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Sometimes, the count of flags and suggested edits is shown at the top menu. However, this only happens when their individual count is ≥ 3, if I'm not mistaken.

Why is this?

Super User, for example, has a very small edit and flag queue. The queues hardly ever reach a size of 3 or more. This means that I, as a "normal" 10k user, will see this notification maybe every few weeks, even when there are edits to review or flags to agree/disagree with. On Stack Overflow, for example, this queue is probably much larger and constantly visible.

I like to review stuff as soon as it pops up, but I don't always want to go to /tools to check this. The small size of the queue in comparison to Stack Overflow, for example, would justify lowering the barrier for showing it, even when there's only one suggested edit or flag pending.

Therefore: Can we see suggested edit and flag counts before there are more than three of them?

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Both queues are visible at >0 for mods. Not sure why it's different for 10k users. –  Kevin Vermeer Nov 1 '11 at 12:39
    
@KevinVermeer That's exactly my point. I don't even understand why it is, but they should show it. –  slhck Nov 1 '11 at 12:41
    
On the topic of "liking to review" ... there is a big pile of unreviewed stuff at: superuser.com/review –  waffles Nov 2 '11 at 1:07

1 Answer 1

I don't really care one way or the other about showing flag counts earlier. Most sites have small flag queues and are able to clear them in a reasonable amount of time, so I suspect the only thing showing flags earlier would be effective at doing is giving high rep users free flag weight.

But in terms of showing suggested edits earlier, one issue for sites that are not Stack Overflow is that the front page—the site's advertisement to the world—doesn't change all that often over the course of the day. You'll get a mix of new questions, older questions that haven't been resolved yet, and a sprinkling of questions risen from the dead by people who finally found that awesome answer to that niche question.

This type of activity is a great sign: it shows the site has life and many different people are actively engaged. It's like the forest at the beginning of Bambi: questions young and old get a safe haven to play and frolic while waiting for an answer from passers by.

Well, when someone gets the idea to edit all the things for some minor issue, they inevitably disrupt the quiet serenity of the front page. They're the hunter from Bambi that comes in and starts shooting up the place, and no question is safe. "Ended your post with 'thanks'? Edited. Oh, you did it to all 75 of your questions over the last year? Edit. all. of. them."

After a short period of time, the front page stops looking like a peaceful forest full of life. It becomes a wasteland of:

edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago
edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago
edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago
edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago
edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago
edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago
edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago
edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago
edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago
edited by Mark Trapp 2m ago

And that new question I mentioned before learns a hard fact of life: the forest is forever ruined and the chances of getting answered have been significantly reduced all because someone thought "thanks" needed to be removed.

What does this have to do with the suggested edit queue you may ask? That's a good question: I almost lost my train of thought.

On non-Stack Overflow sites, suggested edits only require one person to approve them. And boy is it easy. See the colored number at the top? Click approve. Oh, it's back again? Click approve again! Hey, another one! Click on it! This is getting fun!

And soon enough, the entire front page is completely fubared and (spoiler alert!)

Bambi's mom is dead.

Yes, people with edit privileges can and often do this without any sort of approval, but we can train the next generation of editors. Better, faster, stronger: we have the technology.

So not showing the suggested edit queue until it starts to get a little full serves two purposes:

  1. To give mods the chance to step in and take alternative action
  2. To show to non mods with suggested edit approval privileges that there might be an edit flood in progress.

That is, it's easy to ignore any trends in editing if you're just seeing one edit at a time. But if you see three edits (or four or five or whatever) all for the same thing, I hope you'd say "wait, this is going to suck" and reject them for being too minor.

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That's a sweet story, but … it's not really related to what I was proposing :) I'll happily reject larger edit queues, and we've often done this in the past. In fact, on Super User, we're quite allergic to edit floods and we know how to handle them. I definitely see your point with being able to not see every single suggested edit, but I wonder what's it like on SO? That queue must be at ≥3 at all times, right? You also haven't addressed flags in any way yet, what's up with those? –  slhck Nov 2 '11 at 8:59
    
@slhck The point of my story was to illustrate a particular type of edit flood that occurs from accepting suggested edits quickly after they come in. Suggested edit comes in, gets approved. 30 seconds later, another suggested edit comes in for the same thing, gets approved. Nobody checking the suggested edit queue sees a pattern until it's too late because nobody sees a large queue of edits. Having a minimum threshold ensures suggested edits stay in the queue for a bit so that doesn't happen. I don't really care one way or the other about flags, but I've updated my answer to include them. –  user149432 Nov 2 '11 at 17:09
    
Yes, I see now what you mean with the suggested edits. I do think there's a problem with over-zealous users accepting minor edits, and that's surely one way to prevent this. –  slhck Nov 2 '11 at 17:15

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