Are the following statements correct (for SO only, I understand the numbers differ elsewhere):

  • 3 rejections are required to reject an edit and remove it from the queue
  • 3 approvals are required to approve an edit and remove it from the queue
  • if the OP edits the post the pending suggested edit will be rejected by community, but the text of that edit may end up in the post anyway if the OP feels like keeping it (note 1)
  • if a single reviewer clicks Improve their changes will end up in the post and the edit will be approved or rejected (by the reviewer? or by community?) based on the checkbox about being helpful with no further opportunity for robo-approvers to approve the original crap

note 1 - I don't think all these OPs are unchecking "edit was helpful" which is checked by default, but it's possible the accept/reject by community depends on that box. Possible, but doesn't match my observations.

If these are correct, could I not conclude that hitting Reject is a mug's game that leaves the suggested edit in the queue for robo-approvers, and the smart money clicks Improve and sets to work doing what needs to be done? That the only way to solve robo-approvers is to be willing to do the work, not just to say "not good enough" to a crappy suggestion?

  • 8
    The problem is when the robo-approvers approve the poor edit faster than you can improve it. Jan 31, 2013 at 16:52
  • race condition: if I click Improve, can people approve behind me or do I own it for a while? Jan 31, 2013 at 16:57
  • 2
    @Kate: you don't own it, it's racy.
    – Mat
    Jan 31, 2013 at 16:58
  • 2
    If you work too long on your edit you can't save it, because the suggested edit will already be approved.
    – Bo Persson
    Jan 31, 2013 at 17:04
  • 1
    @BoPersson rats! Jan 31, 2013 at 17:05
  • 3
    exclude me from your "we": I am doing this quite frequently already. :) And when I feel it can take me too long to compete in the approvers race, I just quickly submit part of the changes and switch off the queue to complete the rest via direct editing outside of review
    – gnat
    Jan 31, 2013 at 17:10
  • @gnat so you're saying improve, change one character, uncheck helpful, save (to get it out of queue and slap suggestor on wrist), then use history to get to question and finish the job? Jan 31, 2013 at 17:18
  • 2
    @KateGregory something like that. Except for one character change: I know this is most efficient but can't force self to submit such a blatant garbage; it's usually something that at least looks more or less substantial. Typically, I complete within grace-period which makes whole edit look like single revision
    – gnat
    Jan 31, 2013 at 17:24
  • note by the way that review audits have been recently introduced in suggested edits queue; if this turns out efficient in blocking robo-clickers, this might change things into something safer
    – gnat
    Jan 31, 2013 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, you have made a wrong assumption: if you Improve and untick the “helpful” checkbox, this rejects the suggestion only when you submit your improved edit. So you need to make your edit really fast. To add insult to injury, if the suggestion is approved in the meantime, you cannot submit your improvement!

Improvements to a suggested edit cannot be submitted when the suggestion is approved during editing

You still have a way to reject on your own: click “Improve”, untick the “helpful” box, submit immediately without fixing anything. This is not very nice because it leaves the post in the post in the suggested state!

The quickest way to instantly reject a suggested edit is to visit the posts's revision history (http://stackoverflow.com/posts/NNNNNNNN/revisions where NNNNNNNN is the post ID, click the “edit” link on the best revision, very quickly change something trivial, save, and continue editing in your 5-minute window hoping that no one else will overtake you.

This is of course highly cumbersome. Currently the system favors crap suggestors and robo-approvers over people who want to do it right.


I think we lobbied for Improve originally because it made sense that if someone had edit privileges they should be able to just edit it as if they had done that from the post. While your point is valid that Reject isn't as effective as Improve, I think we should always be improving if the original editor has done anything worthwhile, and we feel we can add something to it. If his edit was crappy (not just incomplete) then we should hit Reject.

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