I sometimes find myself in the situation where I first Approved an edit and later decide that it could still use some improvement or correction of typos. When I now go to the post and click Edit, it pops up with the message that the edit still requires one more vote.

This blocking-the-edit-after-approving doesn't seem to serve a purpose, or I'm missing the point.

After all, before approving, I had all the rights to edit that post before I clicked Approve. Now I'm barred from editing until it receives another vote, while if I could still improve it, this new vote wouldn't be necessary, the post improves and everybody wins.

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  • 2
    Kinda contradicts itself: you approved his edits (i.e. they're ok), but still say it could have been better..Don't approve it in the first place, then! I see many people eager to click the "approve" button when the post itself still could need other improvements Jan 16, 2012 at 15:43
  • It takes two people to approve an edit on Stack Overflow. The edit is still waiting on someone else to approve it.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jan 16, 2012 at 15:43
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    @ChrisF, I understand that. My point is about banning edits once the first Approve-button is clicked. While Damien seems to think this contradicts it, I beg to differ, as I believe these features could be complementary and improve ease of use.
    – Abel
    Jan 16, 2012 at 15:46
  • @DamienPirsy: approving an edit is one thing, then going to the thread out of interest and considering another improvement is another. Note that any other user with enough creds is still able to edit, but why not me?
    – Abel
    Jan 16, 2012 at 15:48
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    @Abel that would mean you improved it without thinking too much on it. Fine, and it always happens to spot something you didn't see before, but making it programmatically means you first approve, then consider. It should be the reverse, with occasional exceptions Jan 16, 2012 at 15:55
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    @Damien and the occasional exception is now prohibited. Which is my point (I'm not trying to argue that we should stop thinking and considering when clicking the Approve button...;)
    – Abel
    Jan 16, 2012 at 16:00
  • Occasional exceptions are, by definition, very rare. If you start assuming that this could happen often you make edit approvals loose value; that being the case, you could as well remove the need of 2 judge-users to approve it: who needs two approver, it's good nonetheless! well, with a few adjustments here and there...an approvement, a couple improvements, and it's perfect! Jan 16, 2012 at 16:25
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    @Damien this site has many features that allow for rectification of too quickly a decision. Consider undoing your vote in 10 seconds, editing your edit in 5 minutes or changing a comment. All these were originally considered bogus and people should "think" before they post. The truth is, that doesn't always happen. Why prohibit what's easy to allow to make a smoother and more friendly user experience?
    – Abel
    Jan 16, 2012 at 17:49
  • Those are different things. Votes can be changed because content can change <-- content can change because you can add/remove things, and you don't have any obbligation on what you write <-- comments can change for the same reason. What, to me, seems you're not grasping is the concept of "approvation". It means you are giving a judgment on the value, and say if it's correct or not. While everyone makes mistakes, the less of them the better. What you refer to in your remark is not "approvation": have a read on its meaning Jan 16, 2012 at 17:59
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    @Damien: well, my English is not that bad, I hope ;). I think I've hardly ever changed my vote or comment because content changed, more because my understanding changed. But let's agree to disagree: it seems that we emphasize different aspects, where you seem to want to secure proper behavior, and I want to enable correction of unattended improper behavior.
    – Abel
    Jan 16, 2012 at 18:08
  • Yeah, but it would be YOUR improper behaviour! You should be responsbile of your actions, theoretically :) Jan 16, 2012 at 18:15
  • If you still wanted to edit the post, you could do some URL twiddling to get to the edit page. An edit you do there will be counted as an "improvement" to the suggestion, despite your pending approval. Jan 16, 2012 at 18:25
  • 1
    Possible duplicate: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/82128/…
    – Rob Hruska
    Feb 15, 2012 at 20:26

1 Answer 1


Oh well, I've written so much in the comments I could wrap them up in an answer.

Basing on the definition of "approve" in the Webster dictionary: :

  1. Give sanction to; "I approve of his educational policies".[Wordnet]
  2. Judge to be right or commendable; think well of.[Wordnet]
  3. To show to be real or true; to prove.[Websters]
  4. To make proof of; to demonstrate; to prove or show practically.[Websters]
  5. To sanction officially; to ratify; to confirm; as, to approve the decision of a court-martial.[Websters]
  6. To regard as good; to commend; to be pleased with; to think well of; as, we approve the measured of the administration.[Websters]
  7. To make or show to be worthy of approbation or acceptance.[Websters]

(bold is mine) The process of approvation implies that you make a judgment, the more pondered upon the better, on a subject and the you sanction that subject to be good enought for the standards and therefore can be taken as it is.

If you say you approve something, but at the same time that it's in need of improvements, you're quite contradiction yourself, as the process of approval - since there are no possibilities here of "approval but with some doubts", or however you say it in English - must mean you think that content is worth enough.

I know there are things that can be undone like you said in your comments, like votes (but only in a small timespan, and later on unless the post is edited), questions/answers and comments (within limits), but all those things have different natures. User are not compelled to give the best answer ever (nor the one they could), and problems may arise after comments or more infos, so it's ok to be able to modify it. Same goes for votes, but as you see those are closer to an "approval" as once the grace period is over, you can only change your vote (i.e. change your judgment) only if the answer/question changes, thus meaning you are responsible for the vote you gave, and can change it only if things behind it change (answer gets better/worse)

As for approvals, if you allow people to approve, but then change their mind and improve it, where is the need for 2 people's judgment then? why do I need another person's (competent) opinion if my approval has a lower value, and can be changed? we could skip the process altogether then, don't you think?

If you approve something you're required to think upon it, and think well, otherwise you're approving lightly and, effectively, approving something that might not be worth of approval. If you think upon it, you see if it's worth or not. If you don't think and start approving, you're not doing a perfect job there.

I see many times people approving without thinking too much, maybe where posts has only a single word changed while there surely was other things to change. This is, in my opinion, a "bad" behaviour, and giving the possibility to improve an approval only diminish the value of the process, as if it wasn't already underrated too often.

Sorry if I'm not entirely clear but English is not my first-language, hope I made my point though.

  • 7
    There is no reason whatsoever (in what ever context we're talking about) you can't approve of something and also be able to improve upon it. Jan 16, 2012 at 18:21
  • it depends on how high you set the bar. You can approve it in the sense it's "good enough" or approve it in the sense "it's a job well done". I think this is what they thought when giving the ability to approve an edit, and require 2 people to accept the approval. But as I said, it's my opinion Jan 16, 2012 at 18:24

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