Since we are rejecting the edit, we should still be able to add a comment to the reject reason when reviewing a suggested edit as "Reject and Edit".

For example, take this suggested edit which attempted to add a <!-- language: --> comment to the post. The editor put the comment at the beginning of the post, which means the comment doesn't do anything at all (I tested, it didn't get used). The comment has to be placed directly above the code block it affects.

This means I had to go in and improve the edit just to move it to a different spot. I chose "Reject and Edit" instead of "Improve Edit" because it wasn't a helpful edit - it was incorrect since it was in the wrong spot. However, the suggested edit permalink page only marks it as "Rejected by Community ♦" with the canned reason that the edit didn't correct critical issues with the post. It would be nice to be able to explain to the user that they put the comment in the wrong spot, and how to properly insert language comments. Also, the canned comment wasn't really correct in this case.

Note: I know some people might argue that I should have instead chosen "Improve Edit" since it made me make the correct edit or whatever, but that is a bad argument. You have to remember that choosing that option adds that incorrect revision to the revision history. It's far better off only having the correct revision. Also, the suggester will likely just ignore it, and make incorrect edits of the same type later on.

Also, expanding off a previous suggestion I made, the reject reason should be listed under my username rather than Community, listing Community as a second reject-user only when another user hasn't rejected the post as well.

  • 5
    +1 for pre-empting possible objections; wish more questions were written that way to save me the work of posting snarky comments in the first place. Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 3:05
  • Just a quick question for clarification: any user can see a suggested edit page, correct?
    – Someone
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 3:23
  • Er... it was helpful, for exactly the reason you stated. "It's far better off only having the correct revision" means there's no need for the checkbox at all -- all improved edits should just be rejected Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 3:24
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    @Purmou: I believe so, as the suggestion gets linked in the post's history (if it's approved). The point is the user who suggested it can always see it.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 3:25
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    @Michael: Not at all. If he would have made other changes that improved the post, it would have been helpful, as I was only changing one part of what he changed. But that was the only change he made, and it was incorrect.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 3:26
  • @animuson Edits are unhelpful if they...well...don't help. His edit was clearly helpful, he just messed up the syntax Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 3:31
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    @Michael: I think you're trying to cast the same ideas for moderators "dismissing flags as helpful" onto the suggested edit system.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 3:36
  • @animuson Why would they be any different? They have the same rationale Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 4:00
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    @Michael: You don't get reputation for flagging things. As the staff have emphasized over and over, we're not supposed to care about our flag weight. Our helpful flags are a "meaningless number." Reputation is not. We'd be giving a user 2 reputation for an incorrect, useless edit.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 4:02
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    @Michael: Using that logic would be the absolute opposite of your first comment. The checkbox shouldn't exist, all improved edits should be approved.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 4:05
  • 1
    @Michael: So, let's pretend the Improve button didn't exist at all. Would you vote to Approve that edit knowing it was wrong, then wait for it to get approved in order to make the proper edit to it?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 4:08
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    I can understand the argument. I think of it as "was the user trying to help or not" because of the whole mod flag thing; you think of it as "was the edit right or not". I lean towards rewarding them if they were being useful, even if they failed at it Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 4:12
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    I agree with @MichaelMrozek on that one. He has tried to do the right thing and invested some effort into it. If you make a little mistake in your job you still get your money at the end of the month. Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 12:45
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    The real win of this feature request has nothing to do with the +2 the editor gets, but rather the invaluable ability to provide feedback. If they're making edits like this, that's great: we want to encourage them to do so. But if their edits are wrong or less than stellar for whatever reason, we want to be able to gently correct that so that their future edits won't have to be improved by one of the reviewers. Point being, I'm willing to hit "reject" just so that I can add a comment. Who cares that they don't get the +2. 1 rejected edit won't ban them, and their next edits will be better. Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 18:50
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    That specific edit is completely useless anyway since the question already has the [python] tag which automatically causes the code block to be highlighted as Python. Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 17:50

2 Answers 2


I can definitely see this feature working out.

I mark edits as helpful when most of the edit did validly correct certain things and I needed to improve on few parts.

In your case, this wasn't the appropriate thing to do—the entire edit was incorrect (even if it just required changing the location of the language indicator). The user doesn't deserve the two rep for providing an incorrect edit and not being attentive towards the correct markdown formatting.

I would also appreciate for a user to get a notification when an edit is rejected or accepted. This, along with the rejection reason feature, would be a very useful set of additions to the "suggested edits" system.

  • 1
    I completely disagree. I see the two reputation a user gets as a reward for his effort to fix a question. If he clearly did the right thing but failed because of the syntax then it was not a useless edit. Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 12:47
  • I think if they were at least partially helpful, then I agree with @TheUnicornWhisperer but if they weren't helpful at all then I disagree.
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 15:02

While I understand the problem and agree with the intent, I disagree with the current proposed solution.

In this scenario, the original author is the single voice of reason. While there is nothing wrong with this, per se, giving a single voice a 1-way free-form verbal comminucation with no peer feedback nor flagging mechanism is dangerous. It allows the original author to easily snap back at the editor with zero consequences.

Allowing arbitrary text fields — as opposed to, say, multiple choices similarly used for flagging questions — is a double edge sword. Free-form text is a potential source for abuse. Being a peer-moderated community, you'll notice that almost every single point of free-form text entry has a Peer Review System or Flagging System or both. These mechanisms are there to curb and deter bad behaviour (ie: lack of respect, verbal abuse, etc.)

  • Questions & Answers: Peer Review (first-post review mechanism & votes), Flagging System.
  • Comments: Flagging System.
  • Edits: Peer Review (2-person panel).

You'll also notice there's no direct way of communicating with a single individual. Profiles don't display email addresses and there's no private messaging system.

In the particular scenario described, the original author of the post is the only reviewing entity (able to accept and dismiss edits). As such, I believe it would be prudent not to allow free-form text here. Nothing would prevent someone from replying something like "Stop doing so-and-so you f#$%tard!" (I'm sure you can imagine much worse replies.) and there would be no consequences; no way for peers to protect the victim (through a flagging system) since rejected edits are hidden from plain sight.

Again, I agree with the intent of giving better feedback to editors, but allowing free-form text might open the door to other problems (unless other mechanisms are added).

  • 1
    Let me get this straight: for me to add anything of value or to "make much sense" on Meta, a site whose purpose is to be a place to discuss about Stack Overflow, I need to dissect and know all the nuances of sister site other than SO?!? -- It's okay to disagree with me; but I draw the line at claiming I "don't make much sense" simply because I ignore nuances on how every single SE site operates! Validity != Value // An argument you don't value doesn't make it a non-sensical argument! Commented May 10, 2012 at 19:13
  • But if "every other site does it" is all the argument we need... Then why the hell are we wasting time discussing about it : "Every other site already does it!!!!" Make it so. I approve of this! Commented May 10, 2012 at 19:18
  • Also, I don't think we've fully separated Meta.SE from Meta.SO so questions, feature requests, etc. posted here could apply equally to all sites, not just SO.
    – Yawus
    Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 15:57
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    After re-evaluating your response, I honestly don't understand why you're so hung up on free-form text. This is basically combining the existing reject method with the improve method. The user may not necessarily even enter free-form text, as the existing options would still be available to select from. As well, if users are adding inappropriate comments in the rejection reasons, they are probably also not willing to actually improve the post. It's just as likely to happen in a normal reject, and the user should be flagged and moderators can take appropriate action in warning them.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 5:01

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