7

I wanted to pose this topic to our community members with the review privilege (part of the moderator tools) so they could share their reasoning behind the decisions to reject an edit. From this, I hope we can emerge with…

  • clarity for new users (to the editing privilege) to understand what makes a good and effective edit and why edits are rejected.
  • best practices

Why are edits rejected?

This has been asked by individuals a number of times. Below is (not comprehensive) a good sample representation of questions already posted on Meta.

Why have I been banned/suspended from editing for X days?

Thankfully, I only found one post dealing with suspensions/banning (perhaps my search kata is rusty). I take this as a good sign that this isn’t a frequent occurrence. But since it can and does happen, it should be addressed as well.


Standard Disclaimer

This question is not meant to single out any user in particular. Any user referenced by links or timing of this post is purely coincidental. This is intended to be a canonical post compiling the the thoughts and reasonings from the more experienced community members to serve as a guide for our newer ones.

And of course… Edits to this question are welcome!

1
  • 2
    Hopefully this will help clarify things for users and why it sometimes seems there is no consistency in rejections/approvals. Thanks for posting.
    – Monomeeth Mod
    Mar 8, 2023 at 21:33

1 Answer 1

4

When I process the review queue, I keep several points in mind:

  • Does it improve the question?

  • Is it timely?

  • Is this a new user who needs to gain some reputation for increased engagement?

  • Does it improve site engagement (will my rejection discourage new users from continued participation)?

    One thing that I keep in mind is that editing older posts pushes down and eventually off, newer more relevant questions. I believe that nobody wants to see their current question get pushed down the page for older, obsolete questions that are unlikely to see renewed engagement.

I’d like to believe I’m cognizant of the hurdles a new user must go through to gain reputation points an the desire for some of us with OCD to see a nicely organized site with consistent formatting and wording.

I have some rules of thumb that I go by when deciding on rejecting an edit:

Superfluous Edits (Formatting, grammar, spelling, and typos)

  • Edits to questions that haven’t had activity in (approx) a year or less will generally be approved unless they are significantly incomplete.

    If the post is rife with correctable errors and only a few words like MacBook Pro or macOS has been addressed, I will either either Reject or Reject & Edit/Improve Edit depending on the time I’m willing to invest.

  • Edits greater than 5 years will likely be rejected unless it is a highly active, still current, and the edit does improve the post.

    This means simple typos or word usage/formatting will be rejected, but a fix in code or a URL will be approved.

  • Edit between 1 and 5 years I take on a case by case basis

    Generally speaking if an genuine effort was made on a post that was in need of editing because it was a “wall of text”, in all lower case, mis-spellings, etc. I will approve the edit. If it’s small, minor fixes, I will generally reject unless you’re a new user trying to gain footing on the site. In this case, I will approve, but send a chat or leave a comment about editing.

Edits that Harm Posts

It goes without saying that any edit that causes harm (replies to the post author, changing the authors intent, etc.) are going to be rejected. How do I determine this?

  • Replies. Thank you posts, commentary, or anything that doesn’t directly add to the answer will be rejected

  • Updating the answer to the current year/version.. (IMO) this should be a new answer rather than an edit to an existing post. There are users still using older products that may have the same question. However, editing what seems to be an obsolete answer means the person searching for this info can no longer find it.

  • Link Updates. These are generally approved as keeping links from going stale is a concern (it helps with SEO and ultimately site engagement). I do visit the link to ensure functionality and prevent SPAM.

  • Code Updates. Generally I will approve unless it’s very superfluous (i.e. two dashes instead of one for command line arguments) and not very active. I will reject code when making changes due to new versions (i.e. Bash shell versus Zsh). I would prefer to see a small edit indicating the difference with the new environment or a new answer altogether.

6
  • 1
    One thing I'd add re edits that harm posts are those where the user believes they are making a correction/improvement, but it actually changes the original intent of the author. It would be very rare for me to approve such an edit. I might if the post is an answer and it's fairly recent and it contains an obvious error, but if it's been accepted as the answer and/or has received a number of upvotes, I'd be very hesitant to change it. Besides the obvious, it also often results in unintended consequences for users relying on the post.
    – Monomeeth Mod
    Mar 8, 2023 at 21:39
  • "One thing that I keep in mind is that editing older posts pushes down and eventually off, newer more relevant questions. I believe that nobody wants to see their current question get pushed down the page for older, obsolete questions that are unlikely to see renewed engagement." This feels like a poor approach to me. You never know when someone will come across an old question/answer and need the information inside. The goal should always be to make questions better. Perhaps we need to reconsider whether all edits should bump posts. Mar 17, 2023 at 17:25
  • 1
    @Wowfunhappy, thanks for the reply. However, it’s important to note that peoplenseeking info will search for it. However, those who answer questions don”t search. We scan the current topics on the stack
    – Allan
    Mar 17, 2023 at 17:28
  • 1
    I have to disagree with older posts not being relevant/engaging. I get daily rep from very old posts and when I find questions/answers via google, they are often quite old and very actively used. Improving highly-viewed older questions/answers seems quite worthy
    – Mr. Boy
    Mar 20, 2023 at 11:41
  • I addressed editing highly active posts in my answer @Mr.Boy
    – Allan
    Mar 20, 2023 at 15:02
  • Hey, I've got a question here : I have seen a post that could be improved (it's completey unclear to me as it is now) but it is over 1 year old and the fixes I could makes will not pass the +100 characters (I think). So, compared the the post length, it is a lot but it is actually quite a small edit in characters added/removed length. Will it be alright for me to edit it or would it be undeniably rejected? Thanks! :)
    – Thinkr
    May 17, 2023 at 17:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .