I was reviewing an edit here, but even though it turns out the suggested edit was made on the original post, it was compared to a later edit (a nice one by the way). So much so, that the edit being reviewed appeared - to me - to be vandalism. Which I chose as the reason when rejecting it.

However, this turned out to be unfair to the editor, and I can't find how to undo this.

This is how the edit appeared to me (all the upper case "I"s were changed to lower case "i"s and the additional text "Am in a kind of hell" appeared to me to be vandalism.)

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My suggestion is that the Review interface should remove edits that have been superseded or else show them compared to the state of the item that the edit was made on, not the latest in place edit. At the least I would like to apologize to VRU


1 Answer 1


An elegant, technical solution here would be nice.

What to Do

I have seen this happen, too. When the edit would have been helpful if it had been submitted earlier, I usually work around the problem by:

  1. Clicking Improve
  2. Replacing the edit with the source text from the current version (which is actually newer than the edit)
  3. Writing something in the edit summary to make clear what I have done (if I think it may not be clear)
  4. Keeping the "helpful" box checked
  5. Submitting the improvement

This recognizes the editors edit as valid, while immediately fixing the situation, which otherwise could get quite confusing. This method should only be used if the edit was good as applied to the version edited. If it is too minor, or has serious problems, it should simply be rejected.

Another, perfectly good way to deal with this is to reject the edit with a custom reject reason explaining the situation. It's unlikely any user will accumulate enough rejections this way to be edit-banned, and anyway edit-banning is only for a week.

  • If one user does accumulate enough rejections this way to be unable to edit for a week, I'm not actually sure that's bad, because it would probably mean they're clicking edit, and then taking a very long time to apply a relatively minor edit, and not checking to see if has been rendered obsolete. However, I don't think anything like that is happening currently.

How to Identify Such Obsolete Edits

Of course, if you don't know what's going on, it's hard to respond well, which is central to your point and an excellent reason why the system should give us more help here. As things stand, there are a couple considerations to keep in mind:

  • When anything seems strange, look into it. In this case, when an edit appears to be vandalism but very unusual vandalism, check the edit history (and comments and answers, though that wouldn't help in this specific instance).
  • When editing reverses code formatting or unapplies hyperlinks, and the edit reason doesn't explain why, that's a clue that the edit was based on an earlier version of the post.

What the System Should Do

The system should notify reviewers when an edit appears to be based on a previous version.

In edge cases, this might require tough heuristics. But practically speaking, when an edit is based on a previous version, it's actually based on that version directly--that is, that's the version that was on the editor's screen when they clicked edit. So I don't think this would be difficult to implement.

  • 1
    Yeah I agree, I should have reviewed the editor's history before selecting vandalism. I like your very unusual vandalism - maybe that should be one of the choices ;)
    – bcbc
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 17:22
  • @bcbc Or a What the— reject reason. :) Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 17:28

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