When new users edit a post, the review is posted to a review queue and other reputable users can review the edit and choose to approve or reject it. However, I feel that a lot of people do it pretty quickly.

Onato suggested an edit to my answer on how to enumerate NSDictionary items. He was fixing broken links in the answer, and as soon as I saw it I knew it would have been a good edit. However, only one reviewer found so, and three others rejected it. I ended up manually doing the edit, and poor Onato didn't get any credit for it (in fact, he got an undeserved 'rejected' for it).

The point I want to bring is that, first and foremost, the person who wrote the answer probably knows best if an edit is acceptable or not. Could there be a time frame where the author of the answer (or question) can overturn a review decision?


EDIT: one more perfectly fine edit was rejected by overeager reviewers as well. I absolutely disagree with the notion that the community knows better. The community repeatedly proves that it only wants Internet points.


EDIT: I told a commenter to fix something himself in one of my posts, but the community rejected it. I went back and applied the changes myself. It's not credited to him and his stats got a rejected edit now (which really should be an approved edit). The reason ("This edit is incorrect or an attempt to reply to or comment on the existing post") is blatantly wrong and shows once more that the community has much less insight into edit quality than the people who wrote the answers in the first place. It's true that the UI didn't make it easy for them, but those guys clearly didn't read the comment thread; I did, because as the author, I was notified.


EDIT: This time around, a user fixed a blatant (though small) mistake in one of my accepted answers. One hour later, another, unrelated 10k user edited my post to revert the edit, even though it had been approved by the community. I went back to undo his undo.

This goes on again to show that an active user is the best judge for the quality of an edit, and that since I can have the last word on edits on my own posts, I should be allowed to retroactively overturn a community edit vote and accordingly credit the person who proposed the change.


EDIT I wrote a surprisingly bad answer years ago. Some guy found it and tried to fix it but the community thought that it wasn't worth it. I think that the changes are great and once more I'll integrate them by myself into my post. Unfortunately for this user, he won't be credited for it. I still don't understand why I can't have a binding vote on edits on my posts.

  • Yes, you can share review links FYI. – Richard J. Ross III Apr 29 '13 at 15:03
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    On most SE sites, this isn't an issue since edit approvals are much slower, but on Stack Overflow, normally the OP doesn't get more than a couple of minutes to review an edit before the community reviewers handle it. It would be nice if the OP could go back and retroactively approve a rejected edit. I don't think there should be a mechanism to overturn an edit approval though. – psubsee2003 Apr 29 '13 at 15:07
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  • @Kevin, there is a 30-minute gap between the time the edit was accepted and the time it was reverted. Since only one line changed, I'm not sure how it could have been a conflict. – zneak May 2 '14 at 17:39
  • See also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/157852/… – serv-inc Feb 2 '16 at 7:42
up vote 135 down vote accepted
+250

This has bugged me for years too; I have full edit rights over my own posts, I can single-handedly approve or reject any edit suggested to them if I catch it in time, why can't I override an approval or rejection if an edit happens to get reviewed while I'm asleep?

Well, now we can! Oded toiled away for weeks to make this happen, and collaborated with Nick to get the rep-effects working too. Here's how it works:

  • Any suggested edit to a question or answer that hasn't been edited after the edit was approved or rejected may be overridden.
  • Only the author of the post that was edited and diamond moderators can override suggested edits.
  • A suggested edit can only be overridden once.

You can tell when this was done by looking for the following text in the Edit Summary of the revision:

Edit approval overridden by post owner or moderator

When viewing a suggested edit that you can override, the "Next" button will be replaced with either "Approve" (if it was previously declined) or "Reject" (if it was previously approved):

Just shows what was described in the paragraph above

Clicking this button will confirm the action, and then...

  • ...if the edit was previously rejected, it will be marked Approved and the edit will be applied to the post.
  • ...if the edit was previously approved, it will be marked Rejected and the previously-applied edit will be rolled back (complete with a comment in the revision history that describes what happened). If the editor earned +2 reputation for the edit, that will be retracted.

Once overridden, the edit affects the editor's suggested-edit stats accordingly. This allows moderators a tool to deal with the occasional bizarre form of abuse.

Special thanks to jmac, animuson, hairboat and Jon for helping me to test this! If you find a bug, it's all their fault (but please report it here on meta anyway).

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    Now I know testing is a bad idea. – Jon Ericson Apr 22 '17 at 0:39
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    You must not have done too bad, Jon, I didn't see any posts from you on sqa.stackexchange.com over the past few weeks. – corsiKa Apr 22 '17 at 1:39
  • Backtick all the text! – Jamal Apr 22 '17 at 2:31
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    "A suggested edit can only be overridden once." So... if an author (or another moderator) overrides an edit they shouldn't have, there's nothing a moderator can do about it? – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 22 '17 at 3:11
  • Correct, @bolt - use with caution. – Shog9 Apr 22 '17 at 3:13
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    Hopefully the feature isn't any easier to discover than the existing rollback links. Also, please update this post. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 22 '17 at 3:17
  • It should be considerably easier to find for post authors, @bolt - they get an inbox message that takes 'em right to it. We'll see how that works out. – Shog9 Apr 22 '17 at 3:19
  • This is amazing; thanks so much, SE team! Does it effect automatic review bans in any way? – Ry- Apr 22 '17 at 3:30
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    Does not have any effect on review bans, @ryan. Can feed or forestall edit bans. – Shog9 Apr 22 '17 at 4:17
  • Do suggested edits stay in the queues for mods even after they have been approved or rejected? – anonymous2 Apr 22 '17 at 15:48
  • Awesome! I stumbled upon this post from MSO. I never would've tried to override reviewed edits...so any plans to make this feature more visible? Cross-site featured tag perhaps? This is one of those things that is very rarely but then very useful, and if you don't know it exists you'll never guess it. – Andras Deak Apr 22 '17 at 18:26
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    My hope is that this will be pretty intuitive, @Andras; next time someone suggests an edit to one of your posts, you'll just see the option if you follow the notification and the edit has already been reviewed. I did broadcast a link to all moderators, since their use will be a bit different... But for authors, this shouldn't need to be something they have to research. – Shog9 Apr 22 '17 at 18:32
  • There's a list - available to mods and 10k mods - listing all approved and all rejected edits in the system, @anonymous – Shog9 Apr 22 '17 at 18:33
  • Is there any thought toward making this available to 10k users? – Diminutive Colossus Apr 22 '17 at 23:13
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    @DiminutiveColossus no, I hope not. Having 10k reputation doesn't mean you know all there's to know about apt, dpkg and friends. I have 10k on U&L and I don't know everything about those tools. – Braiam Apr 23 '17 at 0:58

I tend to agree that the community should have the final word. However, from very recent experience, I feel that the current system is inadequate.

My suggestion: as the author of an answer that has received a rejected edit, I would like the power to reopen the review process and cast the first vote to approve the edit.

Here is a recent example from my experience:

https://stackoverflow.com/review/suggested-edits/2243755

  • My answer is largely correct but has two parameters in the wrong order in two function calls
  • Another user, Blaine Kasten, who is relatively new to SO and has low rep comes in and suggests an edit that fixes the problem
  • The edit is wrongly rejected, presumably by users who don't know any better; the function call in question is not that well-known and my reputation is relatively high.

So my choices were:

  1. Make the edit myself. However, if I do this, all Blaine Kasten has to show for this is an incorrect rejection for his edit and no credit, which seems like unnecessary discouragement for a new user.
  2. Flag for moderator attention, hoping that moderators have the power to overturn the edit rejection, which seems a little bit of a waste of their time.

I chose the second option.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. I suspect my relatively high reputation predisposes reviewers, who probably do not spend as long on their review as an editor spends on their edit, to favour my original answer.

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    "hoping that moderators have the power to overturn the edit rejection" They don't, so flagging it won't help. There isn't anything for them to do besides make the edit themselves, and you can do that without mod intervention. – Servy Jun 3 '13 at 16:18
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    @Servy: Thanks. A unanimous rejection of a correct edit with no means of correcting that mistake strongly suggests that the system is flawed. – Tim Down Jun 3 '13 at 16:35
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    The means of correcting it is to just have someone else make the edit. You can make it if you think it's appropriate. If this were something that happened very frequently it would be an indication of an underlying issue, perhaps worth addressing, but unless you can demonstrate that this is happening a lot I don't see it as being a problem so significant that such a complex and involved feature would need to be implemented to address it. – Servy Jun 3 '13 at 16:39
  • @Servy: Fair enough: I'm sure you have a much broader view than my own, which is based on pretty limited interaction with the review system. It just seems to me that reviewers need to be motivated to take some care when reviewing: the system seems to emphasize quantity over quality. – Tim Down Jun 3 '13 at 16:49
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    "It just seems to me that reviewers need to be motivated to take some care when reviewing: the system seems to emphasize quantity over quality." I agree entirely. Note that your proposed change is only trying to fix the symptom, not the underlying problem, and it's just not one of the more common or problematic symptoms either, which is why I'm not in support of it. If you could think of a good way of preventing this situation from arising in the first, place, rather than how to fix it more easily when it does, I'd be a lot more interested. – Servy Jun 3 '13 at 16:53
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    The single-vote for author idea doesn't add up; authors are able to approve or reject with a single vote before other reviewers have their say - why would we trust them in that circumstance and not elsewhere? After all, if they really like the edit they can just make it themselves... – Shog9 Aug 7 '13 at 1:19
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    @Shog9 My concern is the discouragement a new user may feel when their correct edit is rejected and the only way of correcting that error results in the user's name no longer being associated with the edit. Possibly not that important and I have already been convinced that my suggestion is bad. – Tim Down Aug 7 '13 at 8:25
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    A valid edit was recently rejected on one of (my answers)[stackoverflow.com/questions/7252011/…. The edit fixes a problem. I want the ability to downvote a review! – drevicko Mar 6 '14 at 4:11
  • Note that this is now possible! YAY! – wizzwizz4 Apr 22 '17 at 6:15

The point I want to bring is that, first and foremost, the person who wrote the answer probably knows best if an edit is acceptable or not.

First and foremost, this is probably not true. It may very well be true for your posts, but in general when someone's post is being edited it's usually (although not always) because of mistakes that the author made. While occasionally they're capable of recognizing those mistakes, it's very often the case that they don't know enough to really evaluate the quality of the edit effectively; if they did, they probably wouldn't have made the mistake to begin with.

If a user's post is full of spelling grammar issues then odds are they don't know enough to know if the corrections are valid. If they didn't use formatting properly then they're unlikely to be in a case to know if the changed formatting is also appropriate for that type of content. If the user posted content in a way that's not in line with the site's guidelines (including signatures, salutations, offtopic tangents, etc.) in posts then they're unlikely to be able to effectively judge an edit that is removing such content.

So yes, there are certainly users who are capable of effectively reviewing edits on their posts, but they're in the minority, which is why I very much agree with allowing the author to review the post, regardless of rep, and to give them a binding vote, but to not push a user too strongly to review the content, or even prevent the content from being pushed through without an author review.

Beyond the ability of the author to review there are a number of other issues. The post can't be edited by anyone while there is a pending edit. If there is a poor quality edit on a poor quality post it's important to be able to reject it quickly so that a proper edit can be made on it. Additionally, if the edit is of high quality then we want that edit to be applied as soon as it can be confirmed of good quality so that the post's quality can be improved for future readers. It's possible to drive away potential answerers by leaving a post in it's lower quality state while we wait for the author to review it.

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    Your last paragraph addresses the time frame in which edits have to be applied or rejected, but I don't think it's relevant if the author just has an 'overturn' button that can be effective even after a community decision was taken. It can be disabled if there's another pending edit or if it's not the last edit anymore. That's not a big deal. – zneak Apr 29 '13 at 15:28
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    Also, I would make the point that if I'm an author and I don't like an edit, I can totally go to my post and roll it back. Nothing's preventing me from rejecting an edit I don't like or approving an edit the community doesn't like. Users already have that power. They just don't have the button that does it for them. – zneak Apr 29 '13 at 15:29
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    @zneak And yet that's not the most important point, the most important point is that in the majority of cases the author is not qualified to review the post. – Servy Apr 29 '13 at 15:29
  • @zneak And yet the person who suggested the edit will still get the rep, and others will see it clearly indicated that the edit was deemed appropriate and that you simply reverted it. If a pattern is noticed in which a users is repeatedly reverting proper edits that is something that can be addressed by a moderator. The main point here is that you're forcing the author to take the initiative to reverse the edit, rather than encouraging them to review something they're unlikely to be qualified to review. – Servy Apr 29 '13 at 15:31
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    Your answer assumes that when users review posts, they conscientiously read them, make sure they fully understand what's being changed, and then pick an educated choice about the matter. In this mindset, then yes, the community probably has an opinion that's as good or better as the author of the answer. The thing is, it doesn't look like that's what is actually happening, and I believe that people just try to pull the trigger first to be rewarded for it. Just browsing the reviews around this one shows people rejecting grammar fixes, which, by your own standard, should be a good thing. – zneak Apr 29 '13 at 16:28
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    @zneak There are pleanty of bad reviewers out there. I'm not going to say that all reviews are perfect. In fact, I've been highly critical of the review system for a very long time. There are a lot of bad reviewers and it's very damaging to the system. Having said that, authors still aren't going to be good reviewers. They're likely to do a poorer job reviewing than the reviewers we currently have. I'll be the first to admit further changes to the review system need to be made to improve review qualities, but this is no one of them. – Servy Apr 29 '13 at 16:32
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    I still don't think the whole thing makes a lot of sense. If we were to grade all users on a scale of review skills, we would probably get a normal distribution, with half the people good and half the people bad. Very crudely, for any random post from someone with review privileges and two reviewers, the chance that the post is reviewed by two people better at reviewing than the author is about 1 in 4, with the same probability for reviewers worse than you. – zneak Apr 29 '13 at 16:40
  • @zneak If we were to grade all users on a scale of review skills, we would probably get a normal distribution I reject that assumption. The vast majority of people have never reviewed at all, are not familiar in any way with the guidelines of what should and shouldn't be approved, and as such are going to score very low on the scale (even if they have the capability of learning and improving quickly). Only a few percent of SE users actually review, are familiar with the system, and even have a shot. On top of that, most who do review are well over 50% in terms of correct decisions. – Servy Apr 29 '13 at 16:44

First of all, good question.

Users with the privilege to review edits are, in definition, trusted reviewers. Which means that the community judge they have been here long enough or have made their proofs enough to review edits by others.
With that in mind, if the review edits were 3 against 1 for a fixed link, there must be a valid reason behind that (note that it relies on the reviewers opinion so there is no perfect solution. Not everybody thinks alike). Maybe the reviewers judged that one change have been made but it could have been improved in some other points and was not.

The community have, in my opinion, the last word on what the post should look like. Not the user. Also good to remind that the user knows (should know) how to post a valid question/answer in the first place and he always have the choice to go back and edit it's original post without approval from the community.

tl;dr : No the user should not have the choice to revert the community's final decision. If he would have that power, what's the whole point of voting system on reviews ?

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    The user already has that power. I'm suggesting a button for it. There's still a point in having the community perform reviews, as some answers have been posted by users that don't go to Stack Overflow on a regular basis. – zneak Apr 29 '13 at 15:23
  • Yes but my point is why letting users vote on a review if the OP has the power to revert that vote..It's the absolute opposite of the voting principle. If the commnunity decided that the edit is not valid well I think that's how it should stay. And also the OP can always check the changes and make them himself like you said. I would personally not reject a fixed link edit but as stated in my answer it's only my opinion. – ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd Apr 29 '13 at 15:26
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    Often (especially with code edits) the community rejects an edit because they can't know if that was the function the OP had in mind however there is one person who does know; the OP – Richard Tingle Jul 13 '13 at 9:32

I say no. The author of a question doesn't own the content, SE / the community does.

As this is the case, there is the possibility that an editor makes an edit that the author likes, but the community thinks is unacceptable and, when the answer would then be flagged, the OP gets the punishment for the edit which was made, and not the editor.

In this specific case, however, I don't think the edit was major enough to warrant an approved suggested edit at all, and should have been instead left as a comment (which the reviewer could have done, he has 54 reputation).

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    Maybe authors don't have "absolute ownership" of their answers, but they do have the special privilege of being able to edit their posts without review (or at least, I could when I wasn't a 10k, maybe things have changed). There's nothing that prevents an author from going back to his post and apply or rollback an edit exactly like I did. I'm just asking for a button that does it. – zneak Apr 29 '13 at 15:19
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    Actually, authors do own the content they post. But they do not have the right to control what SE does with it. – David Z Apr 29 '13 at 21:40

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