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I came upon this situation in an edit review:

Due to both a language translation issue and insufficient information, I probably should have abandoned the edit review and just commented on the question/flagged it. I start to edit the question and decide it is beyond the ability the help, then click back, which takes me to the previous review, then click forward and see this.

enter image description here

So- what did I do wrong? I should still have the ability to deny the edit because it the edit doesn't sufficiently help the question, but I lost that by clicking back and forward in the browser.

And now I'd need to go to the question to comment to indicate that the question is bad, but I assume maybe the editor got credit for correcting a question in a way that didn't deface the question but added nothing to do- it is just as unclear.

It would be nice if there were an option like "this question is Fubar'd" in the review, rather than just to reject the edit, even though that might seem like a violation of handling the action at-hand, which is the review. And it seems that I shouldn't lose the ability to review just because I clicked back and forward in the browser. Anyway- please let me know what I should have done in this case.

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The edit had apparently been approved by the time you got back to it. Worth noting: it was a bad suggested edit. I've closed the question. –  Robert Harvey Mar 17 '14 at 21:12
Thanks @RobertHarvey! Should I have just hit "Deny" rather than "Improve" in this case? –  Gary S. Weaver Mar 17 '14 at 21:14
Decline edit as Too Minor. Then go flag the question for closure. –  JonW Mar 17 '14 at 21:21

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

This makes for an interesting case study on the behavior of suggested edit reviewers. Yes, this edit was pointless - it amounts to little more than a fresh coat of paint on a sinking ship. It is clearly an improvement to the original - just far, far too little to really help.

Identifying the criteria needed to reject the edit requires more effort than identifying the criteria by which it may be approved. Identifying the changes that would be necessary to actually salvage the question requires yet more time and effort. Therefore, reviewers who have developed a workflow that optimizes for time spent reviewing will first approve anything that isn't clearly harmful and then reject anything that might be. "Improve" has no role to play here - it remains most useful on sites without many active reviewers, where otherwise a pending suggested edit might block other editors for extended periods of time. Outside of that exists mostly as a relic of a time when suggested edits might hang around for hours.

That's not really what we intended... But it's how the system works most efficiently, and thus the path that folks are prone to walk.

What should you have done? Well, I still say you should've rejected the edit - it serves no purpose, and although the rejection won't accomplish anything useful directly it may indirectly help educate the editor as to what is expected.

If you then felt you could do something to salvage the question yourself, it's easy enough to go back and edit it. Whether that's worth your time is up to you, but you can at least do so at your leisure without worrying about the fate of the pointless edit.

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"too minor" might need a rewording from 'this is just a teeny bit you changed!' to 'this post needs a lot more than that', but it would fit the bill for this kind of thing, methinks. –  user98085 Mar 18 '14 at 0:33
I think I remember once getting a custom message one of my edits, telling me that it's not worth editing such a bad post. If more reviewers start to reject for similar cases, then should they bother to leave a related message each time? It at least seems more specific than "too minor" in these cases. –  Jamal Mar 18 '14 at 1:55

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