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Of late a huge number of suggested edits I review seem to come from people with a poor grasp of English attempting to improve the perceived poor English of others – example here. Questions often feature imperfect spelling, punctuation or grammar but read very clearly, while the edits introduce Chinese whispers by taking responsibility for the quality of language while distancing the OP's intent.

It often seems to me that this is users (maybe unconsciously) practicing their English in an inappropriate forum. I don't believe this necessitates a new variation of 'invalid edit', but I do feel that there should be measures to stop these people wasting their time. Should these simply be marked 'invalid edit' or is there a polite way to use the custom message to discourage users from using SO this way?

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    Reject reject reject – Pëkka Mar 14 '14 at 12:43
  • Check the other Misguided Suggested edit from same user Chandrakant – Lucifer Mar 14 '14 at 12:45
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    There are already complains about it, but just venting it again: feels really bad when we hit reject and... ooops... the edit was already approved :/ – brasofilo Mar 14 '14 at 13:05
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    It's when you see "Grammer [sic] updates" you know you're in for a real treat. See OP's quoted example. – Bathsheba Mar 14 '14 at 13:10
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    So many bad reviewers who approve this kind of crap :( – Stijn Mar 14 '14 at 13:10
  • Either Reject or Improve... – keshlam Mar 14 '14 at 14:13
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    It's a tough one because a rejection feels churlish – but at the end of the day it turns technical review into life guidance and English lesson, which is all wrong. I image a lot of the edit was already approved comes from people not wanting to take those responsibilities (and why should they?). Maybe the 'skip' button needs highlighting? – Barney Mar 14 '14 at 14:25
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    And the suggester left the "thanks" in there :-( – Kate Gregory Mar 14 '14 at 15:23
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First, I never Reject any more. When you have a crap suggested edit in your hands, use Improve and uncheck the Suggested Edit Was Helpful box. Yes, you have to undo all their work yourself but at least the edit won't go through.

Second, you can @-reply an editor when you see that one of these has gone through. It's public, so don't say something mean like "your English isn't good enough to improve other people's writing" but do encourage them to look at your edit (after you've cleaned up from the approval) to see how it should be done. This does work for some well meaning editors.

Third, welcome aboard the "I hate the robo approvers" bandwagon. If you have a solid suggestion for a way to stop people approving crap please do post it.

  • You've suggested some solutions yourself. If you were to make this into a feature request, I'd vote for it. – S.L. Barth Mar 14 '14 at 15:46
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    "but at least the edit won't go through" - unless you take more than about 20 seconds to improve it... It's been a long time since I've successfully rejected an edit by improving. – OGHaza Mar 14 '14 at 15:57
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    @OGHaza it has been suggested that Improve, uncheck, save (to beat the approvers to it), History, link, edit yourself is a useful workflow (see comments on my first link) but in my experience I have not been gazumped by approvers. – Kate Gregory Mar 14 '14 at 15:59
  • @Kate, ooh, I'd never thought of that before, nice idea. – OGHaza Mar 14 '14 at 16:02
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    @KateGregory until audits that make plausible changes get implemented, that is. – John Dvorak Mar 14 '14 at 16:08
  • @KateGregory OK, why don't improvements suggested during review overrule acceptance? Surely if somebody takes the time to read the diff and believes they can actually contribute rather than simply passing judgment, than their improvement should trump the 3 acceptances? – Barney Mar 14 '14 at 16:18
  • @KateGregory my mistake – apparently they already do, albeit only for 10 minutes. Didn't realise I was that slow! – Barney Mar 14 '14 at 16:28

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