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:

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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:

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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:

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After some research, what I have established is

  1. The proposed edit was made and as the original author I was sent a email at 4:32 EDT.

  2. Shortly afterwards, other users with edit approval permissions encountered the edits and approved them.

  3. 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?).

  4. 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.


2 Answers 2


Just to be clear: That the email is not specifically about edit suggestions - you get emailed when you have unread inbox items, whatever those might be (new comments, new answers, etc). It just so happened that you still had a pending edit suggestion notification in your inbox when that email went out.

But even for edit suggestions, which have a 99.9% likelihood of already having been acted upon by the time you get that email - it's not completely useless. Sure, you can't act on the review item itself, but you still need be notified that someone edited your post. Maybe that edit did get approved by robo-reviewers and it was a terrible edit that you want to make sure gets reverted. Or maybe the edit got rejected but contained good and salvageable components that you'd like to incorporate them into your post. That seems pretty valuable to me, and you don't receive another notification if your post actually gets edited from an approved suggested edit - this is the only one you get.

As far as giving the OP time to participate - it's really not needed. Leaving suggested edits sitting around waiting for the author to respond will just clog up the system. Most edits do not require the author to verify their validity, and requiring other users to wait for an author to approve or reject something would only result in edits which really need to be made taking forever to get made. We don't want users sitting around doing nothing just because an author isn't around to approve something, and a suggested edit essentially locks a post from further edits while it is still pending.


EDIT: you now get the final say on suggested edits to your own posts even if they've already been reviewed.

See this announcement from Community Manager Shog9:

Any suggested edit to a question or answer that hasn't been edited after the edit was approved or rejected may be overridden.
Only the author of the post that was edited and diamond moderators can override suggested edits.
A suggested edit can only be overridden once.

As a user with <2000 reputation, you can review suggested edits on your own posts but not on anybody else's.

You got the notification and email because someone had suggested an edit to one of your posts - which, if you'd seen it in time, you would have been able to review yourself, and approve or reject singlehandedly. As it happened, by the time you looked at the review page, the edit had already been approved, so you weren't able to take any action on it.

The only strange thing, then, is the blue "Next" button, suggesting that you should have been able to review more suggested edits, followed by the "not enough rep" warning when you clicked it. The most sensible change to the existing system in order to avoid what you experienced would be:

give <2000-rep users a restricted Suggested Edits queue consisting only of suggested edits to their own posts (the only ones they can review).

This is worth posting as a (though it's probably already been suggested, so might be closed as a duplicate).

If this change were to be implemented, you would still be able to approve or reject edits to your own posts, and to view the progress of such edits after they've been approved or rejected by others, but when you clicked the "Next" button, instead of getting the "not enough rep" warning you would see this:

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Because from your point of view, the Suggested Edits queue (i.e. the list of all your posts with suggested edits awaiting review on them) has been cleared, even though >2000-rep users might be able to continue reviewing other suggested edits.


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