I saw a new edit pending approval in the edit toolbar this morning, and was about to reject the edit when I noticed it had already been approved: small edit

The problem with approving this edit is that the question itself had problems that really needed addressing:

    body text after authors edit

So now we have an editor that made an edit that didn't really help anything, and we reinforce this behavior by approving it.

Luckily, someone else came in and made the edit that needed to be made, but I have to ask, aren't we just causing ourselves extra work by approving edits that don't actually improve the question substantially?

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    +1 I have also recently seen an approved tag edit on a question that barely existed and had been flagged 'close'. – Remou Feb 7 '11 at 14:23
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    I agree we need some guidelines for this, but I'm not sure I see the problem in the example at hand. Does an edit have to address every problem of a post in order to be valid? I.e. is it not okay for me (as a hypothetical <2k user) to fix a typo or a small error even if I can't / won't fix the big picture? Woudln't the right way be to approve the small fix so somebody can do the big fix? – Pekka Feb 7 '11 at 14:24
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    Perhaps they should show more of the post that was being edited. I would have accepted the C# edit if I had any votes left today. From the review page it looks like an acceptable edit. – jjnguy Feb 7 '11 at 14:25
  • Withdrew my original comment because according to the comments, the multiple reviewer system is actually enabled on Stack Overflow alone. Can't actually see it in action, but apparently it's still not quite enough. – Grace Note Feb 7 '11 at 14:28
  • @Pekka @jjnguy The first screenshot is of the questionable edit. He simply removed 'C#' from the subject line, even though the answerer wanted a solution in C#. There was a lot more he could do, but he stopped at a two character change. – George Stocker Feb 7 '11 at 14:33
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    @George, I saw the C# edit in the queue, and would have approved it had I more votes left. See my answer for more detail. – jjnguy Feb 7 '11 at 14:34
  • @George I see now. I agree with jjnguy though, see my comment to his answer – Pekka Feb 7 '11 at 14:37
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    The title edit of the specific example blocked further editing for 14 minutes. I cannot tell at what time Cody Gray accepted or rejected that edit, possibly just to be able to fix the rest of the post. There's 3 people involved there, and the first has not rejected anything so far. So I guess the first approved and Cody rejected, requiring yet another vote. – Arjan Feb 7 '11 at 14:42
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    That's exactly why I rejected the edit. The tag in the title didn't belong, but that wasn't even the most obvious problem with the question's formatting. I think the real problem here is that a pending edit suggestion blocks high rep users from making edits that override those pending. You can either let 3K users who can already edit override a pending edit, or limit it to 10k+, but this needs to be fixed. It seems like all the questions addressing it keep getting closed/deleted by the devs, so I'm scared to post one of my own. – Cody Gray Feb 7 '11 at 14:53
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    @Cody Gray Really? Do you have examples where the Stack Overflow team has closed questions that deal with criticisms of the process? – George Stocker Feb 7 '11 at 14:55
  • @George: No, I'm not a 10k user on meta, and I didn't save any of the links. I remember there were two specific questions (not necessarily about pending edits blocking, but definitely criticisms of the process in general) that were closed and then shortly deleted. The official line seemed to be that Jeff et. al. weren't open for comments/criticisms while the edit approval process was in the process of being rolled out. Nothing was finalized, so they weren't interested in hearing comments. That seems backwards to me, but I don't run the site. – Cody Gray Feb 7 '11 at 14:59
  • The two that @CodyGray is probably specifically referring to are this one and this one. They were indeed about pending edit blocking users who otherwise have the ability to make edits. – Grace Note Feb 7 '11 at 15:03
  • They were closed and deleted because they were discussions that took place before the feature was 'finalized' and officially released. I would recommend bringing the issue up again if you think you need to. (@Cody) – jjnguy Feb 7 '11 at 15:06
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    (As an aside, and probably just a bug, another tiny edit that blocked the original 80.1k author from further editing for 27 minutes: Unable to edit my own answer until all other suggested edits are approved/rejected.) – Arjan Feb 8 '11 at 14:18

I'm ok with small edits. If we have thousands of people making small incremental improvements to posts, the quality of the site and its content will be greatly enhanced.

If we reject too many edits and drive away potential editors I think we are taking a step backwards.

I wish I could approve more than 30 edits per day. (And I wish I could approve more tag wiki edits)

When this system first came around I was skeptical. I thought, "Pish, low-rep users are dumb and shouldn't be allowed to edit my shit." But after reviewing around 50 edits from people, I've noticed that the people submitting edits are (in general) doing a great job. They are fixing things that I would never take the time to or didn't think deserved a second look.

My vote goes to - Can haz moar editz plz?

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    I agree with this. I totally see the problem presented by @George, but I don't see how we can tell people to "only do small edits if there is nothing big to fix in the contribution". It's not a realistic expectation. The solution is to streamline the approval process to reduce the time an edit blocks the queue. – Pekka Feb 7 '11 at 14:36
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    @Pekka, exactly. Edits should be pushed through more quickly. That would fix the 'blocking' problem. – jjnguy Feb 7 '11 at 14:37
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    @Pekka Isn't that the point of the minimum character limit? With the example scenario, 2 characters isn't even above the limit and would require some kind of cheap trick to pull off. – Grace Note Feb 7 '11 at 14:38
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    @jjinguy, Well there are at least two of us :) I also think that smaller edits are easier to check for approval too. When I see things like the second of George's two screenshots, my instinctive reaction is to reach for the back button... – Benjol Feb 7 '11 at 14:38
  • @Grace the minimum limit will catch some trivial edits, but by far not all of them. If there's one typo you can fix, there's likely to be another – Pekka Feb 7 '11 at 14:41
  • @Pekka Fixing more than one typo is appreciated, actually - that is a bit more substantial than one singular fix. A gimmick 2-character removal seems like a waste of multiple reviewers' times, especially on top of the whole "blocks actual substantial edits" thing. – Grace Note Feb 7 '11 at 14:44
  • @Chris, thanks for the 1 character edit! (Seriously) – jjnguy Feb 7 '11 at 14:47
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    @Chris, try harder, if there's one typo you can fix, there's likely to be another :) – Benjol Feb 7 '11 at 14:49
  • @Benjol - it's to allow others to make small incremental improvements to the post as well. – ChrisF Feb 7 '11 at 14:54
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    I get the impression people keep repeating "if there's one typo you can fix, there's likely to be another" because it's what the edit page says -- it's absolutely not true. Is there a law of nature that says typos are attracted to each other and tend to bunch up in posts? Some people totally botch their posts, but others know what they're doing and just happen to hit the wrong key while they're typing -- those people don't get a suggested edit because they messed up just the wrong amount? Clearly the solution is for everyone to fail more, so all posts are editable – Michael Mrozek Feb 7 '11 at 15:27
  • @Michael, did you find another typo in my post? (Or would it be too much of a counter-point if you did? :P) – jjnguy Feb 7 '11 at 15:30
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    @Michael, but seriously, I agree. I mistyped one letter and got lucky that it didn't get caught by the spell check. That doesn't mean I'm more likely to do the exact same thing though. – jjnguy Feb 7 '11 at 15:31
  • +1 to this posted answer - very well said – Bert F Feb 8 '11 at 19:56

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