For the first time I failed an audit in review, but I sure don't think I should have.

I saw the edit wasn't that good, so I hit the improve button to clean things up and got this message:

This was an audit, designed to see if you were paying attention. You didn't pass. This edit vandalizes the post. Don't improve it – Reject it

Sure, I could have rejected it, but some of those can just be improved, especially if the original post needed editing.

Maybe SO could keep track of my successful improves and see that I know what I'm doing, and let me hit the improve button and not fail me for the audit.


I realized after it happened to me again today, that my workflow is to see that there is an error, and instead of checking the whole post, I go into edit mode, and then completely go over the post editing it as needed. Since SO doesn't seem to want to adapt to that kind of workflow, I'll unfortunately have to change mine, or just do less. It really slows things down to have to completely go over a post twice (kind of like the inbox zero concept, try to deal with things immediately).

  • 8
    Same issue. I'm marking that as a dupe of this, because this summarizes the issue a bit more clearly. Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 1:02
  • 4
    What I've learned don't improve but reject :(
    – Timmetje
    Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 7:09

6 Answers 6


If the review audit didn't even wait to see if you unchecked the "suggested edit was helpful" box when improving the edit, this seems like a design flaw; of course you should improve it if you see anything in the original post that should be edited, even if the suggested edit is a bad one. Are you expected to wait for 2 more reviews and then remember the question to fix it later?

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    The "improve without approving" design was very much an after-thought, yes. There's no good reason to reject someone's edit while still keeping the changes they made - much less manually revert the changes just so you can subvert the normal requirement for multiple reviews. But... That's a separate discussion.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 11, 2013 at 16:31
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    This design flaw has been corrected. It was, as I expected, a ridiculous amount of work to accomplish - but Geoff is The Man.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 23:16

The problem is that normally when you improve an edit you get the current revision as the edit that was suggested. Whether or not they hit that checkbox doesn't make any difference if the person truly isn't paying attention and some of the fake edit makes it into the actual post, which is essentially the same as approving the edit (even if it's not in its entirety).

I think a better solution for the Improve button on an audit is to load the most recent revision of the post (not the fake suggestion) so that you can continue improving the post, and display a different message to the user, such as this:

This was an audit, designed to see if you were paying attention. You passed. That edit vandalizes the post. If you still want to improve this post, here's the most recent revision made to it:

It should display like a normal edit screen (no checkbox) since you're not actually improving an edit.

  • The vast majority of suggested edits aren't vandalism; why would you force the reviewer to manually make all of the original suggester's perfectly good edits in addition to the other corrections?
    – Wooble
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 17:51
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    @Wooble: The review audits are all vandalism, and those are the only things we're talking about in this question.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 18:05

As of right now, this is fixed: instead of a checkbox in the editor, you get two separate buttons in review to launch the editor:

"Improve Edit" works the same way as "Improve" has for years, sans the checkbox: it lets you add further changes to the existing edit, then approves it and submits your changes as an additional revision. This action will fail any known-bad audits.

"Reject and Edit" is new - it lets you edit the current revision of the post, without any of the proposed changes. Once submitted, the pending suggested edit is rejected. As this is effectively the same as rejecting and then editing, this action will pass any known-bad audits.

So all you need to do to pass the "vandalism" audits is decide ahead of time whether or not the edit you're reviewing is at all useful. Which you should be doing anyway...

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    So, if I find an audit, but I also notice some stuff I can improve, I could "Reject and Edit" pass the audit and get the post for edition?
    – Braiam
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 0:42
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    Doesn't quite work that way, because - strictly-speaking - the post you're looking at in an audit isn't real (although it corresponds to a real post somewhere). Attempting to reject will immediately pass the audit, at which point you're free to click through to the actual post and perform whatever edits you'd like.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 3:17

While I'm a little bit sympathetic, please don't "improve" edits that are clearly vandalism. If you think the post needs work otherwise, go ahead and edit it - that option's always available to you - but the original intention behind "improve" was to allow you to fix up problems that a well-meaning editor introduced or missed... Not completely revert their edits and make your own. If you are in the habit of doing that, you're just making more work for yourself - stop it!

Suggested edit audits are pretty much guaranteed to be vandalism - so there's no reason to ever approve one or leave any of the changes made intact. If you come across an edit that defaces a post, rejecting it out of hand should be your immediate impulse.

  • See my edit to the question. Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 13:35

Well, this just happened to me too, and it occurred to me that my instinctive improve response was because the original post was so jumbled up and incoherent, that I didn't even reach the fake suggested edit before deciding that the edit (whatever it was about to be) was not good enough.

Ok, maybe it was a bit rash, but clicking improve is not something final that you stop and think before - you can always cancel it later.

Point is - IMHO, bad posts (this one had downvotes already because of its form) shouldn't be used for suggested edit audits since the audit is bound to keep them bad, and may not stand out enough for you to catch it in time. Alternatively, the improve button alone should not be considered as failing the audit since it's not a final decision.


I just ran into this audit. The problem is that I often find it difficult to read a post if there are a number of deletions in it so I click Improve just so that I can get a look at what the suggested edited post would look like without the all the editor marks. Most of the time I cancel the improvement edit and approve or reject the post.

This type of audit should fail only when someone tries to actually make changes to the post.

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