I heard that only 10k users are allowed to review (and approve) edits done by the little people. Why set it so high, especially if you allow 2k users to edit without approval?
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You heard wrong; to approve post edits you need the same amount of rep as to perform the edits, 2k. Editing tag wikis is harder, so approving them requires more rep, 5k (weirdly, this means it is possible to be able to approve a tag wiki edit but not be able to edit the tag wiki yourself). 10k lets you see the suggested edits review tab, which lists all edits waiting in the queue
No, currently only the 10k users can see a list of all pending edits. But if you happen to bump into a pending edit, 2k is enough.