I was doing some reviewing on Stack Overflow and saw one question that had a serious (wrong) spelling edit.

I wanted to reject it straight away, but I wanted to correct it first, since the original question wasn't OK either, so I clicked "Improve" instead.

However, it turned out this was an audit question; I was admonished that I should have rejected it and not edit!

I understand, but what if (as it was the case) I wanted to improve and uncheck the 'helpful' button instead?

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    improve, then uncheck the "this suggestion was helpful" box. – Daniel Fischer Mar 1 '13 at 15:19
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    @DanielFischer it didn't have that option, it threw the notice straight away. Is that a bug then? – jackJoe Mar 1 '13 at 15:21
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    @jackJoe: Are you saying you clicked 'Improve' instead of 'Approve'? If so, then I would consider that a bug. – Martijn Pieters Mar 1 '13 at 15:23
  • @MartijnPieters ok, but I don't see any other way to edit the question/answer when reviewing (unless the option that Daniel mentioned is shown). – jackJoe Mar 1 '13 at 15:23
  • @MartijnPieters yes, I clicked improve. – jackJoe Mar 1 '13 at 15:24
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    @jackJoe it's a bug in the "SO mod tester tool". It should not mark Improve as a wrong answer on a test edit IMO. – Wouter J Mar 1 '13 at 15:24
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    I'd agree with Wouter J. Unless the suggestion is very drastically bad, "improve" should not fail the audit. – Daniel Fischer Mar 1 '13 at 15:27
  • Right, then I definitely retract my dupe vote. I edited your post to make it clearer that you failed a suggested edit audit because you clicked approve. – Martijn Pieters Mar 1 '13 at 15:27
  • For reference, here's the audit in question: stackoverflow.com/review/suggested-edits/1627279 Looking at the edit, wanting to "improve" an edit like that when you see that is perfectly acceptable; the audit system is the one in the wrong here. – Servy Mar 1 '13 at 15:28
  • The suggested edit audits are completely auto-generated; I guess the devs didn't take into account that they could be showing you edit-worthy posts (even with an obviously wrong edit suggestion). – Martijn Pieters Mar 1 '13 at 15:29
  • @MartijnPieters I'd say that for the majority of edits that should be rejected it would be appropriate to "improve" them and uncheck "helpful". It's very rare that an edit, regardless of whether it's good or bad, doesn't leave something left in the post that could be made better. – Servy Mar 1 '13 at 15:33
  • @BradLarson ok, but notice the "Suggested edit was helpful" option didn't show up! this is a bug. – jackJoe Mar 1 '13 at 15:36
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    @AnthonyGrist The problem is that's only a valid option of if you know it's an audit. If it's not an audit and there aren't already 2 reject votes then if you reject it the suggested edit will prevent you from editing the post. Any time the workflow for an audit is different from the workflow for a regular edit there is a problem. – Servy Mar 1 '13 at 15:54
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    @jackJoe - Right, the fundamental issue here is that clicking "improve" on a suggested edit audit instantly fails the audit. We're using Lance's question about this (one of the duplicates of this one) as the canonical feature request here, which is why I closed this to point to that. I agree that this is an issue, and is tripping up good reviewers. – Brad Larson Mar 1 '13 at 17:08