These are definitely some murky waters being navigated here. I am all for editing to correct typos, whether in content or code. And I even support correcting grammatical issues, even minor ones, if it improves clarity / readability. But, while I do agree that we should not have offensive content on the site, we should always be very cautious when editing someone else's words. And when editing is required, we should do the bare minimum required to remove only that which is offensive, and refrain from subjective edits on someone's style / voice, even if it is silly and/or extraneous.
With that in mind, the edit of:
I work with a really old DBA who says a lot of weird stuff. Dude has an O'Reilly book that only has an amoeba on the cover.
I work with a really experienced DBA who says a lot of interesting stuff.
was initiated with good intentions, but in the end was overreaching. Since the phrase "really old" has a non-obvious meaning that requires context that virtually nobody reading the question would know about, it is inappropriate for a generalized, public forum such as this one. However, "old" does not necessarily mean "experienced". That is a subjective edit that should not have been made. People can get re-trained and change professions at most any age, hence a 30 year old DBA could certainly have more experience than a 60 year old DBA. Assumptions should not be made here. The only appropriate edit is to simply remove the phrase "really old" since it isn't relevant anyway (more on that later).
Changing "weird" to "interesting" is highly subjective and should not have been done. If the community feels that it is best to not mention things like the coworker "says a lot of weird stuff", then that should be mentioned in a comment.
It is better, in the long-run, to suffer through some non-ideal (but not offensive) statements in a small number of questions / answers than to come off as an unwelcoming / unforgiving / elitist community. Yes, there will be some annoying / frustrating bits and pieces of posts, but we are better served by being, and presenting ourselves as, inclusive / accepting of differences.
So, any edit done by someone other than the O.P. should have simply been:
I work with a DBA who says a lot of weird stuff. Dude has an O'Reilly book that only has an amoeba on the cover.
In response to @WorldStarSQL's answer:
I agree with points 2 and 3. But for point #1:
- I'm not talking about all old people, just one guy who I work with. We have a close working relationship where we joke about his age. It's not malicious at all. Heck, if it weren't for him and his age, I wouldn't know half of what I do.
- This is a public forum so it is read by various people from various places / cultures / backgrounds / etc. Nobody but you knows that you are referring to "just one guy". And even if you included that background, it is possible that one or more folks would still feel that you are being ageist.
- This is really an inside-joke kinda thing and so should stay within that context. And even though the coworker is fine with you joking about his age when you are with him, I am not so sure that he would be as accepting of it when you are making that joke to people who do not know either of you.
Also, the point in the "Addendum" that age certainly is relevant for several reasons, is incorrect: Age is not relevant at all. I mean, those are certainly good questions to ask about the relevancy of the information, but they are not determined by the age of the person. There is a lot of misinformation available from many sources that can be taken in by people of any age. And experience in one area does not imply experience in another, so someone very knowledgeable about one technology can still make "newby" mistakes on another (happens all the time, actually, especially by those who mistakenly believe that their vast knowledge / experience in one or more areas does someone imply aptitude in other areas). Also, it is quite possible for someone to do something for many years and still never be that knowledgeable / skilled at it, even if they believe that they are (I've run into this several times, and not just professionally / related to computers). And conversely, I have worked with folks in their mid-30s who were generally quite good, but still did some things that were detrimental to the system that were never correct, and some things that were correct at one point in time but were obsoleted by upgrading to newer versions of SQL Server.