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I recently suggested two edits to improve code in answers. The code was just plain wrong and didn't work, and my edits fixed the problem. I was able to do this after the problems were discussed in the comments to those answers.

I was surprised to see that both of my edits were rejected by a majority of reviewers. I guess that they rejected it without checking the comments to see whether any improvements were needed. I think that was the wrong decision.

So I wonder if there is still any point in having the suggested edits feature if we can't actually use it to fix mistakes in people's answers. I don't want to suggest anything anymore. That's unfortunate, because it means that when there is incorrect code somewhere, it won't get fixed.

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  • 3
    Did you at least downvote a wrong answer?
    – random
    Aug 10 '13 at 12:46
  • 7
    So because your edits got rejected, you want to remove the entire feature?
    – Bo A
    Aug 10 '13 at 12:47
  • @BoA if comments that points out an error in an answer apparently have a higher preference than edits to fix them, than logic points out that edits are indeed obsolete.
    – Michael
    Aug 10 '13 at 12:58
  • @random I don't think it's good to downvote something that basically is a good answer but contains a syntax error because that doesn't help anything. Doing this implies that you should place an alternate answer with the right syntax but that would be answer duplication which is worse.
    – Michael
    Aug 10 '13 at 13:06
  • 3
    This question is attracting downvotes because of your radical and unconstructive initial stance. Because I think this is an important issue to discuss, I took some liberties in editing and rephrasing your question. If you feel that my changes were too radical, please feel free to roll them back. But it's worth keeping in mind that you will have an easier time gaining community support for your views if you don't insult us in the process.
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 10 '13 at 13:18
  • @CodyGray i don't care about points that much. People can downvote or upvote me, it doesn't bother me. Where did i insult anyone? I can't remember insulting anyone... I only said it was useless because it doesn't work. I really hope SO users are not going to line up in front of my embassy now :) If you want to rephrase what i said because you feel it's important, sure be my guest.
    – Michael
    Aug 10 '13 at 13:37
  • @Michael being constructive not only means less downvotes, it also means that the point you're trying to make might actually remain visible. Heavily downvoted questions will at some point be ignored. Which is a shame if you sort of have a point somewhere.
    – Bart
    Aug 10 '13 at 13:39
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    It was mostly just throwing around the word stupid. But also, you have to remember that the folks who hang out on the Meta site are those who have put the most energy into making the site what it is. We've devoted our free time to improving it and suggesting new features. People tend to take it personally when you suggest, implicitly or otherwise, that the site sucks. We also tend to disagree with you. Which is a common use of downvotes on Meta—to suggest disagreement. Especially with ideas that appear to be silly, like rage-quitting.
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 10 '13 at 13:39
  • @CodyGray i didn't mention anywhere that the site sucks but sure point taken. In any case, whenever i see incorrect code anywhere i'll just leave it there because i know an edit will probably be rejected anyway with wasted effort as a result. I think there are other people who feel likewise.
    – Michael
    Aug 10 '13 at 13:51
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I'm sorry that you've had a bad experience. At this point, the community is extremely divided on whether or not it is acceptable for edits to touch the code in other people's answers. Some of us feel that such is the whole point of collaborative editing: to fix mistakes and make good answers even better. Others take the stance that it is their answer and they are solely responsible for its contents, mistakes or not.

There was a previous discussion here, centered on a specific edit that another person submitted and had rejected for a similar reason. And there is a more general discussion about this problem here that aims at establishing a consensus and then educating users about the community standards. Please feel free to jump in on either of those discussions (or others that you find linked therein) if you have a strong opinion or any ideas/suggestions to contribute.

As far as removing the suggested edits feature because the community is divided on one of its uses, well don't you think that's a little bit radical? Even if those of us who think it's OK to fix code in answers lose the debate, there will still be a purpose in suggesting edits. There are lot of other problems you can fix in a post aside from the code. Spelling and grammar mistakes are a fact of life, and especially on an international site like Stack Overflow, where English is not the first language of many members. Additionally, edits are always encouraged that clean up formatting—that makes the post easier to read and is therefore a net improvement all the way around. There is no division in the community about these types of edits, so if you're feeling frustrated with having your edits rejected, you could focus on fixing these issues for a while.

It should come as little surprise to the regulars here that I would have likely approved both of those edits. Well, I'm not sure about this one because I don't know anything about PHP and are not qualified to evaluate its veracity. But I definitely would have approved the other one.

You mention being frustrated that the reviewers of your edit didn't check the comments on the answer to see that your edit was appropriate. While it would be nice if everyone did that, the reviewing queue doesn't exactly make it easy to see things in context. You have to click on a fairly obscure link to open the question in a new tab before you can read the comments. That's asking a lot of reviewers; some of us are willing, others are not. You can, however, make it easier on everyone by including that type of information in your edit summary. If you want reviewers to check the comments for confirmation of the validity of your edit, at least ask them explicitly to do so. I've seen that done before, and it's worked out.

Another minor quibble with this edit: you are strongly discouraged from working around the 6-character minimum by adding nonsense to the post. I understand why you think that the syntax needed to be fixed, but the right way to do it would have been to add some explanation to the answer. For example, what the code does and how it works. That's what differentiates a good answer from a code dump.

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