This question What are the best techniques to show a character's emotions as seen by the POV character? had received a close vote supposedly because it was "asking what to write". I didn't think it was asking what to write so much as how to "show not tell", so I voted to leave the question open. But I didn't want to risk the question being closed by others who interpreted things differently, so I edited the question to focus on technique, and I broadened the scope to ask about showing a character's emotions in general rather than just asking about "panic".

My rep isn't yet enough for the editing privilege, so my edit needed approval. A few hours later I checked, and was surprised to find that even though my edit had been approved without amendment, I wasn't credited with the edit. The revision history shows the 3rd version is by the OP, even though it's exactly the same as my edit, even using my own explanation wording. The OP gets a badge for their first edit, and I not only don't get credited for the time and effort I put in, I don't even get the points for an accepted edit. [Yes I know it's only 2 pts, but when you only have 510 rep, even 2 points for an edit is valuable!]

The Suggested Edits page provides the following information:

Rejected 3 hours ago:
Community‚ô¶ reviewed this 3 hours ago: Reject
This edit conflicted with a subsequent edit.

What subsequent edit? Did the OP copy the 2nd paragraph I created and paste those same words in the same place, so that it became their edit instead of mine?

How can this happen? Is this a system fault? Or is there something I did that caused this?

I don't want to make a fuss about this, but I want to know why this happened, so that until I finally earn the edit privilege, I can make an informed decision on whether it's worth making the effort for future edits that apparently can be claimed - for no effort whatsoever - by the OP.

PS: I'm an experienced SE user, active on several other sites, so I'm well aware of how the system works in general. And I recognise the intrinsic value of editing: on EL&U I'm ranked 6th for edits this year. Also, I'm not criticising the OP: I assume they have simply done what they thought was right/needed. My question here points to a potential system flaw whereby points are offered to low-rep users as an encouragement to suggest edits, only to have their effort not rewarded.

  • FWIW, it's not exactly the same; the OP forgot the bold formatting. Without knowing the action from the OP themselves, there's a possibility that the OP left the editor open, noticed your suggested edit, but instead of approving it, they copied the changes and the edit comment, then applied it by themselves, thus edit conflict.
    – Andrew T.
    Feb 28, 2019 at 10:27
  • Weird things happen when two people are editing at the same time. Sometimes the system incorporates both edits. As bruglesco suggests, it could have been a "reject and edit" in that weird case I wasn't familiar with.
    – Cyn
    Feb 28, 2019 at 15:26
  • @bruglesco Your answer is a good one, and the comments as well. I suggest you undelete it (or I can). I can see it because I have enough rep. But I don't want to undelete it without your permission.
    – Cyn
    Feb 28, 2019 at 15:30
  • 1
    @bruglesco I clicked it and it turns out I can only vote to undelete, not do it unilaterally. Hopefully others will do it or a mod will step in.
    – Cyn
    Feb 28, 2019 at 15:35
  • @AndrewT. Well picked up! I think this points to how the process has unfolded - which I started to write as a comment but realised it deserves to be an answer. :-) Mar 1, 2019 at 2:00

2 Answers 2


How do suggested edits work?

This is the relevant Meta.SE post. You will want to look specifically at the section on Community rejected edits, as quoted below.

The Community user will approve or reject your edit when one of the following cases apply:

  • A reviewer chose to "Improve Edit" or "Reject and Edit". See the below sections for relevant info.

  • You submit a suggested edit, and another user with full editing privileges submits an edit over yours. In that case, your suggested edit will be rejected by Community in favor of the fully privileged edit, with the reason "This edit conflicted with a subsequent edit". Don't worry! This is a relatively uncommon edge case where both you and the other editor start editing at the same time. Just try submitting your edit again and it could be reviewed. Suggested edits rejected for this reason are not counted towards the automatic ban.

For more details, see Why does the Community user approve and reject edits?

After further discussion in comments it is uncertain precisely what the OP did, but it is likely that they have more leeway to reject / improve.

  • Thanks for the extract, and the bottom link has further relevant detail. However, the OP is new to the site so (a) they don't have access to the review queues and (b) they're not a "privileged user" with full editing rights - unless "privileged user" also includes the OP. Does a new user with few other privileges get the same "Improve Edit" option when their post is edited? Can you "improve edit" even when you make no change? Feb 28, 2019 at 4:29
  • @Chappo an OP can always edit their own posts unilaterally
    – Summer
    Feb 28, 2019 at 4:30
  • Yes I know that. Are you saying that an OP can open a proposed edit, make no edit themselves, approve it and somehow claim it as their own? Feb 28, 2019 at 4:32
  • Probably. As a low rep user, when a suggested edit comes in you can approve it through an interface that is identical to the one in the review queues, with the exception that your decisions are unilateral.
    – Summer
    Feb 28, 2019 at 4:34

Andy T has noted that there's one small but significant difference between my edit and the edit that was ultimately accepted: the latter has no bold formatting of the final paragraph.

So the most likely scenario is that the OP has reviewed my edit, removed the double asterisks (either because they didn't want the sentence to be in bold, or more plausibly because they didn't understand what ** means in Markdown) but decided to adopt the rest of the edit, and the system has identified this as a "community reject".

bruglesco's helpful answer then points to where to find the actual mechanism for what has happened, although you have to read further in the full MetaSE post to find it. However, the puzzle is that none of the scenarios in that MetaSE post seem to describe what has actually happened in this particular case.

The three possibilities are:

1. A user with full edit privileges saves an edit over yours

If a user with full editing privileges for a post (including the original poster) begins editing the post at the same time as you, and they save their edit after you have already suggested it, then your suggested edit will be overridden in favor of their fully-privileged edit.

This is known in software as an optimistic lock. This is an edge case, and does not happen often because users with full privileges who try to edit a post after you submit your edit will be directed to your suggested edit instead. Thus, when one person starts editing a post, we do not need to lock everyone else out. While the UI attempts to avoid these situations (by prompting you with "an edit has been made to this post; click to load"), they do sometimes occur.

(Source: Why does the Community user approve and reject edits?)

The change timeline shows that there were about 2.5 minutes between my suggested edit being submitted and the OP rejecting that edit, so it's possible that the OP and I both had the edit page open at the same time. On the other hand, I didn't see any system message about another edit (as is supposed to happen), and it seems more plausible that the OP has simply responded straight away to an inbox notification of my edit (followed almost immediately by an inbox notification of my comment) and chosen one of the following two options...

2. What does the "Improve Edit" button do?

The Improve button allows reviewers to apply changes to the edited version of the text, so they can make further changes. The revised text is published when the improver saves their changes, and the edit will be considered "approved".

  • The change history records the suggested edit and the improved edit as separate events.
  • The original editor still gets +2 reputation for their suggestion.
  • The community user is given responsibility for the decision. Thus, no "approve" item appears in the "reviews" section of the improving user's activity tab.

For tag wikis, the "Improve Edit" button is only presented to someone with the ability to make direct edits that don't need reviewing (20K on graduated sites and 4K on public beta sites).

Note that the "Improve Edit" button will prevent the author and moderators from being able to override the edit.

(Source: How do suggested edits work?)

This option is ruled out since the revision history shows reject x1, and "the original editor still gets +2 reputation for their suggestion" did not apply. Which just leaves...

3. What does the "Reject and Edit" button do?

This rejects the suggested edit and allows the reviewer to edit the version of the post without those edits. Once edited and saved, the suggested edit will be considered "rejected".

  • The change history records the reviewer's edit only and the suggested edit is discarded.
  • The original editor does not get any reputation for their suggestion.
  • The community user is given responsibility for the decision. Thus, no "reject" item appears in the "reviews" section of the improving user's activity tab.

Reject and Edit-s do count towards editing bans. You may find some outdated posts saying otherwise, but back then the reviewing UI was different and it wasn't possible to distinguish between this case and an automatic rejection due to edit conflict (see above).

For tag wikis, the "Reject and Edit" button is only presented to someone with the ability to make direct edits that don't need reviewing (20K on graduated sites and 4K on public beta sites).

Note that the "Reject and Edit" button will prevent the author and moderators from being able to override the edit.

(Source: How do suggested edits work?)

This doesn't appear to be the mechanism, as the change history records the suggested edit which it's not meant to do if the suggestion is rejected. Also, if the suggestion was rejected, the OP would have lost both my edits and the explanation given for them.


While it seems improbable given there was no activity on the question for over 5 hours prior to my suggested edit, the only mechanism that appears to match the change history is the "simultaneous edits" option.

But why didn't I receive a message that the question was being edited? Could there be a system flaw in that SE gets confused if you open a question from within the Close Votes review queue and compose a comment, and you then open the same question in another window to enable you to edit it (because you like the question, you don't want it closed, the OP is new, and it's helpful to actually make the edit for them and post a comment on what you've done and what they can do), you submit the edit, then return to the question in the CVQ and vote to leave open. Maybe in that scenario, the system fails to notify if an existing edit is in progress or a new edit commences? Or maybe there's no simultaneous edit but the system gets caught between mechanisms #2 and #3 in this unusual scenario?

Well, I can't rule out the possibility that I simply didn't notice a system message. In any event, this Q&A can serve as a detailed log in case a similar situation arises for someone else in future...


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