Requesting editing rights

Hi all, @martinmodrak in particular.

Following recent discussion, many people, amongst them myself, volunteered to help answer questions about topics they are more familiar with so as to maximise the number of helpful and timely answers on the forum.

There have been many instances where I felt I could contribute by just formatting posts in order to indent code and organise Stan and R/Python chunks. But I cannot do that due to insufficient permissions. Of course you could argue that we should require users to format their posts adequately, but my idea is to do it once and gently remind the OP of the proper formatting standards.

So I thought I would write this public request for permissions and see if it can be granted. I decided to do this publicly so the process is transparent – whether my request is granted or not.

I’ll leave it up to Martin to tag people he thinks should be involved in the decision process.




I think this makes sense as long as Martin doesn’t mind managing those permissions over time, especially for folks like you who have been around a long time. Thanks for volunteering :)

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some time back I was given “moderator” access precisely so that I could correct formatting of user posts.

the Discourse mechanisms are documented (sic) via meta-discourse - here’s the relevant post:

Admins can do anything, moderators can edit the posts of others.

It would be nice to have a class of ‘copy editors’ who have perms to change formatting, not content, but this is far too complex a feature for the platform (or so it seems judging from discussion on meta-discourse). Perhaps we could make a policy to name moderators who agree to act soley as copy-editors and to limit themselves to formatting code and console output information in a post. This is what I’ve done with my privileges, and I haven’t done it all that often - only when I notice something in a thread I’m following.

Yup. That was precisely the idea behind making this request public; I don’t want permissions such that I can change what people post, just to help format stuff so posts are intelligible. Sometimes that makes a world of difference [at least to me].

I’m not promising I will properly format every post, but I think I can fix a fair number of them, just because I usually pay close-ish attention to modelling posts, which seem to form a majority [along with brms posts, poor @paul.buerkner… :-) ] .

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I think this would be great and I wholeheartedly support your request!

the intent of my post was to point out that a precedent exists for doing this and it would be great to have your help.


Yeah let’s see what @martinmodrak thinks, but seems like a good idea to me and thanks a lot for offering!

I generally agree. Technically, it seems that to allow a person to edit other people’s posts, you don’t need to be moderator, but a “Trust Level 4 - Leader” which (following the official blog) can only be reached by manual promotion. (You can gain “Trust Level 3 - Regular” automatically and this lets you edit post titles and categories). There is a difference between a “Leader” and a “Moderator”, most notably "Leader"s don’t see flags by other users.

Both ways, I think we would like to have “Leader” and/or “Moderator” users from the broader community. Preferably, there would be a transparent process to select those. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is a good time to design such a process - the attention of the community is already IMHO spread thin between the SGB elections and discussions about CoC and governance which are IMHO all higher priority.

I therefore think a responsible course of action would be to have a better discussion about this process later (maybe the new SGB can decide this or a full community consultation be started by them). In addition, we could get stuff moving faster by choosing a temporary “cool kids club” of Leaders - i.e. me, @jonah or other “prominent members” choose whoever they like, possibly by an open call here on Discourse (starting with @maxbiostat who I think would do great). The cool kids club would have a set expiry date (say January 31st, 2020). This would mean faster action but could also do some damage to the community and lessen the overall trust (I am calling this a “cool kids club” because that’s what it likely would appear to be to outsiders). I think the risk is relatively low, but I also think the possible gains are of limited importance. I am not sure if this is a good tradeoff and would welcome your thoughts on this.

And really thanks to @maxbiostat for bringing this up, I am glad you took the initiative on this!


@martinmodrak I think if you want to ask a people you trust on the forums to help in the way @maxbiostat is proposing then that is a totally legitimate (and helpful) thing to do as the community manager. I understand your concern about the cool kids vibe, so to avoid that maybe we just say anyone who has made it to “regular” can volunteer for this if they want? Or maybe you could have a rotating group of volunteers if you get enough, or something along those lines (thinking out loud here). Limiting it to “regulars” (according to discourse terminology) like @maxbiostat (and others) could be reasonable because those people have already demonstrated some level of commitment and familiarity with the forum and at the same time it also doesn’t seem like some secret selection mechanism. What do you (and others) think? If you want to do this temporarily and then decide on a longer term plan with the next SGB that also seems reasonable. (Let me know if you cant edit trust levels whenever you end up wanting to put something in motion and we’ll figure it out)


Thanks for your opinion, I was scared nobody would respond :-). My current plan is to setup something temporary (likely after SGB election to have pople’s attention) and then work out the details, based on experiences from the temporary run. The result should then be approved by the SGB. I like the idea of letting everybody with some “Discourse achievements” self-nominate for “Leader” priviliges. Regular is probably a reasonable line, but maybe being a bit more lax and allow anybody with the Thank you badge might let us have a slightly more diverse draft pool.

I can edit trust levels (but can’t make someone a moderator), so I should be able to get this running. I also noticed I (and other moderators) can get a report of edits and other moderator/leader actions, which would be useful to both learn what is happening and see opportunities for coaching leaders.

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Sounds good to me, thanks!

I was thinking about this last week but forgot that I hadn’t responded, sorry!

I just realized that in all possible ways I plan to handle this, @maxbiostat is granted the Leader trust level for editing formatting in posts. So just doing it now. An open call for further Leader members will follow after SGB elections are over.


Thanks. Shall follow this.