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This suggested edit has “added 3408 characters in body”, yet the diff only shows 11 added characters. Why?


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Hmm, I just tried to inspect this, and then I discovered that there's no way to view the source (raw markdown syntax) for suggested edits. That used to be there, and I'd very much like it back! – Cody Gray Jul 24 '11 at 12:11
up vote 5 down vote accepted

As a <2k user across the network, I think I can shed some light here. When a user goes to re-edit a post on which he has a pending suggested edit, the software automatically fills in the edit summary from the most recent version of the suggested edit. So assuming that the behavior hasn't changed since 2011, a likely explanation is that the user in question did initially propose an edit at 10:04 that added some 3000+ characters, and then, over the subsequent 2-hour period before rejection, modified the suggestion at least once until it became the one-line change we see preserved in the linked review. If the user never bothered to touch the edit summary box throughout the whole process, the automatically-generated summary from the initial proposal would remain – completely untouched – on all subsequent versions of the suggestion despite no longer being an accurate reflection of the content.

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True, that's the most likely explanation, and only a dev can confirm for sure. – Shadow Wizard Feb 28 '15 at 0:20

There are just two cases when this would happen

  1. bug

It's probably that first case, but I have no idea why would OP do it

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Ah, perhaps some artifact left over from a previous rejected edit by the same user (which is only about 2000 characters long though)? – Gilles Jul 24 '11 at 12:41
@Gilles: probablyy – genesis Jul 24 '11 at 12:42

Just come across another example where there have been nowhere near 16,261 characters added.

This suggest that it's a as the chances of the OP, who's only interacted with one question, getting the grammar correct for the automatically created edit description is minimal.

enter image description here

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Could very well be simply a huge amount of whitespace added.

They don't show up in the diff, but the characters are counted towards that number.

(Random edit to a sandbox post here - shows 186 chars added to body that are not visible in the diff.)

This theory has been debunked: this screenshot and this one show that whitespace does show up in the suggested edit diff view. (Thanks Gilles for the captures!)

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Shouldn't the whitespace be indicated (with →) in the markdown diff? Or does that happen only for whitespace at the beginning of a line? If it isn't, I might turn this into a feature request. – Gilles Jul 24 '11 at 12:49
Not sure... I just made a test edit on your question, but... I can't see the suggested edits on meta :-) ... – Mat Jul 24 '11 at 12:53
Thanks for the experiment, here's a screenshot of the markdown diff view of your edit. How much whitespace did you add at the end of the line? – Gilles Jul 24 '11 at 12:59
Well, there goes my theory... I add three spaces on the first line then 10 or so empty lines that are clearly visible in that screenshot. I'll delete this shortly. – Mat Jul 24 '11 at 13:01
Don't delete this yet. Can you try adding lots of space characters at the end of the line? (I'd do it, but I can't suggest edits on Meta, and I don't want to disrupt another site.) – Gilles Jul 24 '11 at 13:07
Ok: I just tried adding 100 spaces at the end of the first line, and nothing else. – Mat Jul 24 '11 at 13:10
Thanks. There goes that theory: the spaces do show up as →. – Gilles Jul 24 '11 at 13:13

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