A redaction was carried out by another mod to remove an email address, but somehow something has gone awry, and although it shows in my mod review queue, when I try and approve the action, I get a "No changes found to redact" message.

enter image description here


After a fair bit of thinking about this, I've come to the conclusion that the difficulties here arise from the confluence of several issues:

  1. Folks tend to come in with an unfortunate mental model of how redactions (and by extension, revisions) work here.
  2. No error or warning when you propose a redaction that will do nothing.
  3. The automatic redaction suggestion tool that pops up after a different revision has already been redacted (or a redaction proposed for a different revision) would cheerfully let you submit a do-nothing redaction even when it already knew that it hadn't suggested any changes.

So here's what I've done to address them:

  1. Guidance on the redact tool itself.

    screenshot of new revision tool with inline guidance

  2. Block submission of redactions that do nothing

  3. Block the system from suggesting automatic redactions that will do nothing.

Also made the page responsive while I was mucking about with it. So, lemme know if I broke anything there...


This has happened to me too. It kind of makes sense that you can't approve what's not there -- there's nothing to approve. When I saw this I rejected the redaction (the only way to clear the flag/notification) and talked with the other moderator about what we needed to do.

IMO the bug isn't that you can't click the "approve" button; it's that the system knows it's going to reject the redaction and yet the redaction exists. The best fix for this problem -- best for the approving mod and best for the redacting mod, because redactions are confusing -- would be to reject the redaction attempt. The moderator attempting to make a no-op redaction should get an error message, instead of seeing something "work" that doesn't really, only to learn the truth when a second moderator has tried to act on it. If we have enough information to reject it at approval time, we have enough information to reject it at creation time.

  • 1
    But Rory clearly said "remove an email address" - so why nothing to approve? – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Dec 20 '16 at 6:58
  • 1
    @ShadowWizard the redaction comment says "remove email", but it appears that the redaction didn't actually do that. The redaction interface is confusing; several moderators have made the mistake of thinking they're redacting a revision when what they really need to do is "edit in redact mode" (so to speak). I suspect that's what happened here. – Monica Cellio Dec 20 '16 at 14:11
  • In this case it is reacting the original rev after I applied an edit to remove the email. The current rev is rev 2. I started a redaction on rev 1. So what you are saying is that it reacts all history prior to a rev instead of just one part of the Rev history? So I'd react rev 2 making it the new rev 1? That is confusing. – AJ Henderson Dec 20 '16 at 16:12
  • @AJHenderson it doesn't remove the entire revision; it removes the part you redact (by editing it out) from the revision that's shown in the history. Yeah, confusing. – Monica Cellio Dec 20 '16 at 16:16
  • So really it is "redact this change from previous revisions". Got it. – AJ Henderson Dec 20 '16 at 16:24
  • Might be worth changing to a change request for better wording atleast. Nothing on either page remotely seems to indicate the actual behavior. – AJ Henderson Dec 20 '16 at 16:29

We're seeing this on Ask Different with one moderator two times a couple days apart.

I'll reject and queue it up for the other mod to approve. The first moderator did not get a message that there was no diff - it went through to the queue, but the second cannot approve it.

enter image description here

So the first redaction I made was approvable with a diff. Now the second change should get re-evaluated to provide a proper "diff" and be approvable. Doing to be a bit of a dance to change once - approve - then change the second - approve.

  • So far, I'm able to queue up changes and have others approve them, what's broken is another moderator can't queue a change that's approvable by the rest of us. – bmike Jan 14 at 18:47

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