I noticed that a question had been posted with an egregious spelling error in its title. A low-rep user had submitted a proposed edit to correct the spelling error. Had there been no proposed edit in the queue, I could have simply corrected the spelling. However, because there was a pending edit from a user without edit privileges, all I could do was cast an "approve vote."

This seems utterly bizarre: if I have rights to edit posts unilaterally without approval, shouldn't I still have rights to approve low-rep users' edits unilaterally as well?

Unless someone tells me that this change is by design, I'm calling it a bug.

2 Answers 2


This seems utterly bizarre: if I have rights to edit posts unilaterally without approval, shouldn't I still have rights to approve low-rep users' edits unilaterally as well?


And you do. Just click "Improve" when reviewing the edit, make some minor change (or lots of major changes, if the edit you're approving didn't go far enough), and click Save Edits. The pending edit will be approved instantly, and your edit submitted immediately after.

Of course, your name is on the post now, but that shouldn't matter if the edit was a good one.

Reviewers are lamentably unaccountable for their actions in the current system; someone making a bad edit - either directly, or via a suggestion - gets their name in the revision history and below the post itself, while the folks who reviewed the suggestion remain several clicks away. I kinda suspect this has led to more than a little sloppiness, hence the change.

  • 2
    Fair enough - thanks for helping us understand the reasoning behind the change! Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 5:23
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    Thanks for the explanation, even though it looks like another case of treating the symptoms instead of the disease. Perhaps there could instead be a penalty system for bad edits that get rolled back. Say 5% of the approver's rep. That might make people a little more careful. Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 6:53
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    @JohnGardeniers Your proposed punishment system is a reaction to the symptoms, it's still not a "solution to the problem". The problem is that we're dealing with the Public. Unless you want to make SE a closed community you're never going to change the fact that half of users are below average intelligence/responsibility/respect...
    – Chris S
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 13:16
  • @Chris, I disagree (with the first sentence only). By punishing the perpetrators we would in fact be dealing with the disease. Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 3:22

What has recently changed is

2012-10-16: The number of reviews required to accept/reject suggested edits has been increased to two Network wide (versus 1 before) and three on Stack Overflow. (versus 2 before) Moderators can still cast final vote like before

As I understand it, in particular the edit reviews on SO were appalling with even blatant spam getting through so the problem has been 'fixed' network wide.

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    This might have something to do with StackExchange having extended review privileges to low-rep users, but that's a separate issue. It still makes no sense to me that a user with editing privileges can no longer approve an edit that he/she would have been able to make without approval.
    – Skyhawk
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 7:09
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    @MilesErickson: You need 2k to review suggested edits which is the same as editing privilege. It's just more of the same we have a problem on SO we can fix with a hammer.
    – user9517
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 7:22
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    The situation had got pretty bad, even here on SF I've seen numerous bad edits come through (heck, one of my own Answers got an ed-suggest with blatant spam, approved by someone who really should have known better). One thing they pull were stats for how long people looked at ed-suggests before approving; something like 90% were <5 second, and a notable number were <2 seconds (it takes the page most of a second to load the suggestion, so people were/are approving based on ~1 second of reviewing)! The core problem is still there; just masked a bit by requiring multiple people to screw up.
    – Chris S
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 13:43
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    @ChrisS That's quite amazing. Are people reviewing and approving edits so fast because they're trying to rack up completed review tasks and earn badges? If that's the case, it sounds like we might be incentivizing inappropriate behavior.
    – Skyhawk
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 23:17
  • @MilesErickson yes, that is the case. Lots of discussions on meta.so about it.
    – smcg
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 15:55
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    Then take away the badges. Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 0:05
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    This has nothing to do with SO (SO has required multiple approvals for a long time now) or badges (the complaints regarding sloppy approvals predate both the badges and the new format).
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 4:36

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