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This post will not make much sense without first reading Suggested edit by Anonymous, which details my making over a hundred anonymous edits to MSE over a period of years before creating my current account.

As it turns out, there is a counter that publicly tells how many anonymous edits from a specific location were approved or rejected:

Anonymous had 2 edit suggestions approved, and 1 edit suggestion rejected

(https://meta.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/53364)

After discovering this a long time ago, I decided to do some testing to see how exactly that counter was incremented. I found out that it considers the browser cookies only, and not IP address, because I used private windows for a large portion of my editing, and the counter was being reset to zero whenever I started a new private session. (The edit above was by me; I suggested three edits from that particular session before starting a new one.) On the other hand, whenever I changed my IP address, either using my VPN or physically moving, and using either the same private session or a standard, non-private session, the same counter was updated.

After discovering my edits were being counted, I took care to make sure that I was making most of my edits through my regular browser session (and not a private one), and worked at the same pace to increment that counter. I then used it to produce evidence that I'm the anonymous editor before coming out and recreating my account here.

But there's something wrong with that. At the time I made that (rejected) edit, there were only 94 approved anonymous edits from that particular location, plus one that wasn't reviewed until after I had already created my account. That number is thus supposed to only be 95. However, it's 113:

Anonymous had 113 edit suggestions approved, and 18 edit suggestions rejected

I did not make any more anonymous edits from that particular location (or anywhere, for that matter, except for three suggestions to the formatting sandbox made in private sessions to test out bugs; I later performed concurrent edits to automatically reject them).

But why did this counter still continue to increment? All suggested edits I made from this session after creating my account, were through my account. Are those edits somehow being counted toward that amount? It's not that more approved edit suggestions were made through the same IP, because per my testing the counter is tracked through specific sessions, possibly through cookies, and is completely IP-agnostic.

As a matter of fact, I think I've lost access to that session (with 113 approved edits), since I had to refresh my system a couple weeks ago and it probably deleted my cookies.

  • In the place of the SO, I would consider two hits belonging to the same anonymous user, if: 1) both are coming from the same IP OR 2) both are coming with the same session cookie. – peterh Feb 20 '18 at 11:48
  • @peterh What do you mean, "in the place of the SO"? – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Feb 20 '18 at 11:49
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There's a cookie that's set when you first make a suggested edit.

It expires after a while, but until it expires (or is manually deleted), all suggested edits submitted from that browser will be associated with that cookie.

Even if they're also associated with an account.

When you look at a suggested edit submitted by a user, the stats for that user are retrieved and displayed.

When you look at a suggested edit submitted anonymously, the stats for that cookie are retrieved and displayed.

The cookie with the most edits on Stack Overflow has 853 suggestions to its name.

The cookie with the most users on Stack Overflow has 8 different users who've shared it.

The cookie with the most IP addresses on Stack Overflow has 106 unique IP addresses that've been used to submit edits.

Sharing cookies is just polite.

  • Since when was this implemented this way? If I recall correctly, in my earliest days of anonymous editing, it would just say 0 approved and 0 rejected all the time. Why was this implemented? – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Feb 20 '18 at 22:19
  • Waffles implemented this on or before January 10th, 2011 – Shog9 Feb 20 '18 at 22:20
  • So why was this implemented this way? – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Feb 21 '18 at 6:59
  • Also, what is the cookie with the most edits here on MSE? – Sonic the Anonymous WizHog Feb 24 '18 at 11:02

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