Whenever I work through the Suggested Edits Review Queue, I find edits on questions that should be closed instead of bothering to edit them. I would like to have a new edit reject reason similar to this:

Post should be flagged
This question or answer is either off-topic or of low enough quality that it should be flagged for closure or deletion instead of being edited.

Note: I know this could be worded more succinctly, but I'm not much of a wordsmith. I'll leave that to the UI experts.


This is sort of a follow-up to a previous request of mine: Add a "Reject and Flag Original Post" button to Suggested Edit Review Queue Interface. In that post, I suggested adding an option to reject an edit and flag the original post in with one button. I agree with Shog9's response to that request, which is essentially, "Reviewing edits is hard enough. We want reviewers to focus on the edit rather than the original post, and we don't really need another button cluttering up the interface". His suggestion was to reject edits with the "No improvement whatsoever" reason, then go flag the original post.

I have used that suggestion for a while now, and while it works for individual posts, it does nothing to prevent future edits to close-worthy posts. I would like a standard way to say to the editor, "Stop wasting your time and the time of reviewers on something that should just be closed." I agree that suggested edit reviewers should focus on the edits rather than the original post, but sometimes edits are on questions that are so unambiguously off-topic or terrible, that I can't help but see that it should be closed. I would like a more clear way to communicate that to them.

I think this would actually be helpful to new Stack Exchange users that make edits that really do clean up formatting, grammar, and spelling, but do it on posts that they don't realize should just be closed. If I were a new user and saw the reject reason of "No improvement whatsoever" when the post is clearly better formatted after my work, I would be confused and annoyed.



  • 3
    I reject the edit as other with comment "This edit was made on a post that should have been flagged for deletion or closing." Jul 8, 2015 at 22:20
  • 1
    Yeah, that option is always there, but this occurs often enough that I think it merits it's own reject reason. For every 20 reviews I do on Stack Overflow, I think I'd use it for at least 5, often more.
    – skrrgwasme
    Jul 8, 2015 at 22:26
  • 1
    tl;dr means "I haven't properly used the introductory sentence to convey my message"
    – random
    Jul 9, 2015 at 1:01
  • @random I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion. The TL;DR block conveys the main point of the post, so people can understand it's purpose without reading the details/background section. Reading the post from top to bottom leads from most to least important sections. What's the problem with that?
    – skrrgwasme
    Jul 9, 2015 at 2:53
  • 3
    Your use of headings as the first unnecessary block of text interferes with readability on the question preview
    – random
    Jul 9, 2015 at 13:31
  • 3
    I vote for this IFF the flag reason is actually "Stop polishing turds"
    – user1228
    Jul 9, 2015 at 16:44
  • And I just learned that tldr.com redirects to a tumbr blog :(
    – user1228
    Jul 9, 2015 at 16:46
  • I polished this turd: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/98568/…?
    – mathlander
    Dec 17, 2023 at 3:04
  • It caused attention to be drawn to the post, so it is now deleted.
    – mathlander
    Dec 17, 2023 at 3:04

3 Answers 3


I really wanted this reason too; last fall when we revamped the edit decline reasons, pointless edits on doomed posts showed up repeatedly as a problem in the discussion and in my own analysis of edits.

The problem is that it's even harder to nail down the criteria for "turd-polishing" than for "too minor"; everyone agrees that editing blatant spam is a waste of time, but when it comes to less severe problems things get dicey in a hurry: is an edit that fixes code formatting in a debugging question turd-polishing? What about a cleanup edit to an off-topic post where the editor is also flagging for a moderator to migrate it to a more appropriate site?

To evaluate these properly, you'd have to take into account a LOT of context sometimes, context that doesn't even obviously exist when you're looking at the post in review. I don't want to discourage anyone from doing this if they're motivated to do so... But encouraging it (or even providing the tools to do it properly) is, I suspect, an undertaking whose effort greatly outweighs the potential benefit (if any).

Keep in mind, there's already a disincentive of sorts to doing this: if the post you're editing gets deleted, you lose the token amount of reputation you earned for the edit. Therefore, I feel that the real solution here - as usual - is more deletion.


I disagree with Shog here; I think there's a clear line to be drawn, no more ambiguous than the one we already draw for close votes:

IF the reviewer thinks the question should be closed as it stands AND the suggested edit doesn't change that fact, THEN the suggestion is a waste of time and should be rejected.

Now, describing it this way does put it pretty solidly in the "No improvement" bin, but people still could take issue because of "whatsoever". I agree with you that it would be valuable to be even more explicit in the review and say very clearly "If you can't upgrade this to be un-close-worthy, don't bother".

  • 10
    Just because the reviewer thinks the question should be closed, it doesn't mean it WILL be closed. If there aren't enough voters in agreement with him, isn't it better that the question be polished?
    – Barmar
    Jul 9, 2015 at 20:46
  • 2
    Maybe, but why second-guess the review with hypotheticals about what might happen like that, @Barmar?
    – jscs
    Jul 10, 2015 at 7:46
  • 1
    @JoshCaswell the closure is what's hypothetical. given the question is still in existence, why not allow a polish? why assume something is going to happen in the future (closure)?
    – abcd
    Sep 6, 2016 at 4:58

I couldn't disagree with this more.

There is a good reason that closure initially places a question "on hold" — it is because we want people to fix the content, not simply nuke it from oblivion without a second thought.

Guess how fixing the content occurs? Yes, that's right: by editing it.

Who cares if the first edit doesn't solve every single problem with the post? We are literally telling the entire world, by "closing" a question, that we expect people to come along and improve it through edits, such that it becomes worthy of re-opening. But now you want to instead punish those same people with edit rejections and tell them off with disgusting language to "stop polishing turds"?


  • 4
    Did you look at my examples? The first one, for example, asks, "How do I do cool button effects in an Android app?" There are no edits anyone besides the OP can make that would make that question specific and on-topic. Of course I don't want to punish people for improving questions, and I don't expect posts to always be perfect after an edit. But I also don't want reviewers to keep wasting time going through futile edits because the editor ignored the larger issue. And BTW, as my example phrasing shows, I don't intend to actually use the word "turd". I was being a bit facetious.
    – skrrgwasme
    Jul 14, 2015 at 21:16
  • 3
    @skrrgwasme: Yes, I looked at them. Y'know, I've never understood (and suspect I never will) this widespread hatred of minor edits in the review queue. The edit review queue is tiny, and each edit is potentially an incremental step towards greatness for the post in question. I just cannot figure out why people hate them so much. Maybe if you didn't reject so many valid but small edits you wouldn't feel like reviewing were such a waste of time. The close queue is the problem: focus your energies on that if you want something to be militant about. Jul 14, 2015 at 21:21
  • 3
    @skrrgwasme: I wish to be clear, though: not all of those edits were valid. Some were crap edits in their own right. I would have rejected them. It's just that I wouldn't have cared whether the question were going to be put on hold or not, when I made that decision. tl;dr: there's not nearly as much "polish" there as you claim Jul 14, 2015 at 21:28
  • 3
    I agree on certain parts and disagree on: "we want people to fix the content, not simply nuke it from oblivion without a second thought." -- there are questions which you or any other person other than OP can't really fix if its core is off-topic. Take a look: 1, 2.
    – 286110
    Jul 14, 2015 at 22:10
  • 2
    Oi, don't bring facts into this Jul 14, 2015 at 22:10
  • 2
    But you're not talking about what the feature request is for. Your example scenario is when a post is recoverable from an edit, the OP wants to be able to reject an edit when the post isn't recoverable.
    – James
    Mar 12, 2018 at 19:02

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