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I found this question and saw that the same user had posted two answers. The second answer was very short and my opinion was that it should be an edit to this users existing answer.

Said and done, I edited the first answer to include the contents of the new one. After that I flagged the second answer as "not an answer".

My flag was accepted and the answer deleted, but my edit hadn't been reviewed yet. Later, both reviewers rejected my edit with the reason:

This edit is incorrect or an attempt to reply to or comment on the existing post.

even though it was legit (in my opinion). I had even stated in the edit summary that it was an update from the same user as the original answer. At least one of the reviewers had >10k reputation, so he should have been able to see the deleted answer and conclude that my edit was ok.

Is this due to laziness from the reviewers side, or was my edit in fact incorrect? Should I just have flagged the answer and put a comment that it should be merged with the previous answer?

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Or: 3) due to working one's way through a long list. Mistakes happen? –  Arjan May 18 '12 at 17:41
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[status-completed]. I also applied my grammatization beam to the answer and ran it through the anti-useless-formatting field. –  Josh Caswell May 18 '12 at 17:45
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@Jacques Greatful for your anti-useless-formatting field. Random bolding of words in question bugs the hell out of me. –  meagar May 18 '12 at 18:28
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2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I was one of the two people who rejected that edit. My reasons for rejecting were twofold:

  1. The edit inserted the phrase **Update** which jumped out and immediately triggered an alarm bell - Stack Overflow isn't a forum and answers are expected to be more like a wiki page or a knowledge base than a form thread, text like that makes answers look a little too much like forum posts for comfort in my view.
  2. The edit was very minor and looked like a comment would have sufficed. It didn't address the other issues in the answer. The question itself looked more like a bug report that became very localised once the bug was fixed so action on the question itself would have seemed more appropriate.

Once I'd seen those two thing I thought I'd got the edit figured out and I have to admit in the face of those observations I didn't notice the comment pointing to the other answer from the same user. It is extremely unlikely for me to see the "not an answer flag" (as a regular user there's no way to see edits and flags side by side, I don't think mods even see this unless you make it explicitly clear) that went with that other answer which would have made things much clearer.

Normally I only read the message if the edit makes no sense on first reading. In this instance I thought I understood the edit just from the diffs (there are quite a lot of edits which are basically just comments/replies). The learning point for me I guess is that I should probably make "read the message" something I always do before hitting reject, not something I do when I read the edit and think "WTF".

I'm wondering if perhaps putting the summary next to the buttons would actually make more sense to encourage this, as half the time the summary is off the top of the screen. (That would be a feature request or a question on ux.SE possibly)

Personally though in this case I'd have expected to see this information edited directly into the existing text, e.g. alongside the bit recommending downgrading or as a comment. If I'd spotted that I would probably have hit improve rather than accept and integrated it directly, fixing some of the other issue too rather like Jacques Cousteau did.

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Thanks for taking your time looking at this! I realize that there is much to do when going through edit suggestions and that mistakes occur quite naturally (although I guess I won't really realize this fully until I'm doing the reviewing myself). I will keep your comments in mind when submitting edit suggestions in the future! –  Maehler May 18 '12 at 21:10
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Keep in mind that when reviewing suggested edits, we usually go through a fairly large list. Trying to reduce the number of pending suggested edits often seems fruitless, since at the end there are more suggestions than there were before you started. I find that I sometimes have the tendency to merely look at the edit and might skip the explanation. (Which is arguably not the proper thing to do. Just saying it happens).

Looking at your suggested edit in that light, I can understand how one might think "Ah, that's actually a comment". Especially when you realize that we don't actually see this duplicate answer in the review queue.

Is all of that a justification for rejecting the edit? No. One should always take the full edit and explanation into account. But it happens. A simple mistake when trying to be anything but lazy.

Anyway, just my attempt at a possible explanation. Whether that is what really happened, I of course do not know.

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