I am a regular user of physics.SE, and I usually come here because of the HNQ list. Mostly, because I see a question whose title is completely meaningless and says nothing about the actual question. I click on the post, read it, and suggest a much more descriptive title. See here for a recent example. I generally try to include the most important formula in the title, because it makes it much easier to find related posts/possible duplicates by looking at the "Related" tab.

I have suggested a more descriptive title more than a hundred times, and only eight times were they rejected. Four out of these eight rejections were actually on the last week, which may have been a coincidence (I believe the edits were good and should have been accepted, but I know that sometimes reviewers err: I am a very active reviewer on physics.SE, and I sometimes get suggestions wrong myself; no big deal).

I've been suggesting these edits because I believe they are useful to your community, but the fact that I got four rejections this week kinda puts me off. Not only because it is discouraging, but also because it makes me think that perhaps you people don't generally like my edits, and perhaps some of you got tired of them.

Thus, my question: do you think my edits are useful? Should I keep on suggesting them? Do you agree those four edits should have been accepted? Or was the rejection the way to go?

For reference, here are the rejected edits:

  1. https://math.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/947396

  2. https://math.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/946720

  3. https://math.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/944958

  4. https://math.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/942829

You can have a look at the rest of my suggestions (accepted and rejected) on my userpage. If you generally think my edits are useful, I'll keep suggesting them. Otherwise, I'll stop. I'll do as you say.

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ For edits 1 and 3, it was reject-and-edit by the same user who only made very minor alterations to your edit; workflow-wise it's a lot easier to do that than approve the edit and make minor alterations to it, even though it ends up rejecting your work. I think edit 2 was completely fine and disagree with the rejection. Edit 4 was also fine, but was rejected because the asker clearly wanted (stylistically) to have a mysterious title. I think all your edits were fine, and having 8/135 rejected isn't anything to worry about; keep up the good edits. $\endgroup$
    – user296602
    Feb 1, 2018 at 4:24
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    $\begingroup$ One can also choose "improve edit" instead of "reject and edit". if the reviewer agree with most of the edit, choosing "improve edit" should be easier workflow-wise @user296602 $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Feb 1, 2018 at 4:38
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    $\begingroup$ This post is now on the "HOT META POSTS" tab. I am struggling to resist the temptation of editing the title into something much more vague and click-baity, like "why did this happen to me!?" :-P $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ There is also the issue of occasional superficial edits one encounters in edit reviews. Or edits that address only one aspect of a post, but don't correct the entire post (like editing and formatting a title, but failing to do so with the same formula in the body of the post. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ And an edit to change one or two "i"s to "I"s, or an edit to change, "there are 4 red balls and 2 white balls" to "there are $4$ red balls and $2$ white balls" are some examples of what I consider to be superfluous edits. Some editors, after all, may be looking "quicky edits" to score a couple of points with the least amount of effort to do so. I like to see meaningful edits, that improve a post, and aren't merely superfluous. When I see an editor in the suggested edit reviews whose suggestions run back to back for four or five consecutive questions, someone needs to slow down. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ That's not to say that I don't, nor that anyone else, doesn't make mistakes. I am quite sure that I have. But I'd really rather be a strict edit reviewer than one who pays no attention and approves too much. And, remember: One person's improved title doesn't necessarily come across to another as an "improvement". There is going to be some subjectivity involved on both ends $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 20:20
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    $\begingroup$ If you see a poor title, @AccidentalFourierTransform, don't click on it to only edit the title; if one is going to edit a post, it should be edited in its entirety. It's like: If one agrees to undertake a job, or a challenge, don't do it "half-assed": If one formats a title, format the post too. And don't go out of one's way to make a superfluous edit, or to think too highly of one's ability to improve a post; others may not see anything more that an arbitrary change. Typically, the problem of superficial edits and incomplete edits usually goes away when users surpass 2 K rep. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 20:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Sure all the reviewers has their own rules in reviewing, but without such a thread, it's hard to see how one's point of views differs from others. $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Feb 1, 2018 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I mostly agree. I am a very active reviewer myself, and I believe I am rather strict too. For the record, while titles are usually my main motivation to fix a post, when I hit the edit button I try and fix everything (body, tags, etc.). $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ @AccidentalFourierTransform I agree with your assessment of your efforts immediately above. I'm quite sure that I've approved countless numbers of your edits. So I wouldn't take a few rejected edits (even if two were from me!) to heart. In the big picture, the ratio of your accepts vs. rejects is stellar. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 21:20
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy Sure, I won't fret over a few rejections. My main concern here was whether there was an underlying reason for the several rejections in a short period of time. I wanted to make sure it was just a coincidence. If the community generally thinks that my edits are useful, I'll continue to suggest them. Thank you for your feedback. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 21:30
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    $\begingroup$ You are upset because 8 of your hundreds of edits were rejected? Really? $\endgroup$
    – xxxxxxxxx
    Feb 3, 2018 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ @MorganRodgers No, not at all. Did you really read the post? If you did, you completely missed the point... $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2018 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ I have also been annoyed to have quite sensible edits rejected. For example, I turned one complete mess of a question into mathematics that was at least legible, and my efforts were rejected with the "reject and edit" justification, in favor of some minor additional improvements. Sorry, but I experience this as insulting, and am inclined not to try to help. More recently, amWhy (who is participating in this discussion) rejected an edit in favor of keeping two uses of the same variable with different meanings in one sentence. Just a mistake, I suppose, but I experienced it as aggressive. $\endgroup$ Feb 9, 2018 at 0:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In general, quite a bit of effort and activity on this site is devoted to trying to correct or control or redirect the behavior of other people. (In fact, this discussion is about trying to correct the behavior of people who are perceived as over-zealous, or under-careful, or just rude in reviewing edits.) I think the rule of thumb should be to use the least aggressive means available. For that reason 'improve edit" is a much better choice than "reject and edit" for an edit that has made a significant improvement but which could still be improved. $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2018 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


This is a comment, not a answer, but is too long to fit into the comment box.

Like you, I am mostly active on other sites. When I was busy as an edit reviewer on SO, I was fairly strict: "approved 834 edit suggestions and rejected 980 edit suggestions and improved 9 edit suggestions". I am a modest participant on Math.SE, but still have had "220 edit suggestions approved, and 11 edit suggestions rejected", with most rejections in the far past.

So when I happened a month ago to suggest a simple formatting improvement on Math.SE, https://math.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/931033, which resulted in a "Reject and Edit", I was bit surprised. My initial reaction was that this was unfair, since all the reviewer did was insert an (unnecessary) line break in addition to my edits.

But I shrugged it off, because I noted:

So, like you, this makes me more reluctant/cautious to make any suggested edits. After all, even a simple edit can, by the time you double-check everything, can take 5 or 10 minutes, which one does not want to waste.

It is very helpful that you, as an outsider, are trying to draw Math.SE's attention to this problem.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Hi Joseph, thank you for the sympathy. May I ask why "the reviewer was a very high-rep user" is a reason for shrugging it off? What does being a high rep. user have to do with this? Would you have also shrugged it off if the edit had been rejected by a 2k user? Thanks! $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Joseph: for whatever is worth, I think that the edit that you got rejected was a good one: I would have approved it without hesitation. Some of the reviewers on this site have very personal views about how things should be, and they work hard to impose their views. Not all of us agree with that. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ And some reviewers like yourself, @Martin Argerami, also have very personal views about how things should be, and you and others work hard to impose such ideas on others. Not all of us agree with that. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy: exactly. But I don't see the point in repeating what I just said. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 20:36
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, Dear @MartinArgerami It came across to me as you were pointing fingers at one group of users, ("they're" bad, but not all of "us" agree) thus exempting yourself from all blame, whereas I am pointing out that there is blame to be had by the batch of users you clearly identified yourself to be among who try to impose, desperately, ideas on others, which some of us do not agree with. You went down with your comment: us vs them? You're in the "us"? Well you're also in the "them", and just as guilty. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ You know precisely what I mean, @Martin. My comment was to fill in the missing half of the puzzle you presented. Get over dichotomizing users. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ You see, the situation is not symmetric. You spend a lot time editing, reviewing, approving, rejecting. If that's not "imposing your view", I have no idea what it is. In my case, I don't do those things regularly; I only react from time to time when I see you chasing users away. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ If you don't take part in some of the responsibilities that keep this site operating, @MartinArgerami, then you have no right to complain or criticize. If no one reviewed suggested edits, none, zilch, zero, would be accepted.... and on down the line. It' your choice not to contribute to the site in any other way than if you can gain you rep; but you give up the right to criticize those who do work for nothing: no rep, no nothing. (I earned my review queue badges way way long ago, so I can't get anything for reviewing edits, or close votes or reopens or........ I do it, because I care. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, so you seem to know me better than I do, so you'll have to explain. You say that "it's my choice not to contribute to the site in any other way the if I can gain rep". So, what rep did I gained exactly by doing the 2299 revisions and 1064 reviews that MSE shows in my profile? How many do I need to have any "right to complain or criticize"? And, by the way, as far as I can tell today is the first time ever that I have said anything about your reviewing. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ Then don't villainize folks who "spend a lot [of] time editing, reviewing, approving, rejecting. If that's not "imposing your view", I have no idea what it is." and "I don't do those things regularly"." Self admissions. Yet now you claim how much editing and revisions and reviews you've done. So you were criticizing me for doing what you've done, i.e., trying to help the site running smoothly? You can't have it both ways, dear Martin. You edit, you've reviewed, just as I. Who are the "they" that you were attacking and distancing yourself from at the start in this comment thread. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 22:40
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    $\begingroup$ If you want to paint me as an "enemy", then you're the enemy, too. It's easy to say things that the disgruntled users want to hear, and act like you're their champion (reminds me of Trump), when in fact, you admit you to engage in quality control, or rather traffic control. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ At the very least, @MartinArgerami, your admission of having performed so many edits and reviews and such tell us that you're engaged in trying to impose your views on the site, just as you tried to smear any/all reviewers. Some of us know users such as you, who try to impose their views on everyone else, just as you claim to know them. It's too bad that such extreme positions exist. I've had enough of your self contradictions for the day. Speak out of one consistent side of your mouth, please? $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 22:46
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy when it is a good edit, why not just click "improve edit" rather than "reject and edit"? $\endgroup$
    – John Doe
    Feb 2, 2018 at 0:39
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    $\begingroup$ I do that often, @JohnDoe! Some edits, in and of themselves do not warrant "accepting": I give some recent examples above. When one clicks "reject and edit", one gets the bare post as it was, unaltered. Some edit I make may coincide with a few edits a suggesting editor may have made, but go beyond it, and/or leave in place what was in the post, originally, prior to a superfluous edit suggestion. If a suggest edit is half-assed: addresses grammar, but neglects formatting, or formats a title, but not the body of the post, then no 2 points have been earned. Do it right, or don't do it. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Feb 2, 2018 at 0:47
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I think John Doe's comment is about this specific edit suggestion. According to the Review and as far as I can tell, you rejected Joseph Quinsey's edit only to do the exact same one with an added linebreak, so it would have made more sense to click "Improve edit" to add that linebreak. $\endgroup$
    – Arnaud D.
    Feb 2, 2018 at 14:51

I wasn't involved in any of the decisions. I'm also not very active on this site, though I do a lot of reviewing on some other SE sites. So my thoughts here might not be perfectly aligned with this site's customs and standards, but they shouldn't be crazy.

  1. The change to the body was just $\displaystyle blah$ to $$blah$$. The only effect of this is to make the question take up more screen space. I'd say that very strongly "does not make the post even a little bit easier to read." Please don't make edits that are just "I'd've done it this other way" unless there are good arguments that the other way is better: edits are supposed to improve, not just change. The change to the title was more descriptive but there are people who feel that there shouldn't be big lumps of MathJax in titles, as titles are often automatically included in places that don't parse it – the app, the Twitter feed, Hot Network Questions, the duplicate closure search. Rejecting this seems reasonable, though the tag edits look worthwhile.

  2. The new title is very long, so rather unwieldy. Also, the question was subsequently closed as a duplicate. If the close vote was already underway when you proposed your edit, I would have voted to reject the edit, since accepting it wouldn't stop the question being closed. (And, if the vote hung around until after the question had been closed, the edit would have triggered a pointless reopen vote.)

  3. I don't understand why the reviewer chose "reject and edit" and then made a near-identical edit themself. That should have been an "improve edit" (or whatever the option's actually called).

  4. This one was accepted by two reviewers but rejected by the post's original author who's also rolled back several other edits. I wouldn't worry about it – some people are possessive and protective like that. Also, subsequently closed as a dupe so it doesn't much matter.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the feedback! 1) I believe users here prefer to have math on their titles, but I might be wrong, so it would be great if a regular math.SE user could weight in. For one thing, it makes it easier to look for duplicates by looking at the related tab, but you have a point too, so I'm not sure what to think. FWIW, I only include math in titles when there is a key formula that summarises the post (e.g., an explicit series to be summed). $\endgroup$ Feb 6, 2018 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ 2) I see what you mean and I have rejected edits to about-to-be-closed off-topic questions myself. I actually think one should not reject such edits (in part because the editor has "wasted" some of their time, in part because you can't really be sure the question is going to be closed, in part because closed questions are not always deleted, so it may be useful to "tidy it up" even if closed). But I have rejected such edits myself anyway so I can't complain. $\endgroup$ Feb 6, 2018 at 22:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is some discussion of math-in-titles at math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/26220/… and also at several other questions linked to from that one. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2018 at 0:25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ David, "Surprise question, inside is awesome!!!" is a clickbait title, which I suspect is aimed at generating a HNQ placement to earn more votes, views and so on. Whereas a long title that actually describes the question is so much better. Even more than just that, when a relatively new user is doing that, I can attribute ignorance; when an experienced user is doing that, I attribute malice (especially rolling back until peer pressure in the form of downvotes is enough to cause the author to go back). Yes, we live in the "clickbait era", but we shouldn't insist on partaking. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Feb 7, 2018 at 10:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Agreed but none of the titles in these edits was clickbaity so I’m not sure what point you’re making, there. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2018 at 10:59
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    $\begingroup$ Really? "A Gift Problem for the Year 2018" is not a clickbait title? $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Feb 7, 2018 at 11:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Well, ok. It’s not what I’d call clickbait but I can see why somebody could want to call it that. (To me, clickbait is generating clicks by promising something amazing, not by posting something confusing that makes people click to find out what it means.) I certainly wouldn’t object to that title being changed but I feel the asker’s suggested replacement also had problems. $\endgroup$ Feb 7, 2018 at 14:03

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