How does one refute a very negative 'rejected edit' comment, or does it even matter? Conflicting edits are of course a fact of life. But I recently received a rejection (ephasis added):

Rejection reason: This edit introduces spam, defaces the post in some way, or is otherwise inappropriate.

And the seconder, while milder, is still, I believe, wrong:

This edit is incorrect or an attempt to reply to or comment on the existing post.

The page showing my suggested edits, https://stackoverflow.com/suggested-edits/187422, does not in fact show the text I believe I was editing. But this is not my point.

My point is, as given, my suggested edits only seem to be grammatical corrections. There is nothing, I believe, in the way of "spam", "defacement", or even "attempt to comment".

So is there any recourse?

  • Just to clarify, the edit shown is not entirely mine. And it seems to omit some (minor?) info from the OP, such as the program files to compile, but I don't think that was my edit. Of course, I've done dumb things in the past. – Joseph Quinsey Jan 25 '12 at 7:01
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    I think I figured out that little mystery. You submitted your edit a moment or two after the other reviewer coincidentally submitted his. Your edit was considered more substantive by the system, so it "won" and entered the queue rather than letting you know that it would revert some things. – Charles Jan 25 '12 at 7:21
  • Thank you. But I still seem to have a big red rejected attached to me in SO. And one contributor to this page has the still-standing statement that 'the edit you submitted reduced the quality of the question instead of improv[ing] it', which doesn't bring me much comfort, despite the amelioration in his added paragraphs. – Joseph Quinsey Jan 25 '12 at 8:36
  • A single rejected edit is nothing to be ashamed of, especially given that it was mainly rejected because it would have undone another edit that you weren't even aware of at the time. Besides, in another few hundred rep, you won't need edit approval anyway. – Charles Jan 25 '12 at 13:51

I probably would have approved that particular edit. You did seem to improve the post while making it more clear, as far as I can tell. The reviewers did not agree, though. I can see how they could have been seeing what would have caused the way they each voted.

There is nothing negative to this rejection; no loss of any points or anything of the sort. The reviewers simply understood the nature of your edit differently than I am understanding it now, and so rejected it.

There's no need to refute it, though. There was nothing personal in the rejection, and those messages are canned responses from the various options we have when rejecting edits (because if we had to type a custom message every time, we'd never have time to review edits at all).

I would chalk it up to a fluke, and don't worry about it at all.

  • One more thing I could note: You did seem to improve the grammar of the last paragraph somewhat from my view, but I can see how people who speak/write a certain dialect of English may not see your changes as improvements. – Andrew Barber Jan 25 '12 at 6:56

Don't take the rejection reasons personally. Those messages are part of the suggested edit review system. They aren't typed by the users. They're descriptions of the possible ways in which an edit can be rejected.

Unfortunately there's both a little overlap between a few choices, and times when the wording is harsher than intended. For example, in the edit in question, I rejected the answer because of the unnecessary mangling of the final paragraph. I considered the edit to be invalid, and marked it such. The wording on the "invalid" rejection reason tries to imply it should be used for edits that shouldn't occur, usually because the person making the edit was trying to do the wrong thing. I personally use it to reject the occasional edit that simply shouldn't be done, but doesn't rise to the level of defacement or sink to the level of "too minor," while also being difficult to manually improve.

The other reviewer paid a bit more attention and saw your change to the question title, rejecting the entire edit as vandalism instead of "just" being invalid. You snipped out half the words and started it with a lowercase letter? Sorry, that's not going to fly, especially when the first title was just fine.

Keep in mind one of the other stock rejection reasons. Your edits should add substance or improve the question in a positive way. The edit you submitted reduced the quality of the question instead of improved it, and it was rejected.

FWIW, I think you actually had an edit collision here. The timestamp on your suggested edit is about a minute after another edit by the other reviewer. A coincidence? Not sure. It's hard to tell from the lack of a unified timeline, but I think what I saw as changing the question title was actually an unintended revert of the title to it's original state.

That changes what may have been the rejection reason by the other reviewer. If your suggested edit would have been approved, it would have undone the work he'd just done to clean up the question in a similar way. This also explains why your memory of what you thought you were editing doesn't match what the system says.

  • Thank you for your kind words. But the broader issue may be some glitch in SO software. You said the 'other reviewer paid a bit more attention and saw [my] change to the question title [...and that I] snipped out half the words and started it with a lowercase letter'. Definitely not me (perhaps to a fault). The only change to the title I made was for the misspelled word 'comparisions'. – Joseph Quinsey Jan 25 '12 at 7:39
  • Ah, but while you made that change, someone else had already made a vastly different change. When you submitted your edit, the system considered your edit to be more substantial. This means that instead of punting the edit back to you and saying "dude, someone already edited that, try again", it tried to apply the edit instead. It next went into the queue, where the diff viewer showed the changes not against the question as you originally saw it, but against the question as it existed at that moment, which effectively made the edit a downgrade instead of an upgrade. – Charles Jan 25 '12 at 13:59

Hmm, strange that the edit was rejected. Meta is the place to talk about general recourse. Perhaps you could send them a message via chat to invite them for a discussion?

  • One of them already posted an answer here; I suspect the other's explanation would be significantly similar. – Andrew Barber Jan 25 '12 at 6:57
  • Yeah, thought "eh, may as well check meta before bed..." – Charles Jan 25 '12 at 6:59
  • Yeah, I'd expect @codygray to provide an answer considering he's pretty active on Meta – Sathyajith Bhat Jan 25 '12 at 6:59
  • @Charles Good thinking :P – Sathyajith Bhat Jan 25 '12 at 7:03
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    ... downvote for what, I'm not sure. shrugs – Sathyajith Bhat Jan 25 '12 at 7:10

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