Recently, as a newbie editor, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of being asked to approve an edit to a post from a contributor of long standing (actually a moderator).

The suggested edit was from a contributor with low rep. The edit removed some extraneous material, some so-called noise, which had nothing to do with the actual topic.

I rejected the edit, thinking "if Mr Moderator wants to put in a little announcement, who is this fractious fellow to naysay him".

On checking the post again later, I saw the edit had been approved by another (and presumably wiser) head than mine.

Well, as it turns out, the fellow was a programmer from Stack, who I suppose was following strict site guidelines.

Should I have followed the guidelines and approved the edit, or are we allowed to cut people some slack now and then if they would like to make an announcement? I know such should go in the comment section, but I really felt like I was in a difficult place.

  • 6
    You're referring to Yoichi's post earlier today, aren't you? I don't think there's any harm in nominating who the moderator is, and I saw the edit too and thought it was a little "coldblooded" too. The edit was legitimate mind you, on any other occasion I would have fully approved but this time it was just... insensitive? Yoichi had left a warm message of welcome.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 2, 2017 at 21:22
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    @Mari-LouA I know, right? For gods sake I felt bad about that. I really enjoy his viewpoint. Jan 2, 2017 at 21:26
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    If Yoichi had wanted to, he could have rolled back the edit but because no one had said a word, I suppose he thought it was best to leave the edit. I am glad that you spoke up though, I thought I was alone in feeling slightly awkward and sorry. It was really a lovely (off-topic) message, quite charming.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 2, 2017 at 21:31
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    @Mari-LouA Probably not removing it was what we used to call a "cultural thing"--dont know if you can say that these days.....Now I see it has been edited twice more... Jan 2, 2017 at 21:35
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    I can't say anything about this without saying too much, except: I'd like to see the Q rolled back to its original form.
    – ab2
    Jan 2, 2017 at 21:43
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    Seems Yoichi was happy with the edit, he approved of it english.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/215648 the man is ninety! 90 years old and still churning out great questions! ☺ P.S His profile says he's only 82, but that was probably written six years ago, which means he's more likely to be 88.. Mystery surrounds his real age.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 2, 2017 at 22:15
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    Noise isn't always bad, as Penzias and Wilson found in 1964. Editing out that human touch -- defensible; his description of the edit in the edit history, indefensible and explainable only as that he has a tin ear.
    – ab2
    Jan 3, 2017 at 22:20

3 Answers 3


I can see why you might feel uncomfortable approving such an edit.

But I would also say you shouldn't reject a proposed edit that conforms to the site guidelines—at least, not in a case like this, where it's clear that the original poster is still active on this site and able to decide whether or not to accept the edit.

I think the third option is best: skip this item in the review queue and let other people deal with it. (This is generally a good option whenever you feel a review task is too difficult.)


Without seeing the post in question, it is difficult to judge. It sounds as though you declined to approve an edit to a completely understandable post which, however, wandered slightly off the point in a human sort of way. The edit was subsequently approved by someone who wanted to stick to the letter of the rules. The fact that the OP is a moderator or has a very high rep should only make you wonder if maybe he knows something you do not, but it should not make you tug your forelock in deference. (Now that I've seen the question and the edits, I know I would have done as you did.)

  • Should I post the pertinent link in the Q? Jan 2, 2017 at 20:36
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    @Cascabel My feeling is not, at least not yet. If your question gives rise to a debate, then yes.
    – ab2
    Jan 2, 2017 at 20:39
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    @Cascabel most recently-active high rep users can correctly guess what question you're referring to anyway. So no, don't post the link to it.
    – NVZ Mod
    Jan 3, 2017 at 3:12
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    @NVZ: Not a link to the question itself, but it might be useful for lower-rep users to know that the edit being referred to here was to remove "non-question noise". To wit: A Happy New Year. This is my 999th question, short of one to 1000 mark since I joined EL&U community six years ago, that would have commemorated my 84th birthday. In the circumstances, I think it's a bit ott to insist that anything like that must be instantly removed. Jan 3, 2017 at 17:28
  • @FumbleFingers That is fine. :)
    – NVZ Mod
    Jan 3, 2017 at 17:33

As others have said, if the edit sticks to the site's rules then it is fair enough for it to be approved. However, the message you allude to was a commemorating the OP's 999th question and mentions how long they've been a part of the community. When this is taken into account, the edit does seem a little cold-hearted, particularly calling the innocent message "non-question noise".
Nonetheless, I think that it is fair enough that we remove the message as this is something that is done without a thought to lower rep users and it is just hypocrisy if we let some get away with it but not others.

As a compromise, I would approve the edit but recommend in the comments that the OP write a comment celebrating the post and their service to this community which we can all up-vote and congratulate them on without it getting in the way of the question.

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