I've started reviewing edits on Stack Overflow and have seen that there are several suggestions which I reject which eventually get approved anyway. I was thinking for instance about this suggestion

To me, this edit doesn't improve the readability of the question and still doesn't fix all (minor) issues, for instance capitalizing "I". But I do realize that my opinion of a "correct" edit might differ from others - since it's been approved - so I ask:

What is the proper protocol for handling this?

  • Should I revert it if I feel that it was an incorrect approval?
  • Should I comment to the approvers and ask why they approved it?
  • Should I flag for moderator attention?
  • Should I try to edit it further to my liking?
  • other suggestion..

This is however dependent on that my assumption is correct that it was an incorrect suggestion!
Is this a properly edited question?

  • If it does no harm, don't revert the edit. Other than that, I don't see a reason for comment or moderator flags. If you can improve it, by all means go ahead.
    – Bart
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 9:39
  • 2
    Welcome to the club of Cynical Reviewers. Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 10:59
  • 1
    thanks @ToonKrijthe, I feel right at home :)
    – default
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 11:05

4 Answers 4


But I do realize that my opinion of a "correct" edit might differ from others

Sure does. The opinions range from "everything that improves a post in any way is a good edit" to "if it doesn't fix everything (I, the reviewer, see) in the post, it is a bad edit".

Your approve/reject ratio - you have rejected more than you approved, like the other rejecter of the linked suggestion - indicates that you are close to the stricter end of the spectrum.

That means you'll run into relatively many cases where a suggestion you deem insufficient will be approved. Some of them incorrectly, some correctly, and a lot where a good case could be made for either decision.

There's not much you can do about it, you have to live with the fact that opinions differ.

Should I revert it if I feel that it was an incorrect approval?

Roll back if the suggestion made the post worse. Don't roll back for indifferent edits, there's no good point in that.

Should I comment to the approvers and ask why they approved it?

You can't @ping the reviewers at the post in question, commenting to them on one of their unrelated posts is an option only in extreme cases, IMO.

Should I flag for moderator attention?

No. Moderators are for things the community can't deal with on their own. You can edit the post to fix the issues yourself if necessary.

Should I try to edit it further to my liking?

If the edit is going in the right way, but insufficient, try to improve it. I'm a bit uncertain about "to my liking", if that includes formatting the code to your favourite brace style, that goes too far.

  • no, not to my favorite brace style, but rather formulating sentences differently, capitalizing first character in a sentence, using I instead of i.. Those gramatically "pet peeves" that I have. Thanks for your answer, you have very good points here and I do agree with them fully.
    – default
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 11:08
  • 1
    Formulating sentences differently is fine as long as you don't change the meaning. I'm not always sure whether a change I would like to make has that property :( Proper capitalisation is always a good thing, that's not even "to your liking", that's correctness. Absolutely do that when editing/improving. Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 11:12

I don't think that if an edit does not fix all the issues and it was approved you should revert it. As long as it improves something and it is approved keep it this way. A better option would be to further improve the post by doing another edit.

  • I agree. You make a fair point, I did add it as an option since it was a possible solution (although not a good one).
    – default
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 11:10
  • I still would like an accept minor edit option, if the edit is ok, but it is to minor to justify the +2 rep. Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 14:22

You can't reach the robo approvers and the idea of reporting it to the moderators has been rejected. It's pointless to undo whatever little good the edit did by rolling it back. Instead, finish the job and then @-comment the suggester telling them to please fix all the issues in the post, not just one or two. Next time you spot a too-minor edit, consider using Improve instead to have a slightly-better chance of preventing the approval.

  • 2
    One of the approvers has (currently) 631 approvals and 326 rejections. That is definitely not a robo-approver. One is at 14-0, which is too soon to say much. Also, the suggestion in question isn't bad. I'd probably leave the "helpful" box checked. Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 9:57
  • When I've improved it though, wouldn't the suggestion already have been approved? Making it a merge issue, making my edit invalid, making me tired of it.
    – default
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 10:00
  • 1
    You have to be fast with the Improve, yes. But it's slightly less frustrating than clicking Reject and having it approved anyway. To me, at least. Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 10:02
  • @KateGregory I will take that in to consideration. I think I might agree with you regarding less frustrating (will have to try it though) :)
    – default
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 10:07

If you believe an edit is too minimal; that is, the post still needs some work, selected "Edit and Approve". This allows you to make the additional edits you deem necessary to perform a complete edit, and finalise the edit. In contrast, simply rejecting the edit sends it back to a lesser state. While we want a complete edit, a partial edit is certainly better than no edit.

If you believe the edit should not be approved, but you still think the post needs some work, you can select "Reject and Improve" to perform your own edit.

If you think the edit should not be approved, it is, but you accept that it is probably just a matter of opinion; forget it and move on. If there is no serious issue with the post, there is no reason to enter further discussion.

If an edit is approved, and there is a serious problem brought on by the new edit, roll the edit back. Post a comment, flagging the original editor with @original_editor, to ask them why they made such an edit, raising your own issues regarding why such an edit was harmful. At this point, it is entirely possible that the original asker will disagree with your assessment of the edit being harmful. Should they roll it back, consider entering discussion with the user in chat. Do not engage in a rollback war; if you can not come to an agreement, bring it up in meta, or flag for a moderator, citing your original argument of why the edit is harmful.

That being said, I would like to address the edit in question. In your question, you state that

"To me, this edit doesn't improve the readability of the question and still doesn't fix all (minor) issues, for instance capitalizing "I"."

However, you rejected the edit on the basis that

This edit changes too much in the original post; the original meaning or intent of the post would be lost

These are two very different reasons. You can specifically reject an edit as being too minimal; in contrast, if you argue that it still doesn't fix all of the issues, I would interpret this to mean you think it has not been edited enough, which conflicts with "edit changes too much".

In this case, it appears that another user did agree. However, three users did not, and the edit was approved 3:2. To me, this edit looks appropriate. It has changed so much because it is correcting grammar. While some do not pay much attention to grammar, good grammar provides quality to a question. I agree that this edit was minimal, though I found a few inconsistencies apart from the lowercase i; some of which were grammatical (for example, "how I can" should be "how can I"), others were spelling and punctuation. I have proposed a revised edit to the question.

  • aaaaannnnnd the post is 4 years old.
    – Gnemlock
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 3:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .