I made an edit on a low-quality answer (pretty much as a side effect while I was checking the answer for stealthy spam links and comparing it to other answers).

But a user rejected it (edit has now been approved overall) because he thinks the post is not long for this world! :

reject reason

Can we please not reject edits that improve posts -- even if the post may be ill fated?

Related: Highest scoring answer from a similar question on Meta SE

  • 4
    I cast an approve, needs one more vote.
    – Unionhawk Mod
    Jul 17, 2016 at 20:12
  • 4
    Only Schism would know what Schism was thinking. I would guess he just figured that the answer would be deleted anyways, so no point in editing it. Other users seem to disagree.
    – DJ Pirtu
    Jul 17, 2016 at 20:39
  • 3
    @DJPirtu, some feel like that ("Don't 'polish a turd'"), but a helpful edit is helpful, even if the post isn't and will (hopefully) be deleted. And sometimes the edit process is the fastest way to see if a post can be salvaged (or if it has sneaky spam link attempts). Jul 17, 2016 at 20:43
  • 13
    @Brock FWIW, don't edit out those sneaky spam links. Doing so makes it harder to spot and properly flag and delete spam, which is important for ensuring that spammers accounts are properly destroyed and spam IPs appropriately blacklisted, etc. Jul 17, 2016 at 21:54
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz, I would never edit them out. I was merely checking for them, and removed the repeated-character garbage while doing that. If it had been spam, I would've canceled the edit and flagged and commented accordingly. PS: I come to this site almost exclusively to fight spam. :) Jul 17, 2016 at 22:20
  • 6
    Clearly we need a review-queue for reviews.
    – fredley
    Jul 19, 2016 at 20:53
  • 1
    @fredley yeah because we definetly DONT have one already...… Jul 27, 2016 at 6:17
  • 1
    I would probably have rejected the edit as well - polishing those turds reduces the likelihood that they'll get deleted, which causes a net loss in quality overall. I'd leave it un-edited and flag it instead, get it removed faster.
    – JonK
    Jul 31, 2016 at 7:51
  • @fredley but the new review queue would need a new one to control it. :P
    – user143228
    Jul 31, 2016 at 17:00
  • @fredley, how about a review queue for whoever upvoted (!!) that answer?! Jul 31, 2016 at 19:26

3 Answers 3


I'm not going to comment on the post that motivated this question. I didn't even look at it, and it sounds like the edit was accepted eventually, anyway. I'll address the actual issue, instead:

Just because an answer should be deleted as it stands doesn't mean that any and all possible future versions of the answer would be deleted as well. Therefore, until the answer is deleted, any effort that anyone has gone to to improve the answer should not be discarded. If it's a good edit, approve the edit.

However, that advice is for reviewers, after the edit has been suggested. For potential editors, it's not worth your time trying to improve a post that you're sure is going to get deleted. If the basic premise is a perfectly good answer, but it lacks details, then that might be worth your time, but some answers simply can't be saved.


Oof, didn't see this until it's been voted up and I've already been vilified. Sure wish I got a ping about it. Anyway, making this a post so it can have proper replies and voting, not just comment replies and upvotes in the parent thread.

I voted a reject because the post is both effectively a duplicate of another answer, and entirely incorrect. I'm actually surprised it hasn't been deleted already.

You mention that some users have a mentality of "don't polish a turd", then dismiss that stance by claiming that a helpful edit is helpful. Sometimes that's correct, but other times it is not. On other network sites with large review backlogs, a helpful edit suggestion on a post that's about to be deleted is, in fact, not helpful. This is the same reasoning presumably behind "too minor" edits. (Granted, this isn't SO: we don't have a review backlog, so this point is much less pertinent here.)

The network post you linked to has the following paragraph:

There have been some occasions where, after editing, either myself or another user suddenly sees the hidden value in the post. In these cases, we might have lost something of value if we didn't edit first.

And indeed, you seem to cite this in your reply to psyk0:

I couldn't tell that it was the effectively same as another answer until I cleaned it up and "translated" it.

But, to be frank, just because you couldn't tell it was effectively the same doesn't mean that most people can't. I would especially expect them to be able to decipher the post if they read it after badp's post, which uses the same notation. (To be fair, they won't have read it after if they sorted by "active", but I don't know anybody who does.)

Further, in this case, after translating it and suggesting it you evidently noticed that the answer was not worth keeping. That's why you wrote a comment, after all -- and yeah, I upvoted your comment because it was relevant. But I would argue that after finding the answer of no value, and leaving a comment (and maybe flagging it for VLQ), the edit suggestion is unnecessary.

Finally, you mentioned that you should not be punished for "debatable and dubious reasons". I'd argue that while my reasons may be debatable, it's not very fair to call them dubious when I only have a 50 character limit to explain my reasoning. And honestly, I think that calling a single edit rejection a punishment is making a mountain out of a molehill.

tl;dr voted to reject because the edited answer is a duplicate (though not a copy-paste) of an existing, incorrect answer. If I saw this suggestion, with the context of the other answers, I still wouldn't approve -- but maybe I'll skip it next time instead of rejecting. Feel free to reply and CMV.

  • @BrockAdams I didn't say that he was rep-farming either. I'm just saying that we should assume good faith unless it is proven otherwise, and we have no real reason to not assume, as he doesn't get anything either.
    – ave
    Jul 31, 2016 at 19:47
  • @ardaozkal, agreed. Assuming good faith was a big part of what started this whole meta question in the first place. Jul 31, 2016 at 19:51

While it's technically a helpful edit to that answer (replacing nonsense characters with a description), the answer itself is literally a copy-paste of the accepted answer (which preceded it by some time). Really, all your edit has done is made it even more like the accepted answer, and - in that sense - one might consider that it is now even lower quality in relation to that question.

Suggested edits have to be reviewed, so, in light of the above, a reviewer might feel that this falls into the category of 'too minor' - that is, not sufficiently useful to be worthy of review by another user. (For a bit of context check this meta post from a while back.) If we were looking at an answer substantially different from the rest, perhaps one that adds new context or up-to-date information, then I think it's likely that your edit would be accepted without question... but the reviewer does kind of have a point.

I appreciate edits like yours - I've been known to make similar ones myself - but maybe let's save that energy (yours and the reviewers) for the Q/As that really benefit from it?

  • 2
    That answer was not a copy paste of anything. And I couldn't tell that it was the effectively same as another answer until I cleaned it up and "translated" it. I then left a comment which, judging by the upvotes, helped several other reviewers. ... I don't like editing posts that should be deleted and I don't do it very often. But when one makes an honest effort to be helpful, they should not be punished for highly debatable and dubious reasons. Jul 19, 2016 at 18:55
  • @BrockAdams Yep, fair enough. I think the site consensus is that your edit was okay, and I'm cool with that.
    – psyk0
    Jul 19, 2016 at 20:11

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