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As I write this, I'm getting pretty close to 5,000 rep on two sites (math.SE and SO). This feels like a nice round number, so I thought I'd check the privileges list to see if I was going to get access to any fancy new toys tools.

Imagine my disappointment when I saw that the only privilege I was anywhere close to getting was "approve tag wiki edits". Yeah, right. Who cares about that, anyway?

Well, I thought, I might as well click the link to see just what I'm getting. And, what do you know, at the bottom of the page there's this little tacked-on note that says:

Vote on suggested edits

In addition, users with this privilege level also get access to the suggested edits queue. The queue has a list of posts which have been edited upon by users who don't have edit privileges. This queue can be accessed over at the suggested edits tab in the review section.

Wait, I get to see and vote on suggested edits? On all posts, not just in the tag wiki? Yeah, it really seems to say so... which is really fricking cool! So why the bleeping bleep does the name of the privilege say absolutely nothing about it?

Yeah, I understand that this is a completely petty, inconsequential and cosmetic issue, somewhere a little below the color of the bikeshed in importance. But somehow, it just bugs me. And, hey, if nobody brings up these kinds of little issues, who's ever going to find and fix them?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The real story is a bit more complicated. Let's see if I can clarify the details a bit.

Contrary to your understanding and animuson's suggestion, 5k reputation is not required to approve suggested edits. All it takes to approve suggested edits to questions and answers is 2k. However, in order to do this, you must happen to come across a post with a pending suggested edit. When you do, you'll see something like this:

What you can't do at only 2k is see the queue of all pending suggested edits. This is the privilege that you earn at 5k. (Viewing this queue actually used to be restricted to 10k users, but a few months ago, it was extended down to 5k users; that's probably why animuson observed in the history of the wiki that this text was added only recently.)

So it's not really that big of a deal when you gain the privilege to view the queue. You're not really gaining a new privilege, as you've always been able to approve suggested edits (that is, since reaching 2k). The only thing you've gained is the ability to go through a list and approve more of them at a time. That's what it means when it talks specifically about the queue on the privilege page:

Vote on suggested edits

In addition, users with this privilege level also get access to the suggested edits queue. The queue has a list of posts which have been edited upon by users who don't have edit privileges. This queue can be accessed over at the suggested edits tab in the review section.

Basically, you get this big annoying box in your top user bar displaying the total number of all pending suggested edits. It virtually never goes away on a site as large as Stack Overflow, and you can spend all day clicking around the list, approving, rejecting, and even improving suggested edits. It's far less glamorous than it sounds, but hey, someone has to do it, and you've just been nominated!

In fact, the real significant achievement at 5k is the ability to approve tag wiki edits, which is why that is listed as the title of the privilege page. Because tag wikis are much more visible than posts (and trickier to do right!), we have a slightly higher standard for approving those edits.

At only 2k, you don't have the ability to approve or reject tag wiki edits, only the ability to approve/reject edits to questions and answers. When you attain "trusted user" status at 20k, you'll be able to edit tag wikis without going through the suggested edits feature.

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Great answer. I'd be inclined to dispute the visibility of tag wikis as compared to posts, though, but I suppose that may depend on how busy the site is; my experience on smaller SE sites (the only one I currently have mod privs on is codegolf.SE, which is very small indeed) is that it's a chore to get people to write tag descriptions at all, which suggests that most don't pay much attention to them, either. Let me report back once I actually reach 5k on SO and have some experience with what goes on in those queues there. –  Ilmari Karonen Mar 2 '12 at 11:25

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