When reviewing edit suggestions, I often use the custom reject reason. This allows me to give the editor some personalized guidance, so that in their next edit they can do better.

For some reason, this custom reject reason is called "causes harm". I'm not sure why it is given this name, and not something more neutral like "other". Maybe it is an attempt to discourage reviewers from using it, but at least on Stack Overflow the problem is with people who approve too easily, rejecting does not need to be discouraged there.

In fact, I can't think of a way in which an edit causes harm that is not already covered by "spam or vandalism" or "clearly conflicts with the author's intent".

So let's call the custom reject reason "Other".

  • 2
    If it doesn't cause harm why are you rejecting it? Feb 3, 2016 at 20:23
  • 1
    @DeerHunter Because those edits are still bad. The alternative is "No improvement whatsoever", but the wording that reason gives doesn't help the editor at all. Feb 3, 2016 at 20:33
  • In a certain way, rejected edits cause harm by diverting people's time. So no, I don't think a change in wording is warranted. Feb 3, 2016 at 20:37
  • @DeerHunter Another example, often new users add meta-tags to questions. If I reject with the "irrelevant tags", they'll just wonder: "How is 'api' not a relevant tag? This question is totally about an API!" The custom reject reason allows me to explain that. Feb 3, 2016 at 20:46
  • 3
    Totally agree with this - it's misleading
    – user310756
    Aug 18, 2017 at 13:02
  • @S.L.Barth we're having more success with this proposal on MSO meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/356344/… ..
    – user310756
    Sep 11, 2017 at 8:53
  • @YvetteColomb I've noticed, and voted there myself. Sep 11, 2017 at 8:57
  • @S.L.Barth I'm hoping they actually grant it. How many votes do we need?
    – user310756
    Sep 11, 2017 at 8:57
  • 1
    @YvetteColomb I don't think there's a set amount of votes for implementing a feature request. It's in Hot Meta Posts right now, though, so there's a reasonable chance we'll get an official response. We'll just have to wait and see. Sep 11, 2017 at 9:02

1 Answer 1


You have rolled two orthogonal feature-requests into one:

  1. first, add a message to the would-be editor to be optionally filled in by the reviewer
  2. second, rename 'causes harm' into 'other'.

I'm all for no.1 but against no.2.

Canned rejection reasons are there (IMO) to avoid such fancy stuff: 'I rejected your edit 'cause I left my keys at home'. A mindless edit always causes harm since it diverts our attention and wastes our time.

Do we need a way to convey a bit of the site's rules to the author of the suggestion? Absolutely. Yet we need that for every canned reason, not just for one or two, especially if the would-be editor is on a spree - a word or two of caution may go a long way.

  • 1
    The problem with this answer is that "Causes harm" already has a "fill in the blank" space that is required. So, it's not really two FRs... unless I'm misunderstanding what you're saying.
    – Catija
    Feb 5, 2016 at 17:14
  • @Catija - you can make the field required in one case and optional in others. Feb 5, 2016 at 17:16
  • 1
    Ah, so you're saying that rather than the default text for "no improvement whatsoever", a user would be allowed to edit that text while keeping the main reason?
    – Catija
    Feb 5, 2016 at 17:17
  • @Catija - exactly. Feb 5, 2016 at 17:18
  • Ah, thanks for clarifying. That makes more sense now. :)
    – Catija
    Feb 5, 2016 at 17:18
  • @Catija - the benefit is we can make the "(optional)" line as unconspicuous as possible (while still maintaining legibility & UX) and make it easier for reviewers to get into the habit of mentoring would-be editors. Feb 5, 2016 at 17:22

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