An edit I suggested this afternoon was rejected and the reasons given make no sense. To give context, the question asks for mathematical discoveries which were kept secret rather than being announced to the world. The answer I edited says that "Cryptography is a good source of such instances" but only gives one example, RSA, via a quote from Wikipedia. I edited to add a second example, differential cryptanalysis, again via a quote from Wikipedia. It seemed to me to be more sensible to collect cryptography examples in one answer, rather than having multiple ones. Since the author of the answer clearly implied that there were multiple examples and I added a second one in exactly the same style as their first one, my edit seems reasonable and does not, for example, seem to me to change the author's intent.

However, the reasons for rejection were:

  • This edit was intended to address the author of the post and makes no sense as an edit. It should have been written as a comment or an answer.
  • This edit defaces the post in order to promote a product or service, or is deliberately destructive.

Neither of these applies. I was not attempting to contact the author of the post but to improve their answer, as I explained above. I was certainly not promoting any product or service and nor did I destroy anything, deliberately or even accidentally.

What should one do in such circumstances? It would seem abusive to suggest the same edit again but, at the same time, I feel it was rejected for completely invalid reasons. I could post it as a separate answer but having multiple short crypto-related answers doesn't seem as helpful as a single one.

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    $\begingroup$ The rejection process has been revised recently, and the new rejection reasons sucks. But this edit should not have been accepted. You are correct that re-suggesting the edit is probably not a good idea. I'd proceed by posting a comment pointing to that issue. All you did was cite Wikipedia anyway, so referring to the relevant section via a link in a comment (which includes a summary of the information) is probably much better. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 3 '14 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ Generally better not to make lengthy edits in someone else's answer. I you really care about this, craft a full answer yourself. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Nov 3 '14 at 17:59
  1. If I had reviewed your suggested edit, then I would also have voted to reject it. Not too long ago the rejection reasons were changed. If I had to pick one of old reasons, I would have chosen

    radical change - This edit changes too much in the original post; the original meaning or intent of the post would be lost.

    But it was argued that this didn't put enough focus on the change in intent or meaning. I would usually pick this reasons when I saw a suggested edit that simply edited too much of a post. This, in particular, applies to answers. While I like this site for focusing on content, you still have your name next to your answer. Furthermore, I think that a person should only gain reputation for what they have done. And if it isn't really your answer anymore, then ... If you want to radically change an answer I suggest adding your own answer. You can also give the answerer a comment suggesting him/her to add more to the answer.

    Also, just imagine how upset some might get if their answers were changes beyond what they had intended. You would see a bunch of meta posts complaining about this.

  2. Now, granted, you don't have the old reasons anymore. And I would say that it is a bit difficult to reject an edit simply because it changes too much. I don't like the new rejection reasons. If I had to pick one for your suggested edit, I would have picked: clearly conflicts with author's intent (Q/A only)

    clearly conflicts with author's intent - This edit deviates from the original intent of the post. Even edits that must make drastic changes should strive to preserve the goals of the post's owner.

So, what should you now do? Give your own answer. I might even vote it up.

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    $\begingroup$ Had the author of the original answer rejected the edit, I wouldn't have said anything. As I see it, the original meaning and intent of the answer was "There are plenty of examples from crypto: here's one." The meaning and intent of the edited answer was "There are plenty of examples from crypto: here are two." That seems entirely consistent with the original meaning and avoids the potential complaint "Plenty? So why did you only give one?" $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 3 '14 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ Commenting to suggest the author updates their answer seems like a good way to proceed. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 3 '14 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ How is it clearly a deviation from the original intent of the post to add a second example from a field where the author said there were plenty of examples but only provided one? $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 3 '14 at 18:10
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby: My point is that it can be hard to guess what the "intent" of an author and you are likely to cause a conflict. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Nov 3 '14 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby: And I really do think that adding another answer would be much better since you have material enough for a independent answer. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Nov 3 '14 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ It was a defacement of an authored answer, and rightfully rejected with a valid reason specified. I routinely receive default/blanket/nonsensical rejection reasons from button-pushers at various SE sites, but here is definitely not the case. $\endgroup$ – Incnis Mrsi Dec 8 '14 at 16:26

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