This suggested edit has “added 3408 characters in body”, yet the diff only shows 11 added characters. Why?


  • 4
    Hmm, I just tried to inspect this, and then I discovered that there's no way to view the source (raw markdown syntax) for suggested edits. That used to be there, and I'd very much like it back! Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 12:11

4 Answers 4


As a <2k user across the network, I think I can shed some light here. When a user goes to re-edit a post on which he has a pending suggested edit, the software automatically fills in the edit summary from the most recent version of the suggested edit. So assuming that the behavior hasn't changed since 2011, a likely explanation is that the user in question did initially propose an edit at 10:04 that added some 3000+ characters, and then, over the subsequent 2-hour period before rejection, modified the suggestion at least once until it became the one-line change we see preserved in the linked review. If the user never bothered to touch the edit summary box throughout the whole process, the automatically-generated summary from the initial proposal would remain – completely untouched – on all subsequent versions of the suggestion despite no longer being an accurate reflection of the content.

  • True, that's the most likely explanation, and only a dev can confirm for sure. Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 0:20

There are just two cases when this would happen

  1. bug

It's probably that first case, but I have no idea why would OP do it


Just come across another example where there have been nowhere near 16,261 characters added.

This suggest that it's a as the chances of the OP, who's only interacted with one question, getting the grammar correct for the automatically created edit description is minimal.

enter image description here


Could very well be simply a huge amount of whitespace added.

They don't show up in the diff, but the characters are counted towards that number.

(Random edit to a sandbox post here - shows 186 chars added to body that are not visible in the diff.)

This theory has been debunked: this screenshot and this one show that whitespace does show up in the suggested edit diff view. (Thanks Gilles for the captures!)

  • Shouldn't the whitespace be indicated (with →) in the markdown diff? Or does that happen only for whitespace at the beginning of a line? If it isn't, I might turn this into a feature request. Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 12:49
  • Not sure... I just made a test edit on your question, but... I can't see the suggested edits on meta :-) ...
    – Mat
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 12:53
  • Thanks for the experiment, here's a screenshot of the markdown diff view of your edit. How much whitespace did you add at the end of the line? Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 12:59
  • Well, there goes my theory... I add three spaces on the first line then 10 or so empty lines that are clearly visible in that screenshot. I'll delete this shortly.
    – Mat
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 13:01
  • Don't delete this yet. Can you try adding lots of space characters at the end of the line? (I'd do it, but I can't suggest edits on Meta, and I don't want to disrupt another site.) Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 13:07
  • Ok: I just tried adding 100 spaces at the end of the first line, and nothing else.
    – Mat
    Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 13:10
  • Thanks. There goes that theory: the spaces do show up as →. Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 13:13

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