This morning at "4:32 AM (6 hours ago)" -- Eastern Daylight, and times and time zones are relevant -- I was sent an email notification about "Suggested Edit" to a post I made last year:
I've never gotten that before. Even on a Sunday morning It's a nice notification that people still care and I went in to have a look:
Since I have been to this screen before and given that the blue button obviously requested interaction, I didn't think anything about the "Approved." The edits were good, fixed some typos. The edits obviously does not deviate from the original intent, that's no big deal in itself.
I clicked the inviting big, blue "Next." And I got this:
After some research, what I have established is
The proposed edit was made and as the original author I was sent a email at 4:32 EDT.
Shortly afterwards, other users with edit approval permissions encountered the edits and approved them.
When I clicked the email at about 10:30 EDT, I got to the tab for the edit. The edit was already approved, but the "Next" button was still showing (something short circuited?).
When I got the screen after next, I think something definitely short circuited some way, because this screen had no idea I was the original author and thought I was trying to edit some random posts.
I think the source of frustration is clear. From beginning to end, not just a complete waste of my time and attention, but a guaranteed complete waste of my time and attention.
The comments on "You need at least 2k reputation to review Suggested Edits" get into the issue, but it is only in the comments is it drawn out; I share the suggestion and the bewilderment of "Stan" that this could be the intended behavior.
This post also from 2012 tells me where this is going and the title captures my feeling exactly: "The robo-approvers are killing my will to review edits". Their* issue is different but the frustration is the same. I had no chance, especially given the timing on this one.
In fact, the time zones make this the most amusing: The profiles indicate the approves are on continents that are awake at 4:32 AM EDT. Since the "reviewed this ..." time shows time ago in their time zone, it actually appears to me the edits were approved before they were made.
(Not the first incident of date-handling time-traveling. I can't think of a good generalization solution, why I file under "amusing".)
Obviously there could be some tightening up the edit approval button-enabling/error handling/knowledge-of-original-author status. But I didn't write out this post to complain about that. The possible solutions depend on how the problem is conceptualized:
1. The email notification is stale.
If there are robo editors who are going to snap up edit approvals, don't send email notifications to original authors. I had no chance--it was a complete waste of my time, form beginning to end.
Alternately the email could warn it might already be approved if more than a few hours-- true, but not a good solution because it just makes the absurdity official.
2) The original author should be given a chance in reasonable time to a participate
The original author should be given a chance to approve/reject in reasonable time.
This could be holding the review and email notification until the user's time zone, if they have it, but this still . It also could be holding the entire review for a few days until the original author has had a chance to review. If it takes three approvals, maybe could just hold one of them or something; I'm still not sure entirely how the edit process work beyond what I've experienced today.
I'll leave it here; not sure what the solution is--other than handle guaranteed-pointless email notifications. I like to participate but don't like to have my time wasted, I think the system as operating now is guaranteed to produce frustration.
Loving that in 2016 they/their/them are officially gender-neutral third-person singular pronouns in English.