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When reviewing suggested edits, should I approve them when only the signature is removed. Even though signatures are unwanted, I am inclined to reject these kinds of edits, because they are too minor.

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There's usually more wrong in the post than just having a signature so rejecting as too minor is certainly an option. –  ChrisF Oct 24 '11 at 12:18
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I'm a believer that a minor edit is still making the site better, and so will still accept it. –  Matt Oct 24 '11 at 12:30
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Why is "too minor" a reason to reject an edit? Better is better, right? –  tenfour Oct 24 '11 at 12:32
    
@tenfour, good point. Although, sometimes I see edits where one word is capitalized, which IMO is useless and does not improve the quality of the post. Those I reject. For removing signatures I was doubtful, hence the question. –  Mischa Oct 24 '11 at 12:37
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@tenfour: I think the argument is that the number of people approving edits isn't infinite, and if the queue gets filled up with people making one-word edits it could prevent people from making substantive changes. Personally, the queue usually seems to be relatively small, so I'll tend to approve them, as long as the user isn't making tiny change en-masse. –  Jeremy Banks Oct 24 '11 at 12:39
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@JeremyBanks yes, but rejecting minor edits doesn't reduce the queue any more than approving them. –  tenfour Oct 24 '11 at 12:40
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@tenfour: No, but it encourages users to make more minor edits, which we may not want. –  Jeremy Banks Oct 24 '11 at 12:41
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I'm all for removing signatures, but it bugs me to no end when when people edit and skip over tons of crap to make a simple change... –  Won't Oct 24 '11 at 14:31
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Your first sentence should end in a question mark rather than a period. I'm afraid of getting my edit rejected as too minor if I try to make it, however. :) –  Kazark Feb 28 '13 at 0:10

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Removing a signature can be a trivial edit. Users who post with signatures probably are unfamiliar with the system, and are likely to have made other errors in their post. These other improvements should be made simultaneously with the signature edit.

As others have pointed out, serial signature removal by suggestion-only editors is discouraged because it clogs the edit queue with trivial, but more importantly, incomplete edits. We want to discourage this behavior.

If the edit completely fixes the post

If the signature is the only part of the post which needs an edit, then approve it! The post is now completely fixed, there's nothing else to do. Don't reject the edit because it's trivial, the change needed to be made and the post is now perfect, like a majestic, dew-flecked unicorn. (<- Link is safe to click, it's an MSO post. Besides, you know you can't resist.)

If the edit is incomplete, you are willing to improve it, and there's no pattern of these incomplete edits

If you see something that needs to be improved in a suggested edit, use the "Improve" button to... improve it. That's what the button is there for. From the FAQ:

What does the "Improve" button do?

The Improve button allows approvers to apply changes to the edited version of the text, so they can correct typos introduced by the original editor or to make further changes. [emphasis added]
The revised text is published when the improver saves their changes.

The following considerations apply:

  • The change history records the suggested edit and the improved edit as separate events.
  • The original editor still gets +2 reputation for their suggestion.
  • On Stack Overflow the improved text is published without the need for two accept votes (see below).

Note that this implicitly accepts the proposed edit. If you feel that the edit should be rejected (the improvements are easy and obvious), but you want to fix the problems (and remove the sig), then lend your support to this "Reject and improve" button feature request.

Otherwise

The number of users willing to spend time reviewing suggested edits is limited. The number of users who can suggest edits is huge. These users need to respect that the reviewers are limited, and avoid wasting their time.

Signatures are frequently repetitive edits. One user, who used a signature a long time ago, may have dozens of posts with the same signature problem. Adding a suggested edit to all of these posts not only fills the edit queue, it also consumes the time of the suggester and approver (2 approvers on Stack Overflow) and clogs the front page with useless edits, pushing important stuff away. We don't want this, old signatures aren't more important than what's already on the front page. This is something which should be done by people with edit privileges, a small number of posts at a time.

Reject these edits to train users to make more complete edits.

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If you don't want to wait for that feature request to be approved, you can always open the question in a new tab, decline the suggested edit and then submit your own edit. –  Pops Oct 24 '11 at 13:57
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@PopularDemand - That doesn't work on SO, where the OP spends the bulk of their time. See Wesley's answer to the proposal: "What are my options? Hit "Reject" and get locked out of editing the post ... monitor the post and wait for another user to reject the first edit" You're right for all the other sites, though, which just need one reject vote. –  Kevin Vermeer Oct 24 '11 at 14:02
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I'm lost as to why this is accepted -- he asked if he should approve edits that remove the signature and you answered with how to improve a suggestion –  Michael Mrozek Oct 24 '11 at 14:10
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@MichaelMrozek - Removing a signature is a trivial edit. As kiamlaluno pointed out below, serial signature removal by suggestion-only editors is discouraged. If the post has a signature, there's probably other work to be done. –  Kevin Vermeer Oct 24 '11 at 14:18
    
@Kevin So the answer is "Removing a signature is a trivial edit. As kiamlaluno pointed out below, serial signature removal by suggestion-only editors is discouraged.". You answered a different question about how to improve edits –  Michael Mrozek Oct 24 '11 at 14:26

YES, If the only thing that needed to be fixed was the signature then approve it.

NO, If more needed to be fixed, in which case you can either reject it, or improve it, as of right now there is no reject and improve option.

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Thanks. As per Kevin Vermeer's suggestion I've already upvoted the suggestion for reject & improve and all the answers in favor. –  Mischa Oct 24 '11 at 14:11

If the suggested edit just removes the signature, but there is something else that should be corrected, such as formatting, punctuation, or spelling, then the edit is possibly a minor edit.
Clearly, if the other edit that should have been done is changing i in "i think I am not understanding something here," then you can improve the edit. Vice versa, if you see that the user is suggesting 5 edits in 5 minutes, and in all of them the user is just removing the signature, then you could reject the edit. Rather than editing 5 different posts, it would be better if the user would concentrate on a single post, and correct everything that needs to be fixed.

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