For us experienced users, this can be extremely irritating at times. I typed out a well-thought-out edit but someone else had already submitted another not-as-well-thought-out edit that only covered a couple things I was covering in mine. So I had to refresh the page and type out some other edits again only to find out that another user submitted another edit before me, still only fixing one thing out of some of the other things I was going to fix. Frustrating, yes.

Now the edits that I was going to make seem so minor, that I don't even want to bother making the edits because it would just add another edit to the history and push it that much closer to community wiki, being edit #3 from user #3. Seems ridiculous.

My proposal:

Have the option to bring up the edit that was submitted for that user to review and make a determination from there. The user can then either:

  1. Override the edit that was submitted previously by marking "my edit is already better than that." This should effectively just get rid of the previous edit for being "too minor" since yours already covered it all and exceeded what it covered. Like a "reject and improve" for suggested edits (except it wasn't suggested).

  2. Make further updates to include things that might have been missed by you that were made in the other edit before submitting your finalized edit. Like a "approve and improve" for suggested edits (blah blah).

  3. Discard their edit entirely.

One user taking their time and making one massive substantial edit should be able to override those who continue to make tiny little minor edits one by one. Again, frustrating.

From the comments, here's the original edit I was trying to submit to this post:

Title: Google's "+1" button code causes W3C validation error


I am using this code:

    <g:plusone annotation="inline"></g:plusone>

Which produces these errors:

> there is no attribute "annotation"

> element "g:plusone" undefined

Tags: Remove and add

Obviously I don't remember the exact edit I was trying to submit, but that's close to what I was trying to save all in one edit.

  • If your edit was actually more comprehensive, it should've just let you save it. It only blocks you if you changed less than the other edit Feb 4, 2012 at 7:09
  • 1
    My initial edit changed all the title, body, and tags. The edit it was compared too only changed the title and body. :/ Still kicked it out. The second user only changed a tag and neither the title nor body (both of which I changed again). Kicked that one out too.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 7:10
  • I'm confused what exactly happened. Can you describe what happened, not only why it sucked? In particular, what do you mean by "kicked out" in your comment?
    – balpha StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 7:17
  • @balpha: It refused to let me save it anyways. Would only show the dialog that someone else edited it already and I had to refresh the page.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 7:19
  • "Refused to save" -- how? What happened when you tried? And what "dialog" do you mean exactly? And what is the post where this happened?
    – balpha StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 7:26
  • @balpha: I tried just clicking the Save It button again to see if it would override and it just kept giving me the orange popup by the button that said "This User has edited the post already blah blah blah." It was on this post (I'm pretty sure the second person edited the title in his 5 minute grace period, after I had already decided to give up on the editing). Does it have something to do with them having more reputation than me?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 7:31
  • Can you describe what you edited? I fail to see the opportunity for a "massive substantial edit" in that post; it can't get much more substantial than Michael Petrotta's edit. And no, it doesn't have to do with reputation (as long as you have edit rights), only with the amount of change: You're only allowed to override the edit if your edit is considerably larger than the one you're throwing away.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 7:37
  • @balpha: I added what I was trying to do to the post. It's not a huge difference, obviously because the post isn't very big. But it was definitely a noticeable difference.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 7:39
  • Your second attempt at editing -- the one that collided with Chris Morgans edit -- was that rejected or didn't you try to submit it?
    – balpha StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 7:48
  • @balpha: Yes, that one gave me the orange popups as well. I refresh the page, but I'm not entirely sure about that one. I know the "+1" was still "plusone" when I first viewed it but I don't remember if he added the "validation" word in when he changed the "+1" in his grace period or if it was already there.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2012 at 7:50

1 Answer 1


As far as the one experience you're describing goes, it looks like the system worked as expected. Michael Petrotta's edit was first, so your edit would have to add substantially more to be automatically accepted despite being based on the not-current revision. And it really didn't.

As far as your feature request goes, I don't think I'd like to have an as frictionless way as a button labeled "yeah, that edit sucks, mine is better, forget the other one". The reason being: People would click it. And there's a good reason for the "more substantial" rule; see The editing race - the slackers always win.

There should be some friction involved in totally invalidating another user's work for minor reasons.

With just a tiny bit of friction, it's of course already doable.

1. Override the edit that was submitted previously by marking "my edit is already better than that."

Copy your edit box' content to the clipboard; reload the page; click edit; paste; click "submit edit". This won't be rejected because it's based on the current revision.

2. Make further updates to include things that might have been missed by you that were made in the other edit before submitting your finalized edit.

Same thing, except that you do some more typing between "paste" and "click submit".

3. Discard their edit entirely.

That one is obvious.

So if you really feel that your edit was so much better than the faster one to warrant throwing away the first edit, nothing is stopping you from doing it. But it shouldn't be too easy.

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