# Stop killing suggested edits in the name of “conflicted with a subsequent edit”

I saw this and thought to edit it by adding a blockquote, do some MathJax formatting and editing tags. And so I devoted 7 minutes (on a mobile device), trying to make StackExchange a better place. And just when I submitted my edit, suddenly out of nowhere, @BenCrowell just did this edit (yeah I know his rep is >2000 so his edits are applied immediately...). Now there is nothing wrong with him doing that edit.

Here's where the wrong stuff starts... My edit (as you would already have seen, hopefully) was straightaway rejected. You can even see the time... It is like damn close. This made me quite angry (you would have already felt the anger). And yes this has demotivated me from editing more than anything else. I devote my time, on an uncomfortable mobile device, at the time when I was supposed to be having a good sleep, to make a community better, the @Community♦ rejects it. This has not been the first time that a subsequent edit just ruined my efforts, but this time the timing of the events are just too frustrating for anyone.

Can't we stop rejecting the suggested edits just because someone else has edited the post after the edit was suggested?

I know this is sounding like a rant and, to be honest, I am willfully ranting because I am really disappointed right now. Some of the things in my post may be impulsive. And I know that I have written a lot of irrelevant stuff here but that's just to show you the frustration. I know this post will surely be closed either as a duplicate or maybe as off-topic(BTW do we have that off-topic reason on Meta?). I know, I know... This isn't a really big deal. I should take it lightly, but I am sorry, it's worthy enough to be given attention and changed. Edit this post. It is my worst one. :(

In all my sanity, I request you: PLEASE take some action!!

This question is not a request to accept my edit. This question was written with a greater motive. I wanted the system to change. Also I am not demanding any radical changes. So I request everyone who sees this question to not just point out mistakes in my edit and comment about my slow editing skills. I think we all should constructively try to either implement a solution or search a solution (if we don't have one yet). The change demanded here, if implemented, will have broad consequences. If you think this is trivial, then what changes do you expect in an established community? Of course, SE community already has the essential good things. It is only this kind of trivial stuff which needs attention. And working on these trivial but common stuff will make SE even better.

• It's not really off-topic here, but feature requests like this are more appropriate on mother Meta Stack Exchange. – ACuriousMind Dec 29 '19 at 19:14
• The alternative to not throwing away your edit would be to throw away the earlier editor’s edit; since the two conflict you just can’t have both. So are you proposing a general rule that the later edit should always be kept? Can you not see how that would end up annoying a lot of people, including you? – knzhou Dec 29 '19 at 19:15
• @ACuriousMind Hmmm.. I think I will try to post it in Meta Stack Exchange tomorrow, when I would have cooled down. – user243267 Dec 29 '19 at 19:16
• @knzhou Nope! I am just saying that let the suggested edits be there. At least let them get reviewed. If they are approved then the post is edited accordingly. So although the high rep editor gets his edit done but the suggested edit is not just wasted. – user243267 Dec 29 '19 at 19:17
• Also, if you want to edit really slowly on a mobile device, that’s entirely your own choice; nobody is forcing you to do that! Are you asking for the rules to be bent in favor of people who edit slower? How would that even work? – knzhou Dec 29 '19 at 19:18
• @knzhou the time was just a metaphor for the effort put in!! Please don't take everything too literally. – user243267 Dec 29 '19 at 19:19
• So you’re suggesting that other people should approve your edit without knowledge of edits that have already happened, and upon approval your edit should overwrite an edit that has already happened? Can’t you see this is simply “wasting” BenCrowell’s edit? – knzhou Dec 29 '19 at 19:20
• No, when they are comparing my edit, they should see the original question along with Ben's edit. So they should always compare my edit with the question form at that time, not the initial question. – user243267 Dec 29 '19 at 19:22
• The Community rejection is not something anyone here can control, it's an automatic feature of the SE software. – Kyle Kanos Dec 29 '19 at 19:31
• FYI, I personally would have rejected your edit anyways. Most of it doesn't really seem like an improvement to me, just some personal style choices that you seem to be trying to impose on a lot of questions (I'm really not a fan of suggested edits being full of just recentering equations). But besides most of it just being visual changes that aren't necessarily helpful, your edit also changed the last equation. It's not clear why you're changing the equations the OP is writing; so I would say it conflicts with the authors intent. – JMac Dec 29 '19 at 20:53
• Additionally to the previous two comments, one should never use \frac in text due you readability/legibility issues. Just leave it as $a/b$ and use parenthesis. – Kyle Kanos Dec 29 '19 at 22:36
• @knzhou For what it's worth, it's not the earliest edit that was kept in this case- the suggested edit was overridden by a more privileged user that started editing before FakeMod submitted and submitted their edit immediately after. – Chris Dec 29 '19 at 22:50
• This is such s trivial issue... – ZeroTheHero Dec 30 '19 at 3:42
• You only noted my last point, not the points which I wrote above. @FakeMod, I know you are doing with good gesture, but the users on site doesn't, t understand that. I know you are correct that, s why I upvoted your question, but as I said there is no one who can judge this!. – Jack Rod Dec 30 '19 at 11:59
• Cool, I know one day you will revolutionize this network, @FakeMod – Jack Rod Dec 30 '19 at 12:04

There isn't really anything else sensible the system can do- it's not smart enough to combine the suggested edits, so it has to pick one over the other. You are of course welcome to incorporate the new changes into your own edit and resubmit it.

This is a fairly unusual edge case anyway- it can only happen if someone starts and finishes editing at around the same time as you do, while you have less than 2k reputation and they have more. Take heart in the fact that it's rather unlikely this will ever happen to you again!

• Well I don't think combining edits will work. Rather I think that when you review the edit, the system should show you the latest/present form of the question instead of the original unedited one. This way, both the edits can be safely preserved. Is this kind of thing possible? – user243267 Dec 30 '19 at 4:58
• @FakeMod Most of the time, that will leave it just looking like you are reverting a bunch of good edits and making some other ones, and would rightly be rejected. In any case, that doesn't preserve both edits- you still end up picking one and discarding the other. – Chris Dec 30 '19 at 6:16
• Also, can we put some kind of mechanism such that a high rep user who wants to edit a question will have to first review the pending suggested edit of that question. He can then either accept, reject or edit the suggested edit. This way he will able to get his edit done and the suggester will also get his edit reviewed. But yeah there might be cases where a suggested edit wouldn't have been reviewed even once. In those cases, this system would only work if the approval of a single person would allow the suggested edit to be done. – user243267 Dec 30 '19 at 12:30
• @FakeMod That already happens. The problem here is that Ben finished his edit before you even submitted yours. – knzhou Dec 30 '19 at 22:34
• Since we haven’t invented time travel, there’s no reasonable way to stop a high rep user from editing on the grounds that a low rep user might submit a conflicting edit later. If you really applied that role consistently, no edits would ever happen. – knzhou Dec 30 '19 at 22:35
• @knzhou That's not true. Ben submitted their edit 6 seconds after FakeMod submitted theirs. (The timestamps are 2019-12-29 18:42:27Z and 2019-12-29 18:42:33Z) – Chris Dec 31 '19 at 0:26
• @FakeMod That already happens in most cases, though. It's only when both the high- and low- rep users are editing at about the same time this can happen. And regardless, any request for a new mechanism should go on the mother meta if you actually want any developers to see it. – Chris Dec 31 '19 at 0:27
• @Chris Last I heard, the SE team monitors both per-site metas as well as the mother meta site for feature requests... or at least they try, although the volume is probably too high for them to keep up with in general. – David Z Dec 31 '19 at 2:36
• @Chris and knzhou, I didn't know that. If already a system like that is in place, then I am happy!! My edit conflict is just a rare case. But if in other cases there is such a system in place, then there is no need for any other mechanism. Thanks for informing me about this :) – user243267 Dec 31 '19 at 4:56

I feel that there is a way to bypass this problem i.e., by saving the edits made by the given low rep user and then suggesting him/her to recheck it as per the modifications made by the high reps user (rep >2000) and then allowing him/her to submit the modified version. In due process no ones work would go in vain and contributors like you and Ben both would be happy.

Though I doubt if this would be possible to implement as the SE team already has a lot of work to do.

• This idea is great if it can be implemented. – user243267 Dec 30 '19 at 7:06
• I think spending this much energy just for edits is not reasonable. – user240696 Dec 30 '19 at 7:55
• This would be possible in some situations by way of a three-way merge tool. This is a very powerful technique and one we use in another scenario already... Which is how I know that it can be incredibly confusing for folks who aren't already familiar with such tooling. I've seen more mistakes made this way than I have successes... So while it isn't out of the question, I suspect we're better off relying on folks to do it manually (comparing the rejected edit with the current state of the post). – Shog9 Dec 31 '19 at 17:04