I suggested an edit to a question that was in my opinion extremely poorly phrased, and it was rejected for changing too much.

But rereading the original and my suggestion, I'm still convinced that I clarified rather than obscured the original meaning. The original question is a haphazard string of statements that, at first glance, have little to do with what the OP actually wanted, and in fact the original title seems to be asking for the solution to a problem that, according to the first sentence of the actual question text, the OP has already solved.

I carefully avoided deleting any of the info the OP gave, even the code defining the Words() function, which seems pretty tangential to the issue at hand. I did add one piece of extra information: the OP indicated in a comment that the dict.txt file was to be used to check whether a given string is an English word or not, so I added that information to the question itself, since I thought it was needed for clarity.

Is my edit really too major?

  • 3
    In terms of quality, I think it's a night and day difference. Unfortunately, it's so much better that the original author may no longer understand it ("anagram", "dictionary file", "given set").
    – Tim M.
    May 4, 2013 at 8:22

3 Answers 3


The title was probably what immediately caused them to reject the edits. No matter how you think about it:

Finding the longest words in a text file

has a vastly different meaning than:

Finding the longest anagram of a given set of letters

That, and the enormous deleted block of text is by far too much to let pass. While it may not be changing the overall content, as you've moved around much of the content, it's significantly rewording what the question is looking for. Even your edit comment looks suspicious:

...and rearranged content to match question actually being asked

This is also a warning for reviewers that it's either an audit, or someone who thinks they understand what the question is better than the question asker.

That's probably why it was rejected. I personally probably would have rejected this because of the title change, as well as the shifting and rewording of the content. If you think a post is that far off what the asker is trying to say, I suggest commenting asking them to clarify.

  • 1
    If you read the original question carefully, I think you'll find that it supports my interpretation quite well; the fact that the title is an entirely different question is why I edited it the way I did. Also note that the answers all answer the question as I understand it, even though none of the writers of those answers saw my suggested edits. When a question is this poorly phrased, I honestly don't trust the OP to be able to edit it into something substantially clearer; but it was a decent question, so I didn't want to flag it for closure, either. May 4, 2013 at 7:12
  • 1
    If you're changing the literal meaning of a post, especially a title, then don't be surprised if it's rejected. First, it smells like a review audit. Second, you should probably be asking the OP to clarify their post at that point.
    – user206222
    May 4, 2013 at 7:18
  • @KnightswhosayNi I detect audits by looking for non-sensical sentences crossing the green block boundaries and for code edits that obviously break the code. Also, the greenness distribution is kinda specific for audits. The edit in question does not have that distribution. Also, audits don't normally re-indent code. May 4, 2013 at 11:17

I totally understand why it wasn't approved. It seems like the reviewers saw a whole block of text being deleted, and that was too much to even bother reading the exact content. After reading carefully the edit I would consider approving the edit, but in real time I'd probably agree with the keepers of the sacred words: Ni, Peng and Neee-Wom (@Knights).

  • Oh, we are no longer the Knights who say Ni...
    – user206222
    May 4, 2013 at 7:16
  • It is a good shrubbery. I mean, comment.
    – bla
    May 4, 2013 at 7:25
  • Unfortunately you must fetch me another.
    – user206222
    May 4, 2013 at 7:30
  • hushed Neee-wom.
    – J. Steen
    May 4, 2013 at 10:31

I personally would approve the post.

The content is only useful for later visitors if they are searchable, and with the current state, it is going to give false positive for those who search for "longest string" and give false negative for those who search for "anagram".

The intention of the post is clear enough from the example, so I think there is no problem about change in meaning.

Regarding the concern that the asker would not be able to understand their post afterwards, rather, I think it would be a good way to show them new vocabulary and how to write a good question.

The reviewing process is supposed to pick out gems like these, but currectly there is only training for rejecting garbage.

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