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Why does the Community ♦ user sometimes approve or reject edits?
How does a machine know if my edit is valid?
What does it mean if my edit was rejected by Community ♦?

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up vote 57 down vote accepted

When a user suggests an edit, their edit is put in the Suggested Edits review queue. The edit will leave the queue under three conditions:

  • If two users (three users on Stack Overflow only) vote to approve or reject the edit
  • If the original poster or a diamond moderator approves or rejects the edit (their vote is binding)
  • If the Community ♦ user steps in and approves or rejects the edit

The first two should be self-explanatory, as that is the purpose of the review queues. In this case, the suggested edit has been reviewed.

However, the last one can be a bit confusing, especially since there is no reason provided when Community ♦ rejects an edit. (There is a proposal concerning this here.) Community ♦ is the automatic user designed to take care of maintenance for the site, and it may approve or reject edits under the following conditions.

A reviewer either improves an edit, or rejects and replaces it with a different edit

When one is reviewing suggested edits, there are five available buttons, two of which allow the reviewer to edit the post themselves:

five buttons

If the reviewer chooses Improve Edit and submits their improved form of it, the suggested edit is approved by Community ♦ (and immediately replaced by the improved one). If the reviewer chooses Reject and Edit, Community ♦ rejects the suggestion.

A user with full edit privileges saves an edit over yours

If a user with full editing privileges (note that the original poster has full editing privileges on their own posts) begins editing the post at the same time as you, then your edit will be overridden in favor of theirs, if both are saved at approximately the same time.

This is known in software as an optimistic lock. We can assume that this is an edge case, and does not happen very often. Thus, when one person starts editing a post, we do not need to lock everyone else out. While the UI attempts to avoid these situations (by prompting you with "an edit has been made to this post; click to load"), they do sometimes occur.

This sometimes appears strange to a viewer—as if Community ♦ has immediately rejected their edit, without warning, with no hesitation.

immediate death

Do not be alarmed! This is just concurrent modification, working its evil magic once again.

When determining if this is the cause of the rejection, keep in mind that a user gets a 5-minute grace period when editing. If they submit another edit that overrides your suggestion within this grace period, a new revision is not created, but your suggestion is still automatically rejected due to the edit conflict.

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Thanks, very helpful information. I can now explain some odd behavior observed when editing and reviewing myself. – Ivaylo Slavov Dec 12 '13 at 12:49
hehe and community user just took hold of this post too! :D How dare you say something about him! :D – Afzaal Ahmad Zeeshan Jan 14 '14 at 17:03

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