Why not just force editors to go through a preview, submit
process identical to what people do in normal posts? Until
you hit "submit", no message is sent. You can "preview" as
much as you want with no visible change other than "being
edited by foo"...
Re (tilly) 3: New site editors
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Yes, that would certainly cut down on the problem. It seems like the current preview code for new nodes would be fairly easy to adapt for modifying existing nodes. But it poses its own set of problems.
So the preview would automatically add the "being edited by foo", I guess. What happens when two editors edit the same node? If there is a lock to prevent that, how do you break it? Don't forget to add a "Cancel" button so that you can change your mind and restore the node to its original state without triggering too much of the automated accounting.
And I don't think that solves the problem with providing an "undo". I'd love to have the pre-edit node text saved (for say, one week) when an editor makes a change. But I'm not sure trying to automate the restoration is a good idea, at least at this point.
And, despite how it sounds, I'm not really trying to shoot down this idea. I just want to make sure we've kicked it around enough before the task is undertaken.
I don't see this as a trivial problem to solve. Currently, if I "SoPWify" a Categorized Q+A while someone is in the middle of composing an ansewer, then a node that looks like a Categorized Q+A answer gets posted as if it were a regular reply (owned by Q+A Editors but hopefully with the votes going to the actual author, though I haven't looked into that). The same race happens when I delete a question. Plus I can delete a question without deleting the answers and leave a bunch of headless answers around. Plus it is actually possible to edit your own root nodes even though you aren't supposed to be able to.
Not that those types of bugs would necessarilly be a huge problem in the first implementation of this. I guess I'd like the effort to be concentrated on getting the logging and security really solid before trying to make too fancy of a tool.