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The new review system seems to work like a charm, at least the "suggested edits" queue is nearly always (near) empty. However, I've recently come across some users that approved edits that I'd never thought a second about approving them as they were clearly invalid/wrong edits. Users that approve such edits often turn out to have stats like "400 approved edit, 3 rejected edits" and are typically not the type of reviewer that really helps to keep the quality high.

As the new system works so well and fast, isn't it the right time to increase the threshold for approval/rejection (or at least the former)? This could potentially suppress the effect that such approve-them-all reviewers have.

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I don't feel that would work. Pile-on accept votes seem so numerous that the imbalance would still exist. I would rather see something which corrects and educates. –  Bart Aug 10 '12 at 9:16
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Educates would be good. For example, changing valid non-US spelling to US versions is annoying and can affect the answer. –  Remou Aug 10 '12 at 10:11
    
@Bart Sounds like a good idea. Maybe in a way that a user gets notified if another user with e.g. 5 times more reputation rejected/approved an edit that was previously rated differently by that user. –  Niko Aug 10 '12 at 10:31
    
ChrisF already made a suggestion which might be interesting. Even if only to get that discussion started. –  Bart Aug 10 '12 at 10:34
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After going through the edit history I have to agree - yes, there is a problem and it is bad. However, I also don't think that requiring more reviewers will work without any kind of knowledge transfer. –  Wladimir Palant Aug 10 '12 at 12:02
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I seem to recall a feature request that proposed the review not be resolved until either accepts or rejects were +2 over the other choice -- e.g., if there was one reject vote, it would require three accepts. –  Josh Caswell Aug 10 '12 at 18:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The whole edit process is a compromise between a Wikipedia-style extreme where anyone can edit anything, and a blog server extreme where anyone is the sole owner of the content they provided and no one can ever mutate anyone else's answer.

We are much closer to the Wikipedia way, which is compatible with the purpose of the site. We also have notification and bumping mechanisms in place. Edits that the original poster or the community did not like get rolled back soon. On the other hand: the original poster retains the "ownership" of the post and edits should aim at making the same question easier to be found, recognized and answered, not at changing it to a different question.

People who have approved 400+ edits typically have posted a lot of their own content as well. There are about 300 of such users on Stack Overflow, all but one with 2K+ reputation, which means that all of them (along with about 16000 other users) already have the edit privilege. All those 16K users can edit anything, needing zero approvals for that.

Even a higher reputation user may (and will) occasionally damage content by issuing or approving an edit that does more harm than good. (These actions do not bring any reputation benefit to the editor/approver and are probably done out of good intentions most of the time.)

The good side of low approval thresholds is that most of the time, an edit or suggested edit gets published very quickly.

  • This reduces duplication of effort by multiple editors working off an old version of a post.
  • This reduces confusion associated with different active visitors looking at different versions of the post.
  • This reduces overall time to reach a clear question, and hopefully, a helpful answer.
  • This reduces effort spent on reviewing content addition.

This feature request addresses a real problem. I would, however, prefer solutions that do not make the editing process significantly slower. I don't think that there is currently any efficient way for an approver to learn about a rollback of the approved post, and to learn from their own share of the mistake.

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I believe this feature was just implemented, per Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange it now requires three reviewers:

October 2012

  • 2012-10-16: The number of reviews required to accept/reject suggested edits has been increased to two Network wide (versus 1 before) and three on Stack Overflow. (versus 2 before) Moderators can still cast final vote like before.

This increase in votes makes a lot of sense to me, as I can't believe what gets approved. I wouldn't mind seeing suggested edit votes increased to five, as other review types.

Seen in action:

http://stackoverflow.com/review/suggested-edits/821605

Example suggested-edit status:

http://i.stack.imgur.com/N9LwR.png

Example suggested-edit:

http://i.stack.imgur.com/p2H3H.png

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Something akin to this now seems to be in place.

Suggested edits are showing more than the usual two reviewers (or three in case of disagreement).

On the other hand, absent an official announcement, it's also possible that this is a more minor change to show all the reviews of a suggested edit without changing the actual threshold required for (dis)approval. With the new review queue, suggested edits are being processed quite quickly, so it's plausible that many people could review any given suggestion at the same time. I've yet to find a suggested edit showing clearly that the edit wasn't approved until the third vote was cast, but the aforementioned quick clearing of the queue makes this hard to test.

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