Sometimes I encounter a suggested edit that is overall helpful and complete, but misses one or two really small issues (typos, punctuation, etc.).

In those cases I tend to click Improve, fix those small issues, mark the suggestion as helpful and submit the changes. Once in a while I receive the following error message thuogh:

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I was under the impression that the substantive edit restriction was in place to prevent minor and incomplete edit suggestions, and that these restrictions would not apply to edits made by >2k users.

So here's my feature request: Could the substantive edit restriction please be removed when improving an overall helpful edit suggestion?

(Or am I wrong altogether here and I should have approved that suggestion in first place without improving its two typos?)

  • This error message is telling you another 2K user already clicked "Improve" and saved the edit before you did, and it was determined that your edit was less substantive. Apr 3, 2013 at 8:32
  • 1
    @psubsee2003 Nope, not necessarily. It appears if the edit we're trying to improve gets accepted before we can submit.
    – hjpotter92
    Apr 3, 2013 at 8:35
  • @hjpotter92 I disagree there.. see this edit. It was approved before my edit. Apr 3, 2013 at 8:42
  • hmm, @psubsee2003 then I guess my edits were substantial. :-!
    – hjpotter92
    Apr 3, 2013 at 8:45

1 Answer 1


You are correct to try to improve the edit, rather than approve a minor edit. This error message is telling you another 2K user had the same idea you did, already clicked "Improve" and saved an edit before you did (or the suggested edit was accepted) and your edit was not considered substantial enough to override.

While I get annoyed with that same error message frequently, I believe the current design is the best approach because it is common for multiple 2K users to submit colliding edits (especially in the review queue) and you don't want someone to undo the good work of another just because they were 15 seconds slower to click "Save".

For how a "substantive edit" is determined see Sam Saffron's answer to The editing race - the slackers always win. Unless something has changed (although I couldn't find a reference to any changes since this post), it looks like the substantial calculation is based on new edits being at least 25 characters different than the current edit, which probably explains why your slightly better edit (that only adds 10 characters for example) will be dismissed as not substantial enough to override.

  • That was indeed the case here. I am thinking about making a feature request for a new wording of said message: "... already improved the body..." Apr 3, 2013 at 11:16
  • @Spontifixus While a reasonable idea, the problem is there is a lot of gray area in the middle to make separating when to display that message for reviews and for regular edits. If you are improving a suggested edit, in the meantime, the edit is approved, and someone edits it from outside of the review queue... should it display "improved" or "edited"? The suggested edit technically wasn't improved, but from your perspective it is, so it might solve your problem, but creates another inconsistency that someone else will want to change. Apr 3, 2013 at 13:31

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