I've recently come across a number of cases in reviewing where a suggested edit is made which would be too unilateral to approve of because it interferes with the original poster's implicit wishes - for example, the last case was when a small paragraph of guesswork the OP had, which constituted their work or "what they had tried" basically, was deleted and the edit description was something like "removed guess" - but here the OP of the question was unregistered with single-digit rep and had only been around a couple of days, so I surmised the anon and OP were one and the same and approved the edit.

Is this acceptable practice? There are no clear boundaries, and there's always a possibility of being wrong, but at the same time it would aggravate and impede those who want to edit their questions but aren't registered, forget their login info, etc. Furthermore, there is no direct way to find out if the user or anon are the same person if in fact it is someone with only a fleeting existence here, and if their edit isn't approved it may send the wrong message to the user. Maybe a comment explaining the dis/approval action on the question itself would suffice here?

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps an alternative would be to flag the question for moderator attention - you can tell the moderators what the difficulty is. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Feb 7 '12 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ One approach I take is to compare Gravatars of the questioner and potential editor. If they match (since each Gravatar has an associated e-mail address), then they are very likely the same person. $\endgroup$ – J. M. isn't a mathematician Feb 7 '12 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ @J.M. IIRC, edits suggested by "an anonymous user" don't come with a gravatar nor a link to any sort of profile. // Also, you can flag suggested edits? I didn't even notice that... $\endgroup$ – anon Feb 7 '12 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yikes, you're right; I tried it out (on another site) just now. I had thought e-mail addresses had to be supplied or something for anonymous edits... $\endgroup$ – J. M. isn't a mathematician Feb 7 '12 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ @anon: Regarding Gerry's suggestion, you could flag the question and use the text box to explain your concern. (I don't know if you can directly flag suggested edits.) $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Feb 7 '12 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ I wrote "flag the question," not "flag the suggested edit." I do occasionally feel it would be nice to have more options for dealing with suggested edits than we currently have, but I guess we have to make do with the options we've got. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Feb 7 '12 at 5:09
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    $\begingroup$ The mods while hard working are not on immediate call. By the time of seeing the flag it is likely that another user has approved/rejected the suggestion. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Feb 7 '12 at 5:54

Whether you approve or reject the edit, please do leave a comment urging the OP to register his or her account. Explain that by registering one gains the convenience of being able to edit and comment upon one's own questions.


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