Over the last few days a user (G-Man) is rejecting some of my edits. Obviously, I have nothing against him (you can’t always agree with everyone) and I only wish to understand why and move on.

First of allow me to say that I love improving content, whatever that is. Which is one of the reasons I really enjoy editing posts and answers. I like to believe am doing what’s best for the posts and for the people reading them.

Moving on to the actual suggested edits. Here are 3 examples:

  1. The first one is what I consider to be the cleanest and most straight-forward edit I can possibly think of. G-Man obviously disagrees, but since his standard comment doesn’t apply to this edit (at least I think it doesn’t), I’m left wondering.

  2. Another example is this. Here, the truth is, I could have done better, but still I look at it as an improvement over the original post. In this situation he rejected it, but, went on correcting it, to what he thought was suitable. I agree with his changes, but I also think that having both of them would have been better. Maybe am wrong, I don’t know.

  3. The third and last example is this. It’s another basic edit that I considered to be fine. I added a few newlines, syntax highlighting and corrected a spelling mistake. Like I said in my comment, minor improvements. In this case I think he considers the edit to be superfluous. I’m not going to argue that it’s not, that’s for the reader to decide, but my ocd (metaphorically speaking) wouldn’t let me press “No Action Needed”. I also consider syntax highlighting a pretty compelling reason to edit a post, but, to be fair, in this case it doesn’t improve readability all that match, if at all, since it’s just one plain color.


  • This post doesn’t refer to G-Man alone. He just happens to be the example that I have.

  • If am over-analyzing this, please let me know.

  • If I am offending G-Man in any way, that’s NOT my intention, as am only here to learn. He has accepted a couple of my edits and also rejected some others that I considered to be fair and actually helped me understand the system better.

  • Am only posting this because it’s becoming a habit and I want to sort this out now rather than later. After all the system predicts that, which is why it requires 2 people to agree/disagree for an edit to get published or not.

My question: What’s the course of action when you think someone is being unjust?

In general the way I see it it’s to:

  1. accept different opinions (or human mistakes, for that matter) and move on
  2. understand what went wrong so you won't repeat the same mistakes.
  • 3
    Quick answer: this is the course of action. Exactly what you did: posting a calm, constructive question on meta. Thank you! I hope G-Man will answer since obviously they're best placed to explain their rationale. If not, I will try and post something later myself.
    – terdon Mod
    Jul 10, 2020 at 11:41
  • 4
    I don't have a complete picture yet, but one quick comment to reviewers/approvers: if the initial edit is in the right direction, "approve and edit" instead of "reject and edit" so that it sends the right message back to the initial editor.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Jul 10, 2020 at 12:00
  • 10
    "behaviour" is very much not a spelling mistake! In the second case, they definitely should have used "Accept + edit", like Jeff says. For the rest, the canned reject reason says "completely superfluous", but e.g. the note when suggesting an edit says "try to make the post substantially better". There's some gray area between those, and not everyone is too happy to see very minor edit suggestions. They're not totally free: they take time from reviewers and pop up the question in the front page, possibly taking focus from other posts.
    – ilkkachu
    Jul 11, 2020 at 0:57
  • 2
    Good question, keep it up!.
    – user232326
    Jul 11, 2020 at 5:18
  • @ilkkachu it seems you are right about behaviour. Sorry about that. Also, as you can see, in the first edit the answer is so me minuscule that any edits can't be substantially better at least without changing the answer. In general, I do try improving a post as much as I can, but it's not always possible. Maybe you are right. Perhaps I should only improve a post when I can do so significantly. In any case, I'll make sure to keep your last point in mind when editing in the future.
    – Rayleigh
    Jul 11, 2020 at 8:14
  • 1
    @Rayleigh, now, I'm not sure what the best course of action is re. minor edits (and can't speak for others as to why they review like they do). But what I mentioned is one possible factor that can affect it. I feel your pain too, I sometimes see posts in the HNQ with confusing titles or other lack of clarity, and post a (in my opinion) well-thought and well-explained edit, just to get it rejected for "does not improve/conflicts with author's intent".
    – ilkkachu
    Jul 11, 2020 at 11:38
  • @Rayleigh About that post in your first edit, yes, it's lacking any explanation as to why that would work, and looks like just something thrown against the wall to see if it'll stick. (On a three-year old question, no less.) I'm not sure if I'm being too brutal here, but it looks like it'd warrant a downvote more than an edit.
    – ilkkachu
    Jul 11, 2020 at 11:45
  • IMO #2 was an improvement, and reject sends the wrong message. #3's canned comment is very unfriendly and harsh and poorly fits and goes very much against all this welcoming/friendly dialogue being bandied about these days. I guess #1 deserves the harsh message a bit more, but OMW, really, can't we be a bit more helpful to people learning the ropes without smashing them on the rocks?
    – kbulgrien
    Jul 16, 2020 at 18:53
  • BTW, @Rayleigh Kudos for posting this. Canned answers and quick trigger rejects like that stopped my edits, etc. after I spent a lot of time and effort on, and that I am positive improved the content significantly, and I felt certain the reviewer didn't actually cognate on it, but saw the extent of the edit and misjudged it completely. I certainly didn't feel I had an advocate at the time, and so kind of just decided it just wasn't worth putting out effort that is so easily snuffed out.
    – kbulgrien
    Jul 16, 2020 at 19:23
  • Edit #1 at least is valuable and better to have than not have. Calling out the actual commands formatted like that is incredibly helpful when looking for info.
    – Orangutech
    Sep 18, 2021 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


I'd like to give a little feedback; I (obviously?) don't speak for G-Man or anyone else.

First: thank you for helping to improve the site! I still remember the days of getting +2 reputation from finding and improving a post. Between those edits and your well-received answers, you're well on your way to 2k reputation, where you won't need approvals for the edits.

Suggested edit summaries can be a tough place to explain your reasons for changing a post, but as someone under 2k reputation, I'd encourage you to go the extra mile there, since the next two reviewers see that note and you can help frame your edit positively.

Next, since your (<2k) reviews have to go through a review process, consider approaching questions that you can obviously (or substantially) improve. Perhaps bookmark (or follow) the other posts for when you get past the 2k mark. That way, there's less frustration on everyone's part.

Next, I'd like to thank you for your careful, even-keeled response on Meta here. That's the best thing you can do in your situation, since it's not easy to communicate back to the reviewers. Some of those reviewers visit the /dev/chat chat room, so that's one more possibility. It's good that you're able to step back and look at the bigger picture and ask how you should proceed forward. A Meta post that asks for help is a great way to get everyone's (*) opinions.

*Everyone that visits Meta and decides to Answer, that is!

I think you're on the right track with:

  • accept different opinions (or human mistakes, for that matter) and move on and
  • understand what went wrong so you want repeat the same mistakes.

I won't dive into the details of the specific reviews with this answer, but I will repeat my comment for reviewers: if the initial edit is in the right direction, "approve and edit" instead of "reject and edit" so that it sends the right message back to the initial editor.

  • 1
    While I agree with the "I think you're on the right track" comment, this answer really does not address the core issue. The canned messages are almost certain to be off-putting to any sensible person. Something should be said to that. Not diving into the details feels like a cop-out. The reviewer should be on that right track you commended Rayleigh for, and it shouldn't be left unsaid. I know you kind of did with the "approve and edit" instead of "reject and edit" but its unfortunate it was said mostly as an afterthought. I guess at least you said it would end at 2K...
    – kbulgrien
    Jul 16, 2020 at 19:35
  • @kbulgrien, as a guess, based on what I've seen about how SE works: changing the canned messages would require a network-wide change to the whole of SE, which would require requesting it on meta.stackexchange, and if it got a positive response there, the ETA for the actual change to happen would be something on the order of two years. (Unless someone posted a well-targeted Twitter post, then it would perhaps happen in two weeks.)
    – ilkkachu
    Jul 19, 2020 at 22:22
  • 1
    @ilkkachu, then I find it very, very ironic that those messages are defined by stackexchange, and yet they have initiated the "be friendly and welcoming" project. Ironic, in that those messages are far from friendly and welcoming. They don't even try to allow for either a reviewer to have made a bad call or for a reviewee to reach a clearer understanding of what the network wants and does not want without feeling slammed. That Rayleigh posted the question is proof of that.
    – kbulgrien
    Jul 21, 2020 at 14:51
  • @kbulgrien I've just become aware of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/346901/…, which you may be interested in.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Jul 22, 2020 at 1:05
  • @kbulgrien, I may have referred to some events that happened last fall, and there may have been a bit of frustrated sarcasm in the comment.
    – ilkkachu
    Jul 23, 2020 at 19:46
  • @JeffSchaller thanks, though I note that it was already an old question, and so contributions to it when it is over a month old seem to largely go unnoticed.
    – kbulgrien
    Aug 4, 2020 at 16:05

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