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I only see this on sites where I don't have edit privileges, and only where there have been multiple revisions:

"Rev" menu screen shot

What exactly is this supposed to do?

Intuitively, I would expect it to change the text in the box to what it was at that revision, but it doesn't. And, if that's it, why only where I need to suggest edits?

  • They now use an inline editor which does not have that dropdown. Only users who have to suggest edits still get the page redirect in order to edit, and that was a part of the page originally. According to this old question, selecting a different revision is supposed to reload the page with that revision in the text box. It's clearly broken now. Testing on my Android phone, it appears to be broken on mobile web too. – animuson Nov 18 '14 at 18:30
6

Earlier it was used to choose the revision to edit, sure it was. Then it... has broken (?) . Maybe recently, maybe not, but I remember it working.

I only see this on sites where i don't have edit privileges...

No :) You can actually see it everywhere, but not in inline editor. To see this drop down, go to the full editor (it is by default for suggested edits) - /posts/{post_id}/revisions, or ctrl-click on "edit" (opens in new tab).

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