagreed, did they refuse to change it back?

It seems like this is something that should be fixed simply by discussing the problem on the post itself, rather than looking for some sort of unilateral “decline” button.


I think the real problem is that, if someone else than the author edits a post, then it should be visibly marked as such; which moderators currently don’t bother doing.

And to answer a potential objection: no, the edit count alone isn’t enough, because by default it is reasonable to assume that edits are made by the author themselves. Nobody will spend their time looking through edit histories to find out whether some changes were done by a moderator.


The original title of “Official documentation” gives no hint as to what the content of the post was, so it looks like a best effort attempt by a moderator to improve it. If you disagree with the precise change, could you not update it again?

I agree, and wish Discourse built this in better, but if we are to attempt this with the software we have, we would need to settle on conventions. Here are a couple thoughts: 1) For edited titles, add [mod] to titles to indicate non-author modification. The author could accept the new title by removing [mod]. 2) In an edited post, append:


<details><summary>Moderation history</summary>

* Description of moderation action 1.
* ...


Agreed. I’ve only changed a post title once, and the UI seems very minimal. No log of what happened, no place to record an explanation of why the title was changed. And yes, I could add a post to the thread saying why I made the change, but that feels like a disruption of the conversation for what is often simple admin (typo corrections, for example) - although it clearly wasn’t in this case.

That seems like it’s a fairly general “theme” with Discourse, though - administrative or “privileged user” actions typically have little or no audit trail or accountability by default[1]. Our moderators (and users, as actions like editing a post title doesn’t require moderator access) are generally very good, but the lack of a clear audit trail does give an unnecessary impression of high-handedness, and correcting that impression is an extra “pre-emptively defending yourself” burden most of the time.

All of this being said, the original issue here seems like it could have been handled much more simply just by the OP saying in the thread “I don’t agree with the way the title has been edited, so I’ve attempted to re-word it again. Do people think it looks OK now?”

  1. or at least it’s not very discoverable ↩︎


You can view edits in this button at the top right of the post: image

I don’t think so. New users are not allowed to edit their own posts after some time.


The original post under discussion here (linked above) has the pencil icon against the post title, but doesn’t show who’s edited it, or what the edits were.

Yes, for edits to the text of posts there’s a history changes (although I don’t recall if it says who made the change, but I guess it probably does).

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I just checked it. The history shows changes to the title just as it does with the post body, with a diff and who did it. Perhaps you clicked the “edit title and category” button instead of the “edit history” button?

Oh, the topic title change is logged as a change to the first post as opposed to the title/category (which is where the actual change was presumably made). Well doh. I guess my footnote “or at least it’s not very discoverable” applies, then :slightly_frowning_face:

Thanks for the pointer.


I’m sorry that Discourse doesn’t have a clear UI for people to find this, or that people don’t want to use that UI when they do know about it. However, I don’t plan to start peppering every edited post with notes that duplicate what the history will already show. That’s noisy and not a sustainable use of moderator time. And it makes it more likely for people to talk about their opinions on the edits rather than staying on whatever the actual topic is.


At the same time IMO moderators should respect the posters and only step in when it’s getting overheated. Editing posts or titles should be treated with extreme care. The moderators don’t own the server – the community owns it.


I’m going to moderate things to keep them on topic, and if that can be done before there are big problems then that’s good. I do not view posters with disrespect when I decide that something needs to be edited. But moderators do occasionally but regularly deal with strongly worded messages that suggest that they do not respect the community, which is really draining.

The community does own the forum. That’s a principle of Discourse, everyone above certain automated trust levels can participate in improving posts and flagging issues, because they’re generally trusted to be familiar with the community and what keeps things going well. The moderators are part of the community too, so they do take part in that ownership.

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I think we should come up with a set of written rules how moderation is expected to work.

Please note that we used to use mailing lists for a very long while and Discourse was/is meant to replace those mailing lists with a mechanism which allows for better handling of splitting off topics into new threads and occasional CoC issues, but not really to limit expression.

Things like long running threads, repeated discussions and sometimes heated discussions were normal on mailing lists and are very much part of the Python culture we have. If people enjoy the discussion, they should be able to do so, without moderation kicking in.

For mailing lists, it was easy to mute a thread. Discourse makes this even easier. There’s no need to shut down threads. People can just walk away – very much like they do in real life at conferences and similar events.

Regarding editing titles, I think the best approach is to suggest this as part of the topic discussion. Moderators may help with the editing in case the OP doesn’t have permission to do this, of course.


If there’s disrespectful behavior, I prefer the first warning (or whatever seems needed) to be in-band, so it is clear to everyone else that someone is paying attention to the attitude. To me, this is better than posts quietly being edited, no matter how well-intentioned that is happening. But then again, I grew up in the age of email lists, where there is no undo.

IMO the goal of a Discourse thread is to have a discussion, not to create a perfect artefact (unlike StackOverflow, which explicitly aims for the latter). In a discussion, transparency is important.


I think the “noisy” part would actually be beneficial to the reader. I’ve seen other forums (using antiquated software such as phpBB :slight_smile: ) where it was customary for admins to loudly mark their edits to other people’s posts. However, the “not sustainable use of moderator time” is quite unfortunate. I don’t know if the Discourse developers watch this category and take note of user requests…



This is not the first time this question has arisen. The problem is not with moderation, per se, the problem is with stealth edits. What Discourse does on its own is not visible enough.

However, I don’t plan to start peppering every edited post with notes that duplicate what the history will already show. That’s noisy and not a sustainable use of moderator time.

@davidism Are you aware of Discourse templates? [1] You can pre-author some canned message that loudly indicates that moderation occurred, and insert it in any post with a couple of mouse clicks.

As for it being noisy — that is the goal.

  1. It’s a plugin to install, but an official one from Discourse ↩︎


Ugh. While I admire the intent here, I do not want to see [mod] stuck in post titles until the OP gets around to removing it.

But what about this as a compromise: Instead of directly editing to the preferred title, use the newsgroup/mailing list convention, and edit it to “Tkinter documentation external links outdated? (was: Offical documentation)” which can then be re-edited afterwards to remove the “was” if people prefer. Obviously this isn’t suitable for outright offensive titles, but those are pretty rare, and when it’s adding useful information to the post (as in this example), it can be helpful to tie the new and old threads together a bit more.

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