An edit that atleast for me improved the readability and understandability of the question by renaming a variable in the codeblock was rolled back. The post in question is How do I make an object move to certain point?. The original name of the variable doesn't make sense to a casual site-reader. An explanation of what the (perhaps poorly?) named variable means was added instead.

Is there a general guideline on edits as such? I came upon this SE-meta post which seems to encourage renaming variables but reminds to look at the situations one by one.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As I pointed out, there was more to the changes than the variable name. Is it that you simply have not seen these additional changes, or is it that you don't understand how these additional changes were a part of the improvement? \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnemlock
    Jan 5, 2017 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


In general, changing a variable name to improve readability is acceptable but should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

It's important to improve readability, but it's also important to consider the mental structure of the problem the asker must have in his or her head and not distort the question so much that they won't be able to align any potential answers with their own code.

In the specific context of the edit in question, I don't think the variable rename was particularly important as the question also clearly stated the intent of the variable under its original name.

I don't think the rollback was needed either, but the edit stream has moved beyond that, so whatever.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For clarity, I feel I should mention that the description of the variable I believe you are referring to was added by me, after the rollback. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnemlock
    Jan 5, 2017 at 4:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, the user I rolled back on has mentioned that this is a "very drastic measure"; I consider it the opposite, in regards to the fact that it was edited over the top for further improvements (as opposed to me just saying 'that's a bad edit' and rolling it back without further improvements). Is there any penalty to the user I may have missed, in this sort of situation? \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnemlock
    Jan 5, 2017 at 4:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think so, no. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1430
    Jan 5, 2017 at 4:30

I agree that if the edit makes improvements to the readability of the question, it should be kept.

I agree that this could include naming conventions, but we must look at each case, uniquely.

I do not agree that the edit was to change a variable name, nor that it made the question more readable; in fact, there was a bit more to the edit than a single name change, and I felt the other additions only added redundancy and more incorrect grammar.

Looking at the edit in question, I found a couple of changes that lead to my rollback:

  • Title change: "Object moves to certain point?" to "How to make an object move to a certain point and have it stay there?"

    • Improves on the question, but retains the same readability issue, in that it poses a statement as a question. Statements and questions are both acceptable titles, but they do not work, together. I interpret this as a minor language discrepancy, as I see this "statement-question" format used, a lot. Regardless, in English grammar, it does not work.
    • I felt, at this point, adding that the user wanted to the object to stay at the position after movement completed was a bit obvious. Look at it this way, if your not moving anymore, you must therefore be "still". This might seem like a minor caveat, but I'm a firm believer in ensuring the question title sounds inviting and non-awkward. To me, the inclusion of the obvious sounds awkward.
  • The inclusion of "then having it stay at that point."

    • Much like in the title, I felt this added awkward redundancy to the question. When you stop moving, you are still, you should not need to clarify so for us. Regardless, I included a smaller addition of "and stay", which I feel confirms this requirement in a shorter way.
  • The inclusion of tags and and the removal of the tag .

    • A non-event for the purpose of this discussion; I initially thought the tag change unnecessary, but I was wrong. does seem more relevant to the question than , which in retrospect, appears to fit in best as a meta tag. Ultimately, we don't use tags if they only serve a meta purpose, they should directly categorise the question.
  • The restructure of the user's comment

    • Ultimately, I did not find the change to offer any improvement to readability, past grammar and punctuation. I believe we should try to use grammar and punctuation in comments, but in context, it is unnecessary.
    • If the asker intends to use pseudo-english in their comments, let them. Comments should not be important to the question, regardless.
  • Name change: wak to target_position.
    • In singular context, an appropriate name change, but explaining that the user wants to move to the position wak serves the same purpose.
    • Assumes that, in context of that specific asker's script, wak is primarily the target destination. This may not be an accurate assumption; while the value may provide the target destination, it is entirely likely that it could be primarily used for some other purpose.
    • In conclusion, the name change makes it easier to read for everyone else. The simple explanation makes it easier to read for everyone else, but retains its readability in direct context of the asker.

Ultimately, the edit was compared with the edit that was made, prior. I felt that I was able to best retain author intent, while make the question more readable, going off the previous edit.

The question now makes complete sense. You might say that it made sense before my edit, but it did not necessarily make grammatical sense. I take grammar into account, when I cast my votes, or rather I improve on any issues instead of down voting. In this case, I was removing my down vote.

I understand the some users may confuse correct grammar, coming from a non-English background. I know other users may simply be game developing geniuses with a less-ideal understanding of English, regardless of native language. This is all completely fine, in my book, because we have users that are knowledgeable enough to perform the cleanup, and despite the rare complaint regarding required effort, it does not require much.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you meant "improvements" instead of "improve ments"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt Mod
    Jan 5, 2017 at 3:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that a rollback is a very drastic measure. Don't be surprised if people don't like your methods. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt Mod
    Jan 5, 2017 at 3:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I meant "Did you mean [...]" \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt Mod
    Jan 5, 2017 at 3:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexandreVaillancourt, thanks for the correction. My phone autocorrects to "improve ments", much to my frustration. Ultimately, it was a rollback edit, so regardless of what the original edit contained, I still would have made the changes as per detailed. I'm sorry if you have taken any offense to it, I am perfectly happy if you wish to re-name the variable (provided you do not revert the other changes). \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnemlock
    Jan 5, 2017 at 4:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I really should point out that if I think its an improvement, and give a good reason why it was not an improvement, I will happily concede and consider the same argument, next time. I do not believe we retain edits on the basis that 'the user didnt like it'. I have been convinced that your name change may have been appropriate (the other answer seems to say it was not because of additions I made after the fact). Though I doubt there will be argument for the other changes, I do see users downvote and abuse the asker because of these inconsistencies, so I always fix it when I can. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnemlock
    Jan 5, 2017 at 4:21

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