I had a strange experience with having my question on a controversial topic edited by a power user. In some ways the question was improved by adding more details, but also subtly changed the meaning, expanded the scope of the question and made it easier to debunk. It felt like there was possibly an ideological motive to the edit, rather than just trying to add clarity.
I complained in the comments and edited my question back to include some of the new details but not make the broader claims. The poweruser closed my question due to an editing war
After having this experience, I clicked on the first related question and saw that it had been edited by the same power-user, out of interest I clicked on the history and saw similar "editorializing", adding discrediting context to links and broadening the claims being made.
My Original Question
I asked a question about if a graph is accurate (on the controversial subject of COVID vaccines), it claims to show a correlation between more covid vaccine shots and more hospitalization in NSW, Australia.
My original question was only asking if the graph's data and chart was accurate, not what it implies or proves WRT vaccine effectiveness.
But the question was edited including the following lines:
The graph has been referenced by Joel Smalley's blog and on anti-vaxxer Del Bigtree's show The Highwire.
I don't think that is relevant, who is Del Bigtree, does it matter if they're an "anti-vaxxer"? Labeling them an "anti-vaxxer" sounds like a way to discredit them off hand, and weaken the question by association.
Another added line:
Is there a correlation between COVID-19 vaccine doses and hospitalisations+deaths? Is there a causative link?
This changed the meaning of the question. I specifically didn't ask about causation because I hadn't seen that claimed. If this "anti-vaxxer Del Bigtree" or someone else made such claims, I think that's irrelevant, it certainly wasn't a part of my original question. This edit also makes the question trivial to debunk, by saying "Correlation doesn't equal causation".
Another question on the same controversial topic
In the related links to my question I saw this one which had also been edited by the same poweruser. Out of interest I clicked on the revisions tab and saw a similar pattern of edits which weaken the question: https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/posts/48559/revisions
There are some claims that the flu vaccine injection has a positive correlation with COVID-19 death rate. For example, this site says:
There are some claims that the flu vaccine injection has a positive correlation with COVID-19 death rate. For example, the anti-vax site Home Vaccine Education Network says:
In this example, the user added context, but again they're editorializing, why is it relevant if the site is an "anti-vaxx site" that sounds like a cheap way to discredit whatever they're saying.
Again the poweruser subtly changed the meaning of the question so that it is basically asking for causation to be proved by a single population study, making the question easier to debunk.
What's the consensus on this? Is flu vaccine related to a higher vulnerability against COVID-19 in any way?
Is flu vaccine correlated to a higher vulnerability to COVID-19? Is there a causal link?
Is this normal?
So my question is: What's going on here? Is this kind of edit(orializing) of original questions something that's commonplace and accepted here? Is it just that one user doing it? I was surprised to see it done to my first question, and also on the first related question that I happened to click.
Also I'm interested in what safeguards the site has if a power user "goes rogue" in this way, and uses their editing power to make questions weaker.
I do see that the edits have clarified and improved questions in some ways, and I'm sure that taken on a whole, that power user's contributions here have been overwhelmingly positive and aligned with the pursuit of truth. Also, I'm not wholly free of bias in this either, I think anyone who comes to this site will have opinions and biases.