During my time on Arqade, I sometimes take some time from my experience to visit the Suggested Edits review queue, and approve/reject the edits I see.

I find myself rejecting a lot of edits that are by new or unregistered users that don't know what editing is for, or just don't bother reading the help page.

When rejecting these edits (or any edit, for that matter), I use the custom reject reason quite a lot to enlighten users (especially new and unregistered users) about what editing is and isn't, and what types of edits are allowed or not. The problem is, the allowed text length is too low!

In the box that I type said reasons into, I tend to want to be able, not only to just say why an edit is bad, but give a post-unique reason of why the suggestion was bad, and give advice as to how the user can improve later edits. Although the help centre encourages users to read the rejection reasons, the preset canned responses do not provide ample information, for example, which will gives better advice to the suggester? (character count displayed after each quote)

  1. This edit deviates from the original intent of the post. Even edits that make drastic changes should strive to preserve the goals of the post author. 149

  2. Although this could have been a good addition to the post, it changes the post’s meaning. You can add your own ideas by adding another answer, or you can request the post author to add that point by adding a comment. 219

If you chose #2, I agree with you. I would not choose #1 for the following reasons:

  • It does not address the suggester and does not acknowledge that the suggester might be reading it. We should address the suggester in all rejection reasons, because they are the main user that the rejection reasons will help.
  • If the suggester disagrees with the rejection, the reasons do not give any advice as to what they can do instead of suggesting an edit. For most cases, all they need to do is add a comment saying why they think the post should be edited. If there was more room in the reason box, I would encourage them to read the help page for detailed instructions.

What really bothers me is that most of the canned responses are above this 150 character limit, and of the ones that aren't, they are only under by about 10 characters (except for the spam/vandalism one.) This makes it looks like the system is trying to imply that the custom reason is not to be used except for cases where the other reasons don't cover. Here is a list of the canned responses and their text lengths.

  • Spam or vandalism
    This edit defaces the post in order to promote a product or service, or is deliberately destructive. 100

  • No improvement
    The edit does not improve the quality of the post. Changes to the content are unnecessary or make the post more confusing. 122

  • Irrelevant tags This edit introduces tags that do not help to define the topic of the question. Tags should help to describe what the question is about, not just what it contains. 167

  • Clearly conflicts with author's intent
    This edit deviates from the original intent of the post. Even edits that make drastic changes should strive to preserve the goals of the post author. 149

  • Attempt to reply
    This edit was intended to address the author of the post and makes no sense as an edit. It should have been written as a comment or an answer. 142

  • Circular tag definition Tag excerpts amounting to, "[tag] is for questions about [tag]" are pointless and usually rejected. Excerpts should describe why and when a tag should be used. See the help centre for more guidance. 260 with formatting

  • Copied content
    This edit copies a significant amount of content from an external source. Generic descriptions such as encyclopedia articles and ad copy do not provide useful guidance; try creating something useful to this community specifically, and be sure to attribute the original author. See: How to reference material written by others. 440 with formatting

  • Lacks usage guidance
    Simply defining what a [tag] is rarely helps those using it unless the tag's name itself is ambiguous. Excerpts should describe why and when a tag should be used. 174 with formatting

If this is the case, I disagree with this implied message, and I believe that users should be able to use the custom reject reason whenever they want, and when they do, they should be able to write more info than the canned responses can convey. The official guidance tells users to ask the site chat for more detail, however, this option is not always applicable because there is a reputation requirement (20 for Arqade) for using the chat, while there isn't a reputation requirement for suggesting edits. I understand that the chat reputation requirement is there for a reason and I am not asking to remove it, but this means that users below 20 reputation will not be able to ask for further clarification! This clarification should be provided immediately, not on request!

Because of this, I would like to propose an increase of the 150 character limit for rejection reasons to 600 characters, the maximum length of a comment on SE, and allow the same Markdown as in comments and bounty notices. This will allow ample room to show what went wrong in the edit, explain to them what alternate actions they can take, and encourage them to read articles that will enlighten them on what editing is and isn’t for. We could even encourage them to increase their reputation or sign up for an account. Consider the following:

You see an unregistered user’s edit that attempts to correct a slight mistake in an answer that entirely changes the meaning of the post when corrected. You respond in the following way:

It looks like you tried to correct a slight mistake in the post. Unfortunately, edits that change the post’s information can only be made by the author of the post. If you believe that the information needs to be corrected, why don’t you consider signing up for an account? Once you earn 50 reputation, you can comment on this answer requesting that the information be updated. =377

Now, I understand that that may look like a lot, but it gives good information and encourages the user to sign up to unlock more functionality of the site. And that’s just what we want, right? More users, and encourage them to post good questions and answers.

Opposing Arguments

Here are some arguments that oppose the idea and my defence for them:

  • This will make it easier for bad faith reviewers to use the box to bully or insult editors in the rejection reasons. Before, it was harder as there wasn't much room!
    1. It's so easy to push one of the canned responses. So easy that no one will really notice that the character limit has increased. In order to actually notice the change, users will have to had already entered 20 characters into the box to notice that the countdown is higher.
      But what if the time comes where the custom reject reason needs to be used, and someone notices the limit? It's still quite unlikely that bullying will occur, for reason 2 below:
    2. It takes a lot of work to get to the 2000 reputation mark. To get there, they will have to have made many positive contributions on the site. After doing so, they will have probably learnt some of the core concepts of the site, such as keeping it civil, and respecting other users. Most spammers/trolls/bullies don't make it past the 1000 rep mark, let alone 2000. It is very unlikely that someone will betray the site at this time after contributing positively for so long. And if this does happen, it can be reported to the moderators, who can intervene and investigate the situation. That's what moderators are for, to handle rare exceptions.

Right now, reviewers like me, who always want to go the extra mile for their reviews, are feeling quite constrained in the character limit of the custom edit rejection reasons, because there is no room to add that personalized feedback that we think that they deserve. Adding this feature will not cause much harm to the community and only satisfy few, but satisfying 100% of people is always better than satisfying 99%.

What do you think of this suggestion? Is there anything you disagree with? Do you have a different number for the character limit? Are there any other opposing arguments that you believe I forgot to address? I await your response in the comments and answers below.

  • 2
    This is really well thought out, I like it a lot. I also think that the proposed 600-character limit makes total sense, it's nice symmetry with comments. Unless there's an architectural reason why this feature can't be implemented, or if it would be extremely difficult to achieve for some reason, I really can't see any downsides here. I really like feature requests which help improve the ability to teach users who break the rules for lack of experience or understanding.
    – zcoop98
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 23:04
  • 1
    @zcoop98 In my eyes the best scenario would be a broad canned response, plus a custom response, and you can provide one or both (but not neither). But for the sake of the foot-in-the-door technique, it's best to start small, and this small improvement will still go a long way, even though it's not what I would see as the absolute perfect solution.
    – user805262
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 23:11

2 Answers 2


Thanks so much for your patience. This made it through our backlog finally and we've now increased the limit to 400. This was a bit more work than you might have originally thought, considering the default options - we'd locked the database field for the custom reasons to 150 characters, so increasing this required changing the database to allow more characters.

Please enjoy your additional 250 characters for edit suggestion rejection reasons! Thanks so much to Shiyao for taking this one on!

  • And just for a moment there, I thought this had gotten lost in the dust. Thank you truly—it's always great to see small quality-of-life improvements, such as this one, make it through, even if it may be years later. See you at the next one!
    – user805262
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 4:32

We don't have immediate plans to work on this request. However, we see the merit and we will investigate the change at a later date. We'll provide an update once the work is completed.


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