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I asked a question which was somewhat popular and after some time got a very nice answer. I accepted the answer and made an edit with a fairly minor correction to the answer. My edit was rejected, and it's not clear to me why (the message is "changes too much in the original post," but it simply corrects half of a sentence). While I would welcome specifics about my edit, I don't care too much about the particular fix and I do not want to make a big deal about it.

I'm mostly wondering for the larger picture if there is a good way to avoid this situation recurring. Some possibilities:

  • Longer or more detailed and specific messages for rejected edits. The message I got looks like it was from a drop-down, and so maybe the reason did not fit nicely into a category.

  • Some system for moderators to defer to the opinion of the original author of the content that was edited, because he may be able to judge the edit more easily (being more familiar with what he wrote)

  • Some form of edits that are "unapproved" but optionally visible to users (e.g. a comment shows up below the post with my name that says "this is my revised version of what I think the above should say, but [moderator] believes it might change the author's intent").

I realize that not many edits are rejected though, so perhaps I'm in the minority here, and focus on this issue would be misplaced. I'm also not sure of the technical feasibility of any of these suggestions, and perhaps that rules some or all of them out.

Edit: In a discussion on the linked post I got some more details about the specifics of why my edit might not be preferred. Based on that it seems more likely that the problem is to do with feedback accompanying a rejected edit rather than the actual decision of whether to accept/reject (and so the first bullet would likely be the most appropriate fix).

Also, as one who hasn't edited or reviewed an edit I do not have a good feel for the bounds on the scope of edits; perhaps all other edits here have just been re-taggings and math-modes, and mine should have been a comment instead. Is this scope discussed somewhere? If not, should it be? Maybe that's the fix.

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Improving style edits are generally welcome as long as they don't change the meaning of the answer. Particularly when it is a post by a new user or it is clear the post needs improvement. I am generally more careful about approving edits to long time users as it is more likely that they know what they are doing.

In this case you changed David's words into LaTeX, that was the reason for rejecting your edits. As I understood it you were not fixing anything but changing the answer to the style you like which is not necessarily better. Generally in math literature it is advised to use math symbols as little as possible and use words instead (with the possible exception of logic articles). So it was not an improvement and it changed too much.

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    $\begingroup$ In the specific case there was also a change in meaning (which I attempted to explain in the message for my edit). After discussion with David it's apparent that he doesn't believe the change in meaning is desirable either, but the core of my question here is actually this: Is there a way that the edit reject could have been accompanied by the explanation you just provided in the first place? $\endgroup$ – William Macrae Nov 26 '12 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ Reviewers (high rep user who can review) can type costume messages, but imho it is time consuming and seldom necessary. There are a number of default options, I generally try to select the one that I think matches the case better. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Nov 26 '12 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ I guess the resolution then is that in this case it would have been helpful to have such a message, because my edit had both a change in content and a change in style, and the default did not communicate that the change in style was the objectionable part, or why. Complicating issues was that it was not obvious on reading the edit that there was a change in content, so you probably assumed it should be immediate the the style change was the bad part. $\endgroup$ – William Macrae Nov 26 '12 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I didn't notice you are changing the meaning also. However remember that when your edit is going to change the meaning without fixing a clear mistake then I think it should be suggested to the OP in a comment. Based on previous discussions it seems to me that cstheory community doesn't like significant edits to other users posts, so I seldom (if ever) approve such edits on posts by high rep long time users. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Nov 26 '12 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ I think it would be very helpful for that to be mentioned in a faq (I did look and did not see it anywhere; still possible I missed it). Also, there is a message that shows up while editing "We welcome all constructive edits, but please make them substantial. Avoid trivial, tiny one-letter edits unless absolutely necessary," which seems to not convey the same message as what you just said (though I have no doubt that your statement is much more in line with the community than that message). $\endgroup$ – William Macrae Nov 26 '12 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ We don't control those messages, they are messages used across SE network and set by them. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Nov 26 '12 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ There are a number of meta posts about this like this one. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Nov 26 '12 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ I think when a new user proposes an unfavorable edit, taking the time to explain the reason for rejection in more detail is worthwhile. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 27 '12 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ will try to do so. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Nov 30 '12 at 20:39

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