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As a new edit reviewer on Stack Overflow, I found out the following. Of all edits:

  1. 20% are quality edits
  2. 15% are crap
  3. 65% are OK but minor (corrected indentation, removed one or two typos)

Reviewers have 3 buttons:

  • Approve (which gives 2 rep to the edit proposer)
  • Reject
  • Skip (which goes to the next question)

In case 1 or 2, it is easy to use the Approve or Reject button. However, in the case of minor edits, neither the accept nor reject buttons feel right:

  • Should you accept the minor edit (which gives 2 rep) even if the edit creator hasn't really contributed a lot to the community by creating that edit (and doesn't deserve the 2 points)?
  • Should you reject the edit even if that edit improves the question (just a bit)?

I propose to add a new option to accept an edit without giving any rep.
This would have many positive effects:

  1. More positive edits will be accepted, improving the global formatting of the questions.
  2. "Rep whores" who try to edit lots of question won't do that so often unless the edit has more value.
  3. The edit decisions are faster for the reviewers. Most of the edits are of category 3.
  4. Editors and reviewers will probably be happier to see that the site improves overall (because more edits are approved).
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5  
There is already a button specifically for minor edits. Reject as "too minor". You seem to be approving these edits. That's the problem, you should be rejecting them. When you actually reject them then people stop submitting them (either because they learn, or because they get edit banned, but either way they stop). –  Servy May 19 at 20:15
    
@Servy currently I am rejecting minor edits exactly because of that reason –  edi9999 May 19 at 20:17
    
So why would a new button to approve without rep instead of reject be any easier/faster for you as a reviewer? –  Servy May 19 at 20:18
7  
Click edit, untick the checkbox saying suggested edit was helpful, fix the rest of the issues with the post. –  3ventic May 19 at 20:20
    
Because rejecting all these edits is throwing away valuable work. –  edi9999 May 19 at 20:22
1  
@edi9999 It's throwing away work that's not valuable. (By definition. If it was valuable, then the edits wouldn't be too minor.) When you actually reject the edits then editors learn not to make them, so you don't get them. The only reason there are so many minor edits int he review queue is because so many people approve them (because so many people approve most everything). –  Servy May 19 at 20:22
    
I don't agree, even some minor formatting improves the site overall if done on many questions. @3ventic this won't give rep ? –  edi9999 May 19 at 20:24
1  
If you untick the box, the suggested edit will be rejected, but will be applied as part of your edit –  3ventic May 19 at 20:26
    
@Servy as the editor of the question, you wouldn't know when the post is rejected or approved without rep. Actually I was seeking for 3ventic's solution but it just isn't accessible enough –  edi9999 May 19 at 20:29
    
@edi9999 If you have a number of rejected edits there is a warning box linking you to your activity log. If a user has enough edits rejected they end up banned entirely (and also linked to their activity log). And of course plenty of people notice the "not getting rep". –  Servy May 19 at 20:31
7  
Wait, hold on. Is the work that went into these edits valuable or not? If it is, why would you want to deny the editor rep? If it isn't, why wouldn't you reject the edit? –  Anna Lear May 19 at 20:47
    
The work is valuable (even reindenting stuff is), but it might not be valuable enough to accept it (minor edit). –  edi9999 May 19 at 21:01
    
@edi9999 Then the "improve" option is most certainly the one you want. –  Anna Lear May 19 at 21:39

2 Answers 2

You have missed out the fourth option:

Improve

This takes you to the edit page where you can improve the edit.

There's also a check box that allows you to decide whether or not to award the +2 for the suggestion or not.

If the suggested edit was OK, but perhaps didn't go far enough or maybe introduced some other problem then you can uncheck this box. The suggester will hopefully see that they didn't get the rep and learn from their mistake.

However, for clearly suggestions that are clearly bad, they should be rejected.

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Frankly, I don't trust your judgments of edit quality as a new reviewer on Stack Overflow. You just unlocked the review privilege earlier today, and have only reviewed 20 suggestions at the time of this post. That's just barely enough to make the accuracy of your percentages algebraically feasible. What makes you think the suggestions you've reviewed today are representative of edits in general?

Your reasoning regarding the benefits of your proposal is similarly suspicious.

1) More positive edits will be accepted, improving the global formatting of the questions.

Are you suggesting that many positive edits are rejected because reviewers don't want to award 2 rep? Regardless, diminishing the reliability of that incentive would diminish the frequency of suggestions somewhat, which would mean fewer improvements.

2) "Rep whores" who try to edit lots of question won't do that so often unless the edit has more value.

"Rep whores" aren't necessarily submitting worse edits. As above, this conflicts with your first point.

3) The edit decisions are faster for the reviewers. Most of the edits are of category 3.

You're suggesting we give reviewers an extra option to consider. How would this make it faster? I have a much easier time judging whether the suggestion is valid than I would if I had to judge its rep-worthiness on top of this.

4) Editors and reviewers will probably be happier to see that the site improves overall (because more edits are approved).

Redundant with your first point, and suspicious for the same reasons.


Another issue to consider is the value of editing as a viable pathway to unlocking privileges. Gaining reputation might be relatively trivial on Stack Overflow if you know what you're doing, but it comes much slower on some sites. Suggesting edits is a nice alternative to asking or answering for users who want to help build communities. It's particularly useful when one doesn't have the expertise to answer many questions and doesn't have any particularly original questions to ask. Editing involves a lot of reading, which builds that missing expertise over time and generates questions.

In my own case, I've become a much better statistician by editing my way to 2K rep on Cross Validated. In the process of looking for questions to edit, I've found many I could answer that I wouldn't have looked at otherwise, and came up with my only question thus far. Now that I have the badge too, this doesn't happen as often on Cross Validated.

For the moment, I've moved on to Meta Stack Exchange and Travel Answers instead! Edits aside, I've made most of my contributions on each while looking for posts to edit. My contributions are definitely better for all the editing I've done. I've gained a much better understanding of the site-specific cultures than I began with. As your question indicates inadvertently, you should not underestimate the complexity of this acculturation process. One thing I've noticed here: s for changes to the rep system seem particularly hazardous for your rep score. Is that ironic? I can't decide...Guess I'd better go edit some questions on English Language & Usage next.

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