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https://ell.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/100816

This edit'd have fixed at least one typo in the original question. Seems two reviewers both missed it.

It is not easy for low-rep users to make edits due to the character count requirement. That is why a lot of proposed edits submitted for review seem to contain unnecessary changes. Their heart's in the right place, in most cases that I have seen. And I consider these edits valuable contributions to posts and to the community at large.

I understand the frustration a new contributor, keen to participate, faces trying to see their input make a difference. Brings me back to the days when I had the same kind of frustration. A lot of us have been there.

Why was my edit rejected, although I consider it substantial?

Not long after I first started submitting edit suggestions as a new user, I noticed a tendency here that edit suggestions addressing typos or minor grammar issues would most likely be rejected. The rationale behind it appears to be that minor issues in a post do not affect its readability. While that may be true, there is still a need to tidy up a post when a noticeable typo is in the title or the OP's made some obvious mistakes and meant to say something else. "Substantial" is not really a good litmus, because more often than not it could be subjective. A contribution in the right direction is a contribution, regardless of its character count.

Another oft-used explanation is that "we need to keep grammar errors in the question to evaluate OP's English proficiency." Well, it doesn't hold water. First, I doubt many users actually spend a lot of time gauging the questioner's English level before posting an answer. I have seen answers addressing really rudimentary things under a question about highly technical grammar. Second, some askers are happy to see their mistakes corrected, as they can learn from the corrections made to their post.

I am glad to see a possible shift away from this pattern in recent reviews. Rather than requiring all reviewers to follow the established "tradition", I think it is time we considered whether the stern, cookie-cutter reject is really a good policy.

More importantly, new users eager to make their contributions should not be discouraged! When you are a new member in a group and you try to leave a footprint in the community, it could be very disheartening to see your input, helpful albeit perhaps inconsiderable, rejected. It could feel like being given the cold shoulder, at least I felt that way occasionally when I was new here.

I am suggesting we make it easier for new users to feel welcomed and helped, and to feel their contributions useful and effective. I have brought this up in chat and here on Meta several times, and I am putting my foot down. I wish I were better-versed in psychology and communitarianism, but I am confident that there are terms and theory in psychology that explain how minor frustration, disapproval, rejection lead one away from a community.

The character change requirement in place makes sense because it prevents repeated minor edits from random users. But new users should not feel their suggestions/contributions are slighted or unwanted as a result.

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  • Do you have evidence that this is a pattern, or was just on that question? – CJ Dennis Feb 17 at 6:56
  • @CJDennis I need some time to review past reviews. Since it is very common for meta posts to be revisited and revised years later, I guess it wouldn't be too much to ask if I come back in a few weeks/months with evidence. – Eddie Kal Feb 17 at 6:58
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Suggested edits have a required number of characters that must be changed before they can be submitted. Rewording the title so that someone can make a suggested edit to correct one character was correctly rejected as a trivial edit. It was not an oversight (at least on my part).

The user had enough reputation to leave a comment about the typo for the author, or they could have made a more substantial edit that improved the post rather than just rearranged it (although the question probably should be closed due to lack of detail instead), or they could have left it for someone with enough reputation to edit without peer review to fix.

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  • Well since it wasn't an oversight, I would've at least chosen to "reject and edit." Catching typos and putting in the meritorious effort to correct them should not be discouraged. – Eddie Kal Feb 3 at 21:11
  • @EddieKal That’s not easy to do from a phone, the typo didn’t really impact anyone’s ability to understand the question, and I didn’t want to expend the effort. The typo was in the title and I was confident it would get fixed eventually. – ColleenV Feb 3 at 23:02
  • I beg to differ. Post updated. – Eddie Kal Feb 4 at 0:55
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TL;DR: An edit should only contain improvements.


As the other reviewer who rejected the edit it was my view that changing "What is the difference between X and Y" to "X vs. Y" was less meaningful. "X vs. Y" can mean almost anything. Which one is better? Which one is used more? Which one do you like? Which one would win in a fight? etc.

What is the difference between "everything we studied before/earlier" and "evrything we have studied before/earlier"?

"Everything we studied before/earlier" vs. "Everything we have studied before/earlier"?

Yes, there was a one letter typo that would have been improved, but not enough to approve the edit as a whole. Had I rejected and edited, the original editor still would have received no benefit from their efforts.

Tiny typos like that can be addressed as comments (after all, that's what comments are for: to improve the question) and the OP can edit their question since the minor edit limit doesn't apply to them.

Note that the original title was:

"Everything we studied before", "everything we have studied before", "everything we studied earlier" and "everything we have studied earlier"?

The OP edited the title themselves before the edit suggestion and substantially improved it in my opinion.

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    "An edit should only contain improvements." Well that is exactly why "improve" and "reject and edit" have been designed and made available to reviewers. "Tiny typos like that can be addressed as comments." ColleenV also mentioned comments as a way to address typos. But I fail to see how that could be a reason for simply rejecting an edit and leaving typos unimproved. How is that a practical review option? – Eddie Kal Feb 17 at 6:37
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    @EddieKal The edit made the post worse by six words in my opinion. That shouldn't be rewarded because of a one character improvement. – CJ Dennis Feb 17 at 6:40
  • Like Colleen I was going through the review queue. I volunteer my time here so I'm free to spend it on what I want. In the end you made the change yourself so I don't see the harm done. I fix a lot of errors that I see but I don't have the time to fix all of them. – CJ Dennis Feb 17 at 6:44
  • Simple solution: reject and edit. Um, didn't you mean "like Colleen and you"? Have I not been doing the same thing (going through the review queue and volunteering my time)? – Eddie Kal Feb 17 at 6:44
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    @EddieKal I don't have to reject and edit. If I choose to it's my business. If I'd done it, what would have been left for you to do? :-) – CJ Dennis Feb 17 at 6:47
  • You can think of it as ROI. The ROI for clicking "Reject" was large. The ROI for clicking "Reject and edit" was small. Also, I'm not perfect. If I miss a correction, it's perfectly acceptable for another editor to correct it after me. – CJ Dennis Feb 17 at 6:53
  • That sounds nonsensical and borderline ad hominem. What does that have to do with me or what I need to do? Let us review your argument shall we? You argue the suggested edit -- an act we shall name A -- made the title worse. I suggest (B) reject and edit. You argue you didn't have to do B because (C) commenting is available. Well the availability of C doesn't invalidate B. I don't know logic well, but that is a logical fallacy. – Eddie Kal Feb 17 at 6:53
  • I didn't have to do (B) because nothing says I have to do (B). – CJ Dennis Feb 17 at 6:55
  • Simple: "Skip" is also an option. – Eddie Kal Feb 17 at 6:56
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – CJ Dennis Feb 17 at 6:57

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