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I just reached the rep threshold for edit approval, but I'm mightily confused by the view.

It shows changes on both sides. I would expect it to show the original on the left, and the effects of the edit on the right.

Why does it show changes on the left and the right? Do most people prefer this? I find it hard to make sense of.

Here's an example of what I mean. Red on the left, green on the right, green on the left too...

enter image description here

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Screenshot that Mothra like a Mecha – random Aug 18 '11 at 19:10
It is trying to make it clear what was removed. Rather important. – Uphill Luge Aug 18 '11 at 19:24
The green on "the left" is a change to the title. I believe that's usually shown in-place, rather than side-by-side. – dlev Aug 18 '11 at 19:26
I guess I'm used to the Wikipedia format, where old context is on the left, new context is on the right, and changes are in red. The SO model seems way too atomic, and makes me feel like I'm dealing with twenty individual changes instead of just changes to a couple of sentences. – Kyralessa Aug 18 '11 at 19:29
I can see OP's point. Perhaps if the nose went away on hover? – Won't Aug 18 '11 at 19:46
One thing that might improve it were if the spaces between words were colored too. That way one long change would look more like one long change instead of five or ten individual-word changes. – Kyralessa Aug 18 '11 at 23:14

Why does it show changes on the left and the right?

The left shows what was removed. The right shows what was added. I think it's a lot clearer than having a jumble of both.

Do most people prefer this?

I do!

I would expect it to show the original on the left, and the effects of the edit on the right.

It does do that, technically. The left side shows the original text, and the right side shows the new text. Mentally ignore the coloring and strikethroughs if you want to read it "as is".

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This is mostly correct. The only weird part is that the title isn't shown on both the left and the right. It just appears once, with both types of changes indicated in their respective colors. – Cody Gray Aug 19 '11 at 4:37
@Cody Yeah I didn't bother addressing the title, it has to be one line of plain text so it's not half as complicated. – Matthew Read Aug 19 '11 at 4:44

Consider the formatting gone, you would see the orginal at the left and the suggested at the right.

Now, the formatting works like this:

  • In the left side everything that removed is marked red.

  • In the right side everything that has been added is marked green.

  • The title shows removed and added text simultaneously.

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