I edited the question found here:

What does it mean to "sabotage an agenda"?

There were several typos in the passage that I had fixed, checking with the original quote. I was rejected on the grounds that my edits went too far in changing the OP's original post. Later, two users commented on the question pointing out the same typos. I do not understand why my edit was rejected.

Here is the link to the edit in question where I received one "approve" vote and two "reject" votes:


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    Actually almost no part of editing (approval/rejection/quality/reasons/other) is not as smooth a machine as it should be. The best way to avoid this whole thing is to ask good questions/post some good answers and rack up 1400 more points. Then you can edit without approval from any one else. But if you're counting on those 2 points for edits... the odds may or may not be ever in your favor. But take heart: you were shown to be correct, you brought it to the community's attention, and you even got an apology. This is kind of a good outcome, maybe better than 2 points, I think. – anongoodnurse Jan 2 '16 at 9:37
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    What I do not understand is why @jxh agreed with Rathony that my edit should be rejected, on the grounds that "this edit makes no sense as an edit." The system is designed to prevent human errors in one person's judgement from having too strong of an influence, by imposing the three-vote system. It would be very unusual if two users both made a misjudgment on the same edit, an edit that I thought was pretty clear... – Kyle Jan 2 '16 at 9:44
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    Kyle, I understand that it's really frustrating when you've done the right thing, and two people who don't give it enough thought reject it. Questions about edits are very common here. It's not working as it should. That particular case required that the user actually determine if the quote from Time was correct. Since there was no link to follow and check the quote (which was full of errors), my guess is that they couldn't be bothered to google. When people don't bother to check facts, mistakes will be made, even by multiple people. – anongoodnurse Jan 2 '16 at 9:51
  • I deleted my post. I hope you understand the whole situation. @medica I did google it and there was no match. You try it yourself. Do not speculate on what some users might have done or might not. It is not constructive to suggest any user didn't do his best when they tried to review a post. – user140086 Jan 2 '16 at 10:19
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    @Rathony I don't see any reason to delete your post (although a lot of the comments on it could go, but I don't think I can clear those up while it's deleted). It's an honest appraisal of the situation, upvoted -- including by me -- and contains a suggestion for helping reviewers. (It's also still visible to 10k users) – Andrew Leach Jan 2 '16 at 10:49
  • If the edit comment included a link to source, validation of the edit would be more straightforward. Otherwise, note the errors in a comment to the OP. – jxh Jan 2 '16 at 15:50
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    I am often in a quandary about proposed edits- There may be many good changes within a proposed edit along with one bad one. When this is the case I often feel like going in and fixing "the one thing" is stealing the original editor's thunder because it will now be my name that shows up for the edit rather than theirs. But at the same time I don't want the "one thing" to get through either. I therefore have two choices: "reject" or "skip" I make this choice based on whether I think the proposed edit really increases the comprehensibility of the question or whether it's just cosmetic cleanup. – Jim Jan 2 '16 at 19:23
  • I would likely have rejected your edit because, while it made many excellent updates, it attempted to change "provocation" to "provocations" which, in my mind would be incorrect even if it weren't inside of a quote block. After a quick internet search I could not find the Time article in question to verify against the original. Because of this I would "reject" and hope that someone else's future edit would make appropriate corrections as necessary. – Jim Jan 2 '16 at 19:33
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    @Rathony I've deleted most of my comments b/c it's unfair to the OP to clutter his question with our discussion. I warmly advise you to do the same. – Mari-Lou A Jan 2 '16 at 19:51
  • @Mari-LouA I have just deleted my comments, too. Thanks for the warm advice. – user140086 Jan 3 '16 at 7:39
  • Why do you care? It doesn't take much to reject a post, and there's always a fearless keyboard pedant out there willing to do it. I'd ignore it and move on. – Pete855217 Jan 5 '16 at 15:01
  • @Kyle: Congrats on reaching over 1400 points! – jxh Jan 9 '16 at 0:04
  • @jxh Thank you, I'm worried I'll get burned out before I hit the big 2k – Kyle Jan 9 '16 at 0:15
  • @Kyle: I am sure you'll be fine. I hope my answer addresses why I rejected this edit, even if you don't agree with my reasons. – jxh Jan 9 '16 at 0:47

I rejected the edit because there was no straight-forward way to verify if the edited quoted text accurately represented the printed article. Therefore, either (1) the edit was improving the grammar of a quoted article, which may not reflect the original article, or (2) the edit is basically challenging the integrity of the OP by declaring the citation to be inaccurate. I chose the latter interpretation, and rejected the edit as an attempt to reply to the OP.

If the article was available to you, but you could not provide a link to the original article, you could have created an image of the paragraph in question and submitted it as part of the edit. Then, it would have been trivial to verify the edit was making the quoted text accurately reflect the printed text.

I did not choose to Skip because I did not feel that edit was acceptable as it stood without a link to the source (a screenshot would have been acceptable as well).

  • 2
    I've edited many questions (I don't know how many, but enough to get a badge, anyway.) I've found that there is a straightforward way to tell if a quote is accurate: just google a few of the words in succession that sound correct enclosing them in quotes. It works for me every time, and I really mean every time. I edit in sources often, and it takes no more than a minute or two. I also can replace an erroneous quote with a correct one (this is how I would have done the edit under scrutiny.) Not saying I'm a model for anyone; just saying it's easy to do, and how. – anongoodnurse Jan 3 '16 at 6:06
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    And why wouldn't including a link to the published article with the edit be a superior process than performing the edit without the link? Barring direct access to the publication, the best person to fix the quoted text is the OP. – jxh Jan 3 '16 at 6:16
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    I do include a link (I think I mentioned that; I said I edit in sources all the time.) I'm not telling you what to do, or even what's best. You stated, "there was no straight-forward way to verify if the edited quoted text accurately represented the printed article." I'm merely explaining that it's not difficult, and how I do it. But, hey... if you'd rather reject a good edit than learn something new, be my guest. I don't have any money on this race. – anongoodnurse Jan 3 '16 at 7:29
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    I could not include a link because one must be a subscriber to access the text (per Time magazine's paywall). So expecting a link may not always be prudent. In general, I don't opt to take screenshots of text because then the text cannot be copy and pasted (not to mention I would lose the OP's bold formatting and decrease the resolution). – Kyle Jan 3 '16 at 7:50
  • @Kyle Can we forget about it and move on? I am pretty sure this kind of problem/issue will never happen to you again. If it should happen again, re-edit the post. If it is rejected again, re-re-edit it. You will have more than 2,000 rep points before you face this kind of issue again. – user140086 Jan 3 '16 at 8:01
  • @medica It is not as simple. As Jim (and myself) commented above, there was no Time article which was Googleable. I don't understand what this fuss is all about. If I had found the match when I Googled it, I would NOT have rejected it. The case is extremely different from other edits you have done. Some edits are simple, others could be complicated and sometimes misleading or causing confusion. Jxh and I decided to reject it. It is our own right to do that. If the OP is very sure about his edit, he can reedit the post. No point in blaming anyone or any process. We all learned a lesson. – user140086 Jan 3 '16 at 8:04
  • @Kyle, in this case, I would have been satisfied if the edit of the quoted text also included a screenshot. Again, this would be to prove the edit was improving the accuracy of the quote, and not just changing the grammar and/or typos that was already part of the original quote. Another edit later could have removed the screenshot, but it would be in the edit history to establish the quoted text was accurate. – jxh Jan 3 '16 at 14:24
  • @jxh the only thing missing from the edit was the link to the actual article, the rest was perfectly fine. Newcomers presume that their reviews will be checked by users who have greater experience than they do, and as an experienced user and editor, you soon realize what to keep an eye open for. – Mari-Lou A Jan 3 '16 at 19:09
  • @Mari-LouA Your comment is not constructive. It was like a car accident that could happen once or twice in your life time. It never happens more than that. Now, there are more bad edits that have been approved than good edits that have been rejected. Take a look at this edit. One user using Community ID approved this edit without even reading it. What is your opinion about it? One user (I am pretty sure you know whom) didn't delete thank you message twice today and declared he would not follow the rule. – user140086 Jan 3 '16 at 19:30
  • ... Those users should be reprimanded. If I raise the issue to target the one who approved the linked edit, would it be constructive? I don't think so. One thing for sure is Community ID user made a far bigger mistake than I did. Let's move on. – user140086 Jan 3 '16 at 19:31
  • @Mari-LouA: I am only saying without the edit submission also including the actual text (either as image or link to article), there was no way to verify the edit was correct. Web searches revealed links that also quoted the article, but I found no link to the article itself. I definitely didn't feel like the edit should have been approved in its current state. So I rejected instead of skipping. The OP of the question could have corrected the quoted text, since they were the one asking the question in the first place, so I presume the actual article was available to them. – jxh Jan 3 '16 at 20:43
  • @medica: It is wrong to assume a good edit is always acceptable. The quoted text needed to be fixed and that was good, but the fixes needed to be verifiable against the source. Since I could not verify them, and the edit submission did not include a way to verify them, it was not acceptable. – jxh Jan 3 '16 at 21:23
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    If you couldn't verify them, shouldn't you have clicked Skip? – Mazura Jan 7 '16 at 2:11
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    @Mazura: As I explained in a different comment, I did not feel the edit should be approved without a link or other way to verify the text. Edit proposer has already stated a screenshot was possible, but chose not to do it. – jxh Jan 7 '16 at 5:58
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    @medica: Honestly, there is nothing offered that would explain why it was a bad decision. I recognize the decision is unpopular, and will be more careful next time to not offend popular sensibilties. – jxh Jan 8 '16 at 23:09

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