Here is the edit in question. It was rejected for the reason

This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability.

As I said in the title, it doesn't seem superfluous to me to fix typos and grammar. What's wrong with this edit?

  • Thanks for asking about this on Meta. I have given my reasoning for rejecting, which I hope makes sense. @Run5k may also chime in with their thoughts as the other reviewer in this instance. – bertieb Mar 31 at 22:26
  • @bertieb already authored a perfect summary of my thought process. Please, don't get me wrong: we truly appreciate your time and effort! However, this particular effort wasn't quite ideal, as described below. – Run5k Apr 1 at 13:54
  • This just looks like a random screwup. Just two people happened to vote the wrong way, and poof. Maybe they were reviewing many items in a queue, just spent a second on this and called it the wrong way. – Kaz Apr 3 at 7:18
  • @Kaz Though modesty may prevent them from pointing it out, Run5k is the top edit queue reviewer, who frequently and politely discusses both edits and how they are reviewed. My decision was deliberate as explained in my answer. – bertieb Apr 3 at 8:51
  • @Kaz - I doubt the reviewers declined this edit by mistake. I would have also declined the original proposal. – Ramhound Apr 3 at 19:17

I see that you tried again, and your suggestion was approved this time.  But, please, when you see a non-inlined image like

[enter image description here][1]

don’t change it to

![image description](image URL)
change it to
[![image description][1]][1]
so a user can click on the image displayed in the Super User page and go directly to the image on i.stack.imgur.com.  If you break this down (by adding spaces):
[     ![ image description ] [ 1 ]     ]  [ 1 ]
you can see that it is the basic link markdown:
[     link text     ]  [ num ]
where the link text is
![ image description ] [ num ]
i.e., an image.  This has been the default Markdown when you insert an image through the Super User / Stack Exchange GUI for nearly four years now.  Reference: Images should be automatically rescaled and the full size linked or put into a lightbox.

(Getting a little off-topic here: images can be used in lots of places where text can be used: e.g., in <kbd> Markdown (), superscripts (x) and subscripts (x).)

But do keep on looking at the image and inserting a description of it, as you did in the above edit.

  • Okay. I'll remember that. – timotree Apr 1 at 20:46
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    Interesting, I wasn't aware of that syntax for making a link you can click on to show a full size image. Thanks! – jrh Apr 2 at 12:05
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    @jrh I wasn't either, when I first started editing questions to inline images. Somebody had to intercept me in the comments on somebody's question to tell me to look into it further. IMO this is DEFINITELY info that should be at the editing help page, or somewhere easily accessible. I had to google some markdown cheat sheets and compare with edit histories on other questions to work it out for myself. – Alex M Apr 2 at 17:12
  • @jrh: See my edited answer. P.S. Speaking of images, you’ve got a neat identicon (profile picture).  Is that a real photograph?  Do you know what caused it? – Scott Apr 2 at 20:39
  • @Scott It's just a picture I had in my images folder on my computer, it's fake, but I thought it was cool anyway. – jrh Apr 2 at 22:07
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    @jrh Here's a Meta post about the syntax of the image links. This Meta SU post explains how to control thumbnail sizes, and more info about that is here on Imgur. – Twisty Impersonator Apr 5 at 16:56
  • Unfortunately, the "Large Thumbnail" mode seems not to work any more — it just gives to the full-size image. – Scott Apr 7 at 17:48

Spelling and grammar edits are always useful and should be encouraged, not rejected for not being more substantive. If someone is willing to take the time to make the content here more readable, we shouldn't throw away their effort just because there is more that could have been done to the post.

I do understand the impulse of the reviewer. Because low-rep users get a 2-point bump for accepted edits, there is an issue with silly minor edits being suggested solely for the easy rep. However, if there is a good-faith effort to improve the readability of the post, as in this case, reviewers should accept or improve the edit.

That said, some of the convoluted reasoning I'm seeing bandied in support of rejecting edits makes me think we need to take a moment to revisit first principles.

Why is there a suggested edits review queue in the first place?

All edits suggested by sub-2,000-rep users are placed in the review queue. What would happen if these edits were not reviewed before being published?

Well, there are a number of possible bad outcomes:

  • Posts could be vandalized, by insertion and/or deletion.
  • New users could change the entire meaning of posts and even make them incorrect or inaccurate.
  • Spammers could surreptitiously insert promotional or malignant links into random posts.
  • Editors could introduce new spelling/grammatical/formatting errors to posts that make them harder to read.
  • New users could mistakenly use edits to post a new question or answer.

Without a review queue, all these changes would remain as long as no one flagged them or fixed them. This could be very bad for the site's content.

Notice that this list of very bad outcomes does not include a user fixing one or two things in a post with lots of problems. That's because the outcome of this is a marginal good, not harm to the site or its content.

While the primary purpose of the review queue is to prevent harmful edits, there is an additional knock-on effect of the review queue as well -- posts that low-rep users have identified as having problems are guaranteed to be seen by at least one high-rep user. Ideally, after the high-rep user has reviewed the post and the suggested changes, the published final product will be in good shape (or will be closed/deleted if the problems go beyond editing). In other words, once a post is identified as having problems, it will be fixed -- either by the original editor, by the reviewer, or by some combination of the two. Posts that leave the review queue should not need to come back for more.

Now, suppose the reviewer has a different philosophy of reviewing suggested edits than I do -- where edits must be complete OR ELSE. It's pretty clear what the "else" should be: the reviewer should fix the remaining problems with the post.

There are two ways for the reviewer to do this:

  • Improve Post (pat on the back: I'll take it from here), or
  • Reject and Edit (angry finger wag: Why are you making me do this?).

In either case, the post is fixed when it leaves the review queue. Please try to keep this in mind when reviewing suggested edits.

  • 3
    If every edit that only addresses some of the issues in a contribution is improved, we will only get incomplete edit proposals, better to only improve substantial edit proposals to contributions. Is it wrong to only accept the best of the best, and provide a well thought out explanation, for those few edit proposals that are the borderline case? – Ramhound Apr 3 at 19:19
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    To answer your question, yes, it is wrong to only accept "the best of the best". The purpose of the edit review queue isn't to establish some strange editing meritocracy. It's there to prevent destructive edits. – Excellll Apr 4 at 13:28
  • I'm with you that helpful edits should be approved without requiring that they fix "everything". However, not in-lining an image is unhelpful. Someone has to do that and that someone should be the first editor that sees the task. Rejecting this edit provided valuable training feedback to the OP on this point. – Twisty Impersonator Apr 5 at 16:51
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    @TwistyImpersonator That's why there's an Improve Edit option in the review queue (or Reject and Edit if you're a hardcore finger-wagger). Once it enters the review queue, at least one more person is going to view the post for editorial reasons. I really don't care who makes the sum total of the edits, just that the needed edits are made. For an item that needs edits to make its way out of the review queue unfixed is a problem, but that problem does not start with the original editor. It comes from the reviewers mishandling the review. – Excellll Apr 5 at 20:32
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    Your expanded version of this answer is excellent as it explains very well the harm done by rejecting edits that improve the post, even if that improvement isn't "perfect." Well said. – Twisty Impersonator Apr 8 at 22:00
  • 1. So the bottom line: if the post doesn't warrant closing/deletion, then accept the edit, accept and improve it, or reject and improve it. But if it still needs work and you (reviewer) aren't willing to do it, skip it and let someone else do it rather than rejecting? +1 for that. 2. One other purpose of the review queue is to provide feedback to new users so they can learn the expectations and develop good habits. If their good faith effort fails miserably at improving the post in a meaningful way, just accepting the edit isn't really helping anyone. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Apr 9 at 1:34
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    The editor may also be unaware of your improvement if you accept and improve. We want to encourage users to participate, but sometimes rejecting near-useless edits has a long-term payoff. – fixer1234 Apr 9 at 1:34
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    @fixer1234 Your second point is fine. I understand the benefit of teaching would-be editors to be thorough. In cases where the post has genuine readability problems, trivial edits can be rejected, but by all means, the reviewer should reject AND edit. – Excellll Apr 9 at 14:13
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    If other reviewers always fix the problems missed by other editors, if it’s the same editor (over and over again) that has their edits rejected they will eventually be unable to make edit suggestions. You can be suspended from making edit proposals just like you can be suspended from making review queues decisions if you fail to many audits. We want discussions like this about an edit proposal. We don’t want to wait until their edits are rejected and improved all the time. We want the proper edits in the first place (IMO) – Ramhound Apr 10 at 22:11

First of all, thank you for taking the time to propose edit suggestions to posts on Super User. Your suggestion history shows that many have been accepted, which has been in line with the edits of yours I have reviewed. It's good that you want to learn more about why this one was rejected.

Most of what you changed was reasonable. You left the title alone, moved around the intro sentence around, changed 'pluged' to 'plugged' and added a question mark. You also made a couple of minor phrasing changes which were reasonable as well, though it was not a huge difference. However...

The proposed edit was not substantial enough as it omitted the most important change, inlining OP's image

The image which OP provided but could not inline in the post due to insufficient reputation should be present. If you could only make one change to a post, this is the one to make, as it makes the information immediately available in the post without having to open a link. I rejected the proposed edit on the basis that this should be done first and foremost - you have been with us on Super User for some time and as such have the reputation to do so.

This is one of the bullet points on the editing help page:

Edits are expected to be substantial and to leave the post better than you found it. Common reasons for edits include:

  • To add related resources or hyperlinks

in addition to the other reasons, fixing spelling and grammar issues - as you did - included.

You could have made some other changes to the post, such as shortening the title or otherwise tidying it up. You might also have changed the tags, and a line break or two may aid readability.

I hope this doesn't put you off proposing edits! You have correctly asked a reasonable question about one of your proposed edits, and this should give you a way to make future edit suggestions even better.

  • 33
    isn't it the correct approach to accept and improve the edit suggestion, instead of rejecting the whole edit suggestion? – Vylix Apr 1 at 8:08
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    @Vylix that is an acceptable approach too, of course. However, my understanding is that an 'improved edit' does not generate a rejection for the proposing user; as such, there is no learning opportunity like the one here, barring the small-but-percentage who review their own accepted edit suggestions. Neither approach is perfect - and the discussion around both has been had elsewhere - but I would support those who adopted either :) – bertieb Apr 1 at 10:23
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    "An 'improved edit' does not generate a rejection for the proposing user." What about "reject and edit"? Also this is kinda nitpicking here but IMO this is "accept and edit" territory, I found the previous version of the question almost incomprehensible. – jrh Apr 1 at 19:50
  • @jrh That would also be a reasonable way of going about it too, yes :) – bertieb Apr 2 at 11:03
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    -1, because I disagree with the suggested edit getting rejected; it looks constructive to me. – Nat Apr 2 at 13:27
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    The idea that correcting spelling, punctuation, and/or grammatical errors is "not substantial enough" is absurd. Letting those errors stand degrades quality. Fixing them is always worth it. – Monty Harder Apr 2 at 19:45
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    Some reasonable points being made. Those who review edit suggestions fall somewhere between two extremes: even the most trivial improvement should be approved since it improves the post; and everything that can possibly be improved must be improved. Each has its justifications. When I first started submitting edit suggestions I fell quite close to the former; but some judicious rejections with appropriate explanations from those more experienced helped me propose better edits. I hope that I can help others too- that's the main reason I participate in Q&A! – bertieb Apr 2 at 23:48
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    To put it another way, I take the view that the review proposed edits queue can serve a dual purpose: to make edits better, and to make editors better :) – bertieb Apr 2 at 23:50
  • It's okay to admit you screwed up. The edit was rejected by the votes of just reviewers; it's basically a random accident. – Kaz Apr 3 at 7:16
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    @Kaz I appreciate the views of the community but I stand by my review as I have explained in my answer. To suggest it was a 'random accident' or 'random screwup' implies that either you don't believe what I've written or haven't read my reasoning. Even if you have already, I would encourage you to read again: when folks do things differently it's a good opportunity to see why they might do so. Once you've read it, you are free to disagree, of course. – bertieb Apr 3 at 8:40
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    The reason given in this answer - that the change was not substantial enough - is not the same as the reason given at the time of rejection. "Completely superfluous" is not the same as "not substantial enough". Arguably, the edit makes the post easier to read and more accessible. Changes are not superfluous and actively improve readability. The reason given for rejecting it is therefore wrong. – bornfromanegg Apr 4 at 9:24
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    @bornfromanegg while I appreciate the reviewer taking their time to respond and their attentiveness in general, I have to concur. I'd also like to add, there's no reject reason for "incomplete edit", and from what I've seen, that's by design; Stack Exchange as a system has done everything it can think of to support minor edits (though admittedly the implementation has some issues); the "complete edit" as an accept condition is something the community made. – jrh Apr 4 at 12:07
  • @bertieb from my experience there's at least 5 types of reviewers – jrh Apr 4 at 12:10
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    Even if you rejected with the best intentions, it's hard for it to be a learning experience when the reject reason you gave isn't accurate. You state that OPs edits were reasonable, but you led with "This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read [or] more accurate.." In comments you say "judicious rejections with appropriate explanations" helped you to be a better editor - then you should be more careful selecting a rejection reason, or write a custom one to impart the knowledge you are trying to convey. (I would've hit 'Improve' and just fixed it tbh). – Robotnik Apr 5 at 1:25
  • This is getting quite extended so I will try to edit my answer and summarise my comment replies when I get a chance to make my thinking clearer. But briefly: I believe my reason was accurate- the edits suggested were not bad, but without including the image they were superfluous. I agree, the wording on the edit rejection is awkward; none of the options are strictly true and unfortunately custom reject (which I do sometimes use) also has awkward phrasing as it says "causes harm" and has limited space available to explain why. – bertieb Apr 5 at 12:08

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