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While reviewing suggested edits I find myself often coming across an edit that I just know will be mis-handled by subsequent reviewers. I'm not trying to sound arrogant (lord knows that I flub reviews often enough), but a lot of reviews rely to some degree on heuristics to judge the value of a suggested edit, such as:

  • "Reject any edit that modifies existing code"
  • "Accept any edit that adds in code-formatting"
  • "Accept Tag wiki descriptions that replace empty definitions"

And so on. As a general rule these heuristics work well, and I understand why people use them (I'm sure I do to an extent as well), but fairly frequently I come across an edit that seems like a good candidate for heuristical treatment, but a more thorough investigation suggests a different review-outcome.

For instance, this edit, which adds in a whole lot of code was rejected, even though it was just transferring js code from JSFiddle to the original very short question (which is what the SO community wants). I followed the original JSFiddle link to confirm that the transferred code was correct and I even compared it in an IDE to ensure nothing was added or modified. However, even as I was voting to approve, I knew that it was going to be rejected... because adding lots of code to a question is a red-flag that it's an invalid edit.

In situations like this, I'd really like to be able to leave a comment that could be read by subsequent reviewers that states my reasoning/cautionary note. They could disagree with my reasoning, but at the very least it should help improve voting for tricky suggested edits.

I'd be happy to just be able to use the existing comment system, but it isn't available in the Suggested Edits review queue, and I feel in some ways that it would be inappropriate to use the public commenting system to discuss edits that aren't yet live (I suspect that this is why comments aren't shown in the first place).

Would it be appropriate to allow reviewers to leave comments which could only be read by other people in the Suggested Edits review queue?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you suspect the edit is about to be mishandled I suggest:

  • keep and eye on it (edits don't take long to be reviewed).
  • if it's mishandled then make the edit yourself with an appropriate comment (assuming you have edit privileges, and it won't just feed it back into the queue).

I think this happens more often the other way round: when an edit should not have been accepted but was, and should be manually rolled-back.

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Yeah, I suspect that is the more common case, and it's a good idea. Perhaps I'm looking for an overly complicated solution. –  Ben D Mar 30 '13 at 15:26

I really hate when that happens, but I don't feel like this feature would help out in the long-run. It would more likely end up being abused by people just throwing in random junk for giggles or other mischievous purposes. Besides, users suggesting the edits already have this feature - it's called the edit reason. That example likely got rejected because all it says is "added code" which is extremely vague. If he had elaborated and said "imported code from jsfiddle" I guarantee it would have been approved.

It's really the suggester's responsibility to explain what exactly they are doing in their edit so that the reviewers know exactly what they're [supposed to be] looking at. If their edit reason is vague or doesn't match the edits they actually made, they run the risk of it being rejected, and that's not entirely the fault of the reviewers. It's certainly not the job of the reviewers to investigate the edit and, in essence, write a real edit reason for it.

If you see a good edit getting rejected, feel free to step in and apply (and possibly even improve) it yourself. You'll have your own edit reason to explain these things.

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Yeah, I thought about this, but in this example it was so glaringly obvious that he was transferring jsfiddle code that I can understand why he didn't elaborate. I wish I had a better example, as this happens pretty frequently - I feel like reviewers often don't give the editor's explanation much credence. Regardless, I appreciate POV. –  Ben D Mar 29 '13 at 23:40
    
A lot of times they don't. Most edits are pretty basic, but any time you're adding something in that wasn't there before, you should definitely be explaining where it came from, no matter how obvious you might think it is. The first thing I do as a reviewer when I see something odd that I'm not sure about is look at the edit reason to see if it explains it, and in this case, it really doesn't. –  animuson Mar 29 '13 at 23:46

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