Some reviewers of suggested edits appear way to restrictive when it comes to approving an edit.

See for example

The reviewer stats are also worrysome

  • Scott has approved 2795 edit suggestions and rejected 1430 edit suggestions and improved 374 edit suggestions
  • robinCTS has approved 27 edit suggestions and rejected 118 edit suggestions and improved 36 edit suggestions
  • Run5k has approved 3215 edit suggestions and rejected 2579 edit suggestions and improved 301 edit suggestions

All three users rejected a large amount of edits, and only improved a small fraction.

A short sample of the reviews of those reviewers shows that many edits where rejected because they address not all issues of the post. It appears some reviewers try to educate the users to only perform complete substantial edits. Thing the reasoning behind that is flawed and actually harmful: Most editors are not able to spot all mistakes and flaws of a post. This restrictive approach will cause frustration and drive away potential contributors.

Has superuser a "Review suggested edits" rejection issue?

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  • your question is a little bit too provocative for my taste, but it still makes a good point and I understand where you're frustration is coming from. I have the same problem. But still I would rephrase it. – Albin Jul 15 '18 at 10:05
  • I always try to state questions in a neutral emotionless manner. If I didn't achieve this in your opinion, then I'm happy about your suggestions how to improve it. Feel free to suggest an edit. – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 10:15
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    I can't I get the message "Suggested edits are not allowed on non-tag-wiki posts on meta sites." - The question should be: Why are substantial edits rejected when they don't also address (all) the minor issues. You should also reason why your examples are substantial. In my view editing the complete title without regards for the rest of the question as in your case is a substantial edit. The reason behind it is, that the title is the most important part of the question because it is used for showing related questions etc. – Albin Jul 15 '18 at 10:40
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    I also thing a lot of rejects happen without enough thinking it over (the group decision doesn't help in such a case). In conclusion there need to be specific goals (and if possible rules) which makes it easy to decide for the editor as well as for the reviewer when a edit is "substantial". This subjective system that is in place now, it's just - sorry for my wording - crap - for all sides! – Albin Jul 15 '18 at 10:49
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    "I am for example unlikely going to edit again until edits that improve a post are generally accepted." However, within your original post you omitted your own statistics: Flow had 12 edit suggestions approved, and 3 edit suggestions rejected. If that's the case, you feel that approving 80% of your proposed edits still qualifies as a Suggested Edits rejection issue, and you are unlikely to edit again as a result? – Run5k Jul 15 '18 at 12:56
  • Superuser was probably my first SX account ever. I doubt that the 80% are representative regarding the current situation as the time range is over mutliple years. – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 13:02
  • @Ramhound I doubt that this is the case, if you look at the data you will find that those users are part of the lower range of the acceptance rate, while there are also reviewers with thousands reviews on the upper end of the acceptance rate. But let's focus on the real question: Why are substantial edits rejected when they don't also address all, potential minor, issues? – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 19:17
  • Why do you believe that it is ok to rejected an edit which improves the post? – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 19:43
  • Both, as both edits improve the post. – Flow Jul 16 '18 at 6:44
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    It isn't clear why you think the reviewer stats are a problem. Keep in mind that what is being reviewed are the edits of inexperienced users who get no advance guidance on appropriate editing. – fixer1234 Jul 16 '18 at 10:38
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    @Albin & Flow, I've looked at both linked edits. You both keep referring here to those being good edits that were rejected because other things weren't also fixed. That's not an accurate premise. Neither edit made a substantive improvement in the respective post. I would also have rejected them. An argument could be made that the specific sentences/title were maybe slightly better, but those changes were insignificant relative to the problems in both posts, and weren't what needed fixing. – fixer1234 Jul 16 '18 at 11:00
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    @fixer1234 I don't want to argue about my post, but Flow's post was a substantial improvement due to the reasoning I left in my comment under you're answer. Maybe you could further elaborate on my reasoning, that would be very helpful, thanks! – Albin Jul 16 '18 at 11:11
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    @Albin, based on length, virtually the entire question was visible on the main page. The title isn't the question, it's like a headline. A great title can attract readers; otherwise, it just provides orientation. It's a problem if it's inaccurate or misleading, and wastes peoples time or confuses them when they read the question. The original title wasn't a problem, and likely had little impact on readership, but the question is an English mess. Flow's edit changed the title style, and made it more explicit, but that change was largely irrelevant in terms of what would make it a better post. – fixer1234 Jul 16 '18 at 11:32
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    @fixer1234 thanks for the explanation, you say yourself "It's a problem if it's inaccurate". The original title way more inaccurate then it could have been, which Flow proved by his edit. Flows title let's me know exactly if the question/answer is relevant for me the original title didn't. – Albin Jul 18 '18 at 9:58
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    @Ramhound I understand, but what does it matter if 1, 3 or 50 people agree on rejecting the edit if it's for the wrong reason? – Albin Jul 18 '18 at 9:59

While I agree with your point in your answer of "Every edit improving a post should get accepted." the problem is that what constitutes an improvement is a subjective thing.

Just changing the phrasing of a title may not qualify as an "improvement" to a great deal of people. Yes, you changed the title to a complete grammatically correct question, but was it unclear or ambiguous to begin with? Not really as it was succinctly stating the topic of the problem.

This is also why we have the requirement of 3 people to review suggested edits. Group consensus rather than individual.

Many "old" users of Super User and the review queues still remember the old reject reason of "too minor" which stated

This edit is too minor; suggested edits should be substantive improvements addressing multiple issues in the post.

Back in the day this was an effective training that we should be rejecting these sorts of minor edits. That reason is gone now, but there has been little in the way of trying to pull people back away from that trained behaviour. Many still believe that edits should be substantive and useful and not cause unnecessary churn on the front page.

Granted on high volume sites like Stack Overflow edit churn is quickly lost in in the torrent of questions on the front page, but on lower volume sites it can make people wonder "why in the neck was this dragged back up" and leave them questioning whether the change really was an improvement at all as the cost of dragging it up weighs against the benefit of the edit.

To address your final sentence

Trivial edits are discouraged, but that does not mean that you have to reject them.

Not every user has the free time to click the "improve" or "reject and edit" buttons either. Many users are contributing a few spare moments of their time inbetween other things and even patrolling the suggested edit queue is an appreciated and commendable use of their time. If we lost all the people checking the queues in their brief spare moments then I suspect the queues would be significantly longer as a result.

Rejecting an edit is valid if it results in no quantifiable gain and trivial edits are generally rejected for a good reason. Just because you don't like seeing your edits rejected isn't a good reason.

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  • "…but was it unclear or ambiguous to begin with?" I think so yes. The title was previously essentially just "DNS and Authoritative Answer bit", it was not apparent what the exact question was. After the improving edit, it was. Sadly the edit got rejected. – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 9:55
  • "That reason is gone now" And there is a good reason it is one. – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 9:55
  • "…and not cause unnecessary churn on the front page." If this is really considered a problem by the majority, then it shouldn't be used as argument to reject good edits. Instead edits simply should not cause posts to get bumped on the front page. – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 9:55
  • "Not every user has the free time to click the 'improve' or 'reject' and 'edit' buttons either." That is a argument to use the 'accept' button in my eyes. If the edit does improve the text, why not? And if in doubt there is always the 'Skip' button. – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 9:55
  • "Just because you don't like seeing your edits rejected isn't a good reason." Granted, I was affected by this. But this merely caused me to realize that it appears that many edits on superuser get rejected for no good reason. I am for example unlikely going to edit again until edits that improve a post are generally accepted. – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 9:56
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    @mokubai Thanks for the explanation. But I think one problem is the absolutism of the decision of the reviewers. If I think my edit was substantial, I should be able to make a case. If I correct the most important sentence in an answer, that makes it better understandable the edit is substantial. There is there actually a "rule" I have to correct all the mistakes including the minor mistakes? (PS. same thing goes for closing questions etc.) – Albin Jul 15 '18 at 10:29
  • @Ramhound the discussion about the post in question is taking place in the comments of the question, could I refer you to my explanation there? – Albin Jul 18 '18 at 10:05

Edits should make a post better. But what does "better" mean? It isn't a simple matter.

At one extreme, take a canonical post that gets heavy, ongoing traffic and contributes a really good question or answer. A single typo may be glaring and detract from every use. Polishing such a post with a minor fix can contribute value to the site.

At the other extreme, take a garbage post that not only contributes nothing of value, but also contains extensive errors of spelling, grammar, etc. Maybe it's a rant, or a completely misguided answer. Fixing all of the English mistakes still won't make it a useful post, so it isn't really an improvement.

Take another example, say a trivial question from 7 years ago that was of interest to only a few people and received an answer. But the matter is no longer relevant, and the thread has been buried and inactive since the day it was written. Someone does a search on a bad grammar pattern or common typo, looking for posts to polish, and stumbles across that thread. They could polish the heck out of it, turning it into pristine English, but the thread is no longer of use to anyone. Is it worth the time of three reviewers to review the edits, or worth bumping it to the main page where it will take oxygen from current questions?

One more example--a question that is closed or on-hold. Any edit automatically puts it in the reopen queue where five people will need to spend time reviewing the question to see whether it merits reopening. If an edit fixes things like spelling and grammar, but doesn't address the closure issue, a lot of people will waste time reviewing a question that will have better English when it is deleted. That isn't really an improvement.

"Better" should be from a site perspective, not just the text in the abstract.

Also, we get questions where the author has obviously not invested any effort before coming here asking other people to invest their time responding. Those questions aren't well received. If someone is going to do edits that three other people will have to spend time reviewing, the same logic should apply. They should put in the effort to fix as much as they can of what is needed. The push-back is generally when extensive fixes are obviously needed, but the editor just does a few items of low-hanging fruit.

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  • You make a lot of assumptions, I could as well say that old posts are found because s.o. had the same question an needs the answer. He finds that it has some typos in the paragraphs or sentences relevant for him and corrects them. Only because those points are not relevant for the reviewer does not mean their are not relevant for this and other readers but the edit would still gets rejected. So "better" should not be a "site perspective" but a "user perspective". – Albin Jul 16 '18 at 10:22
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    @Albin, site perspective = user perspective if user perspective = the population of users. I was just showing a few examples to illustrate that "improvement" needs to be considered in a broader context than just a chunk of text in the abstract. Every case is different and reviewers need to weigh all of the relevant factors and make their best judgement. Individual judgements will differ, which is why there are multiple reviewers. – fixer1234 Jul 16 '18 at 10:32
  • yes but if I'm not mistaken, individual judgement is not always applied, for example: superuser.com/review/suggested-edits/773037 the edit was substantial because it made the headline (in my view the most important part of the post because it is used for shortcuts in "related" etc.) "more accurate" in terms of "more specific" (not as broad). – Albin Jul 16 '18 at 10:46
  • @Ramhound Thanks for bringing up that specific case. I was thinking of doing so myself as an example of incorrect approvals by users, the issues it causes and the fact that reviewers don't always have time to attempt major reject and edits. I also wanted to illustrate that I often come back to my rejected edits when I have more time and improve them outside the queue. And also to show that despite my best efforts I still couldn't quite completely clarify the question without possible changing the OP's intent. But then I thought that that would just be adding more fuel to the fire ;-) … – robinCTS Jul 17 '18 at 13:53
  • @Ramhound Btw, how did you manage to find that particular review? (And check out the next two edits done to the question.) – robinCTS Jul 17 '18 at 13:53
  • @Ramhound the discussion about the post in question is taking place in the comments of the question, could I refer you to my explanation there? I don't understand the reason for you're comment on "high standards", did I suggest in your view that I doubt "high standards"? – Albin Jul 18 '18 at 10:04

I think that is the result of a mindset which robinCTS nicely demonstrates in this answer:

As a side note, suggested edits also need to be substantive. So, for example, if the only issue with a post is the typo "teh" (should have been "the"), a suggested edit to fix that will be rejected. (The underlying reason has to do with wasting reviewers' time and bumping the question to the top of the Questions Page, as explained further down.)

This reasoning is flawed. If the typo is the only flaw of the post, the edit should simply get accepted, as you do not safe any time by pressing rejected. If there are more flaws, consider improving the edit, someone will eventually have to do it anyway later. And if the reviewer improved the edit, then this is not "wasting the reviewers' time".

The stats of the three users given above indicate that they try to educate the users to only perform complete substantial edits. It is wishful thinking that this will cause the desired result. Most editors are not able to spot all mistakes and flaws of a post. This restrictive approach will cause frustration and drive away potential contributors.

Every edit improving a post should get accepted. The edit should simply get improved if there are more things to improve. Reject only if it is obviously a destructive change. Trivial edits are discouraged, but that does not mean that you have to reject them.

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  • I am not aware that such a rule exists anywhere within the stackexchange network. I believe that this is policy is followed by a small but active superuser reviwers group for the false reasons. Eventually, I fear, causing harm to the community by driving away contributors. – Flow Jul 15 '18 at 10:42
  • In regards to your answer (not the comment): Yes I agree, the reject/approve system is used subjectively. It does discourage from improving post, but that is exactly what "they" want. BUT: the main reasoning behind it is fear that it might get abused. But so far no one has presented any data to support this decision. The combination of a subjective decision and fear usually does bring out very good results: it might avoid abuse (which might be good) but it definitely does hold back improvements (which is definitely bad). – Albin Jul 15 '18 at 10:52

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