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How do suggested edits work?

Earlier today, I was doing some reviews and saw a question for which someone had suggested adding a tag. The new tag however was incorrect and did not apply to the question, so I rejected the edit (adding an explanation to that effect).

Later on, I found another tag that was more appropriate and would have narrowed the question’s field. I tried to add it, but could not because the question was marked as edit (1) and clicking it gave a message about there being a pending edit.

I figure this was because someone else had already accepted the aforementioned edit’s incorrect new tag, thus causing a conflict.

I checked back a couple of hours later and found that there were no longer any pending edits (the incorrect tag had been rejected by a mod), and in fact, it was even closed. I was now able to add the correct tag.

This was at best inconvenient and had I been busier, I would probably not have (even remembered to) return later on to improve the question.

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    No, edit (1) means the edit is still pending, not that it had already been accepted, or there was a new pending edit. Until a pending edit has been accepted, posts are locked for editing. Do you have n actual question? – Martijn Pieters Dec 23 '12 at 21:27
  • If you don't improve the edit right there when you're reviewing, then yes, you have to wait until it gets accepted or rejected. That's just how the system works. Unfortunately at the time you didn't know of a better tag to add, so you rejected it. There's nothing you can do about that. – animuson Dec 23 '12 at 21:28
  • No, edit (1) means the edit is still pending Yes, but it does not do that if there was not a conflict (one person accept, another reject). – Synetech Dec 23 '12 at 21:31
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    RE: "That's just how the system works" I presume this is a feature request to change how it works isn't it? – Martin Smith Dec 23 '12 at 21:31
  • you have to wait until it gets accepted or rejected. Except it was already both accepted and rejected. So what’s the hold up? – Synetech Dec 23 '12 at 21:32
  • I presume this is a feature request to change how it works isn't it? Or just a clarification of why it was locked (maybe an improvement on how it is handled in this case). – Synetech Dec 23 '12 at 21:33
  • @Synetech: A suggested edit is pending on Stack Overflow until it gets three votes either way. It's accepted at three accept votes and rejected at three reject votes. – animuson Dec 23 '12 at 21:36
  • @animuson, yes I saw that in the other post. Thanks for the link. – Synetech Dec 23 '12 at 21:38

Okay, I figured it out. As this answer says:

Two accept or reject votes are required to remove the suggested edit from the queue and either apply the edit to the post or discard it. It used to be a single vote

So it seems it was not a matter of a conflict, but rather that all edits require two accepts or rejects. As such, it simply required waiting for someone else to review the suggested edit.

I had never run into this issue before, so I was not aware of the requirements to clear a suggestion from the queue. It should not be too much a problem, but it is conceivable that a question could end up being locked for a while if for example an SE site has a relatively low number of users and the time is bad (e.g., midnight on a holiday).

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    It's actually three votes on Stack Overflow, two on all other sites. – animuson Dec 23 '12 at 21:37
  • @animuson, three votes total or three identical? – Synetech Dec 25 '12 at 14:35
  • Three identical votes. – animuson Dec 25 '12 at 16:07

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