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Can we have an option to enter reasons when we reject edits by other users who don't have privileges?


I was checking a pending edit for a question about .NET obfuscators, and the user edited an answer to include a tool. Even though this looked very genuine I decided to check the user's profile and he had 0 questions, 0 votes and 5 answers. All 5 answers had the link to this tool. It looked like a spam to me.

After much thought I rejected the edit. I feel it will be better to have an option to enter reason for rejecting an edit. The answer looked very genuine and I didn't want other users to approve it. Edits get approved/rejected within seconds and I had vey little time to take an action.

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Where would the reason appear? There's no entry in the post's history if the edit is rejected – Michael Mrozek Feb 4 '11 at 8:54
@Michael Mrozek, maybe such comments can be shown on the users page ... preferably visible only to that user. I'm sure there would be other situations where it would be useful for moderators and high rep users to leave a private message like this. – Brian Reichle Feb 4 '11 at 10:30
@MichaelMrozek Each suggested edit has a unique id and appears in{id}, so the comments could appear there – Yi Jiang Feb 4 '11 at 10:59
@Yi Jiang, how likely is a user to look there to see the comment. – Ian Ringrose Feb 4 '11 at 12:55
@IanRingrose Almost impossible, because currently that page isn't actually shown to the user whose edits are been approved or rejected, but that can always be changed – Yi Jiang Feb 4 '11 at 13:12
you should flag this user's answers for moderator attention, see our promotion policy in the /faq – Jeff Atwood Feb 4 '11 at 13:39
@Jeff .. this particular answer was edited by another user and this answer is almost a year old (I guess) and Did you mean mark the aswer or mark the edit for moderator attention? marking the answer would make it appear in "tools -> Flags" section. and is this okay? – Shoban Feb 4 '11 at 17:43
@Shoban Only if you flag it as spam/offensive. If you flag it 'for moderator attention', only moderators will see it. – Nikita Rybak Feb 20 '11 at 18:53
@nikita I am not talking about Edits!! not answers. There are not "Flag" option in Edits. – Shoban Feb 20 '11 at 18:55
@Shoban I'm answering to your latest comment, about assertion you've made in the end of it: "marking the answer would make it appear in "tools -> Flags" section" – Nikita Rybak Feb 20 '11 at 18:57
@Nikita.. oh.. ok. :) – Shoban Feb 20 '11 at 18:59
up vote 20 down vote accepted

If we are not to have this feature (with text explaining the rejection, etc.), then I think we need a "top bar" that tells the users when their edit has been approved or rejected.

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They should be able to get a good idea about why it was rejected based on the subsequent edits, but I agree they'll need some notification that it was rejected if they're to feel the sting of the Clue Bat. – Brad Mace Jul 2 '11 at 3:49
What happens if it is just rejected and no further edits - ie the question's case spam or if the editor has got it totally wrong – Mark Aug 1 '11 at 12:17

I think it would make more sense to have a flag/close-type dialogue where you can choose from a number of reject reasons or fill out a free-form comment.

The reasons could be (loosely inspired from here):

  • Timid edit: Always strive to improve as much as possible with each revision - if you can't, then leave the task for someone who will.
  • Violent edit: Your edit has gone too far, and changed the meaning to the point where it is probably no longer relevant.
  • Backwards edit: Your edit has introduced new quality issues which weren't there in the original.
  • Aggressive edit: You are simply using the edit tool to insert completely new material, rather than updating anything currently extant. A better choice would be a comment or a new answer.
  • Pedantic edit: The edit doesn't really improve the quality of the post, but focuses on trivial or even potentially controversial details (e.g. 'correcting' British/American spellings).
  • Spam edit: the edit doesn't have anything to do with the answer; it is spam.

CW so you can modify at will :)

Discussion about the exact wording of these and other reasons can be found at What are the rejection reasons for suggested edits?

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@Raven, not sure I agree with you on either point: adding new material is defensible if you're trying to turn the answer into a canonical answer (though it would probably only be diplomatic to do this on older answers), as for stylistic edit, if you're making it more readable, I don't see any problem (except for contentious nit-picking, like changing US/Brit spelling). – Benjol Feb 19 '11 at 16:47
but if you allow edits to add wholly new material (instead of, you know, restricting edits to editing) you're effectively making every question community wiki. And yes, those nitpicky things are exactly what I'm talking about -- I've seen edit requests like that, too. – Raven Dreamer Feb 19 '11 at 19:02
@Raven, how's that now? – Benjol Feb 21 '11 at 5:48
yup. Looks good. – Raven Dreamer Feb 21 '11 at 6:42
How about "Sideways edit: You fixed a typo by introducing a new typo"? – Gabe Apr 9 '11 at 8:46
Those are great suggestions. +1 – cwallenpoole Aug 8 '11 at 8:52

Based on: What are the rejection reasons for suggested edits? I have deployed an initial implementation.

When you reject an edit you can choose a pre-defined reason:

rejection reason

We will look at improving the list as we go, we may also allow for free-text if we find the list too limiting (we will review the data).

When a user looks at their rejected suggested edit, they will see the reason:


Stats from the past few days:

too minor   214
invalid edit    144
radical change  72
style opinions  51
vandalism   27
copied content  9

Users can now see a list of all their suggested edits in the activity tab to facilitate learning:


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Just saw this for the first time. Can we have an "edit summary should be in the edit summary box, not the body of the edit" option? It's quite a common one that I've rejected for and about 50-50 split between "wrong feature" and "vandalism". – Flexo Sep 30 '11 at 7:23
@awoodland possibly ... we are still working the kinks out of this – waffles Sep 30 '11 at 7:36
Can we change the order of these and make something else the default selection? It's not very often that I reject a post for copying junk but it's usually either "too minor" or a "radical change." Too much work just to select the real reason and click on "Reject." – Jeff Mercado Sep 30 '11 at 8:00
@waffles, did you just accidentally post the same screenshot twice? By the way, I need another reject reason: DNR "Do not resuscitate: the patient is dead" – Benjol Sep 30 '11 at 9:04
@Benjol oops ... I messed up that edit :) – waffles Sep 30 '11 at 10:41
@waffles: Jeff's already [status-completed] it! – Matt Sep 30 '11 at 12:18
@waffles: On the "Radical Change" one could you put at the end, "e.g. change to the meaning of code." – user7116 Sep 30 '11 at 12:20
“Copied content” should not be the default selection. It's a distinct but uncommon case. – Gilles Sep 30 '11 at 13:27
I can't find a case that applies to an edit that's simply incorrect. It's not “copied”, not “invalid”, not “too minor”, and not “vandalism”. It changes the meaning, so it's not “style”, but it's a minor change that should be allowed if the correction was right so it's not “radical”. A retag, for instance. – Gilles Sep 30 '11 at 13:34
Please do add free-forms reasons now, and turn them off later if it turns out nobody uses them. The list is going to take some adjustments; in the meantime, don't make us pick nonsensical reasons. How do you hope to review the data if there's no way for reviewers to say “I wanted a custom reason here” anyway? – Gilles Sep 30 '11 at 13:39
@Gilles, it will probably have to wait a few days, we could add an "other" reason as a stop gap – waffles Sep 30 '11 at 14:20
@waffles Yes, please do. Better provide no feedback than misleading feedback. – Gilles Sep 30 '11 at 15:42
@waffles How about my suggestion here? any plans on implementing it? – Lorem Ipsum Sep 30 '11 at 16:04
Coming here to add my upvote to @Gilles request for free-form reason. Hard to decide which category "Adding a Tag-wiki to an empty tag, but the tag wiki is not the least bit useful as suggested" falls under. "Radical Change" doesn't quite cover, "suggested content is not useful". – Raven Dreamer Oct 4 '11 at 4:31
I would add "question is too old" reason.. many old questions are edited with minor stuff like "i" -> "I" or code formatting and bumped to the front page. – Shadow Wizard Oct 24 '11 at 12:58

I think this would be a great idea. Otherwise fledgling editors have no idea why their edit is rejected and never learn what makes a good edit. They then just carry on in the same way or just give up, neither of which is useful.

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There are some "fledglings" out there that are doing a great job of suggesting changes, but the majority need a nudge in the right direction. I'll improve their edits, but being able to say why I did would help a lot. – Greg Jun 4 '11 at 18:03

Your investigation could also have led to "It looks like spam, but I've checked..." et cetera. So I don't think it only applies to rejections, but to approvals as well. (All optional.)

The answer looked very genuine and I didn't want other users to approve it.

So, on Stack Overflow, you want the comments to be visible to the next reviewer too. One huge disadvantage: that next reviewer might not be 100% unbiased about the review, seeing your earlier comments, and hence knowing about your vote.

(On the other hand: that earlier vote used to be visible in the "edit(-1)" link anyhow, but I don't know if there currently is a way to see the previous vote? The tooltip might still reveal it too.)

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Occasionally I see suggested edits to answers that should have been answers of their own. I find this frustrating: I can't approve an edit that completely changes the post content, but I don't want to reject what may well have been a very good solution.

I just rejected two edits that should have been answers, and posted them as answers, marked community wiki, with a note to the editor that they should feel free to repost them as an answer of their own. That way all the potentially worthwhile content is visible to all.

It's still annoying not to be able to contact the misguided editor. I admit this only concerns a tiny fraction of suggested edits though.

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This sounds to me like a valid reason to reject.

Having said that, I've seen proposed edits that should have been accepted that got rejected for unknown reasons. Said code edit moved code from a question into a code block.

How do I know about this rejection? Because I clicked the Approve button and got "This edit has already been rejected".

Maybe I should make my own topic about this one...

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Yes but the answer looked very genuine and I didn't want other users to approve it. Edits get approved/rejected within seconds and I had vey little time to take an action. – Shoban Feb 4 '11 at 17:45
@Shoban, even when 2 reviewers reject, the spam attempt still might need to be reported. You could flag any post from the same author, and include the permalink to the review in your comment to a moderator. (Still, I like the idea of accept/reject comments, just like a revision comment.) – Arjan Feb 13 '11 at 10:13

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