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I suggested an edit to a recent answer and it got rejected by the OP for the reason below:

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Here's the actual edit:

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To me, it feels like the quality of the post was improved by the edit. For one, the code wasn't properly formatted in the original answer. I also fixed some grammar errors.

I'm not understanding the 'unnecessary or make the post more confusing' part. Is there actually something wrong with this edit (perhaps some unspoken rule I have violated)? I'd like to know if there is something wrong so I can avoid it in the future.

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Due to the site's size and the strained reviewing resources, Stack Overflow has developed what I consider to be some quite counterproductive norms around suggested edits, and they seem to leak out to the rest of the network, especially technical sites like this one.

However, I did once manage to speak out about this, and the idea was very well received overall.

It's also worth noting that earning the privilege to review edits generally requires the same reputation total as making those edits unilaterally; but reviewing edits to one's own question doesn't have any particular requirement. I have seen that a huge number of people unilaterally reject edits to "their" content regardless of the form, perhaps because they do not recognize the license they have offered on their content. (Stack Exchange signup really ought to be way more explicit and up-front about this.) The author has something of a conflict of interest when your proposed edit is attempting to fix style issues.

Edits like what you proposed clearly move the post in the right direction, and in this case there clearly is actual room to move so as to improve quality. If I had the choice to edit unilaterally starting from the answer as it is, or from the answer with your edit applied first, I would choose your version in a heartbeat.

Where the reject reason template speaks of an edit being "unnecessary", I understand that to be aimed at avoiding bikeshedding over two equally good ways to phrase something (e.g. swapping a synonym back and forth). If we treat unambiguous improvements to clarity, grammar etc. as "unnecessary" just because something is "clear enough", then we don't get quality. Quality is a good thing; it makes onlookers want to read more of the site and perhaps even participate.

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  • $\begingroup$ I tried unilaterally editing it - I ended up going with a significantly different style, but certainly taking your improvements into consideration. And, like clockwork, OP rolled it back. Sigh. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ "perhaps because they do not recognize the license they have offered on their content" - I think it probably has more to do with the fact that questions are in fact written by a specific author, usually for their own purpose, and are visibly associated with the specific author. As author, they are also granted specific rights to edit and delete. Whatever the small print and ultimate legal rights may be, most users intend to retain editorial control over "their" content - by which we mean content that originates with them. (1/2) $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ It's also worth acknowledging that whilst the stated purpose of SE sites is to create a kind of written repository (a bit like Wiki) of definitive questions and answers to which an anonymous public can (and do) refer, those who actually participate in creating the content usually have a narrower agenda of participating in a community of correspondents who engage directly with one another in public, not in creating an abstract knowledgebase (which is only a fallout of that public correspondence). (2/2) $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 12:23
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I can’t say for certain why the author chose to reject the edit, but I can take some guesses.

Although I agree that some changes—such as introducing code formatting—do unambiguously improve the post, it’s not clear to me that all of them do. Adding paragraph breaks between every sentence does not seem warranted. Likewise, I’m not sure that changing “E.g.” to “Like this” and “Compare” to “My newer method” are improvements.

Speaking generally, suggested edits are held to a somewhat higher standard than most edits, for two reasons. First, they come from users who have not yet earned the edit privilege, so the review process is intended to teach potential editors what good edits look like. Second, suggested edits must be reviewed by humans, so we want to discourage users from submitting questionable suggested edits that don’t substantially improve the post yet nevertheless consume reviewers’ time.

In this particular case, if I were reviewing your edit, I’d have probably approved it with some small modifications (namely removing the unnecessary paragraph breaks). But I don’t think the author was necessarily wrong to reject the edit, and I’d encourage you to be a little more conservative in your modifications when suggesting edits in the future.

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    $\begingroup$ "why the reviewer chose to reject the edit" I think it's important that It was the post author, not just any other reviewer. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @VLAZ Good point, I hadn’t noticed that. I’ve tweaked the wording of my answer slightly, but I don’t think it changes the overall point much. $\endgroup$
    – Alexis King Mod
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 19:09
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    $\begingroup$ Not a necessarily a big difference but it is an important detail. The author of the post can unilaterally approve or reject an edit (which happened here). This bypasses consensus. Moreover, since it's on their own content, they won't necessarily review an edit as if it's any other edit. In some cases, a post author might have no other experience reviewing suggested edits until one is made on their own post. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the information! I'll try to be more conservative in the future with any suggested edits. $\endgroup$
    – Redz
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 22:29

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