Thoughts on website ideas, PHP and other tech topics, plus going car-free
Stack Overflow edit notifications
Categories: Ideas, Outline

One of the features missing from Stack Overflow is to receive a notification when a post that you’ve edited is subsequently edited again. This is useful where a post owner decides they disagree with an edit, and they wish to assert that their chatty tone, misspellings and extended downvote complaints really do belong (the community broadly agrees that they do not, in case that’s not clear!).

This feature has been deliberately left out, I wonder, in order to prevent the notification system being used to fuel edit wars. Of course, any replacement system that bridges the gap should be used responsibly: if a good edit is rolled back by another poster, then either a dialogue should be started with the later editor, or a moderator flag should be raised.

I’m considering building this to garner some experience with Laravel, the PHP framework. I’ll use this page to sketch out some ideas and see if I can get something built.

  • Uses the Stack Exchange API (can it run data queries?)
  • Single sign-on (Stack Overflow as provider, of course)
  • Scanner that operates from today (called by cron)
  • Where a subsequent edit is found, a database record is created, which the user can later dismiss as notified
  • Later version: the scanner explores a user’s history for edits

Update 2nd September

I wonder if this might not be possible without screen-scraping. It would be ideal to use the API, to protect against screen changes, but that does not seem to support retrieving revisions filtered by user ID.

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