On many sites there is quite a problem with robo approval of edits. This goes so far as to that people who are truly reviewing edits do not do this anymore because the edits will be approved by blindly approve hitting people anyways.

I am wondering if this site is going into that direction too.

I only have one datapoint which raises this question to me, but I nevertheless would like to raise awareness and discussion if this is or is not a problem. The datapoint is an edit that was approved.

The edit changed the title

Do lights on aircraft flash in a specific pattern?


What type of aircraft has white flashing lights & occasionally flashes red & blue?

it was done (afaict) by an anonymous user. The user clearly wanted to ask another/similar question which is evident by looking at the edit comment:

I've been seeing a lot of strange lights in the sky.

Out of three voting users, only one rejected the edit with the (canned?) message, the other approved it (and ever approved all of their review items).

This edit deviates from the original intent of the post. Even edits that must make drastic changes should strive to preserve the goals of the post's owner.

This indeed is the case here. I think from the title alone you can tell that my original intent was not to ask for a type of aircraft, nor was it to ask for red & blue lights. The latter being clear by no red and blue lights being ever mentioned in the question itself.

Since I have no access to the review queue or statistics, my question is:

was this just one outlier? Or is this an early sign of robo edit approbal problems?

  • $\begingroup$ in the review history page (you may need review privileges to view) I see a healthy mix of approve and reject. $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2015 at 8:29
  • $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak: yep, you need these priviliges to see it $\endgroup$
    – PlasmaHH
    Apr 23, 2015 at 8:31
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak that's subjective, sincerely. what is an "healthy mix"? 10 to 1? 20 to 1? and what's the actual ratio for this site? Personally I agree with PlasmaHH, my impression is that indeed there are users that blindly accept everything (new posts included) $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Apr 23, 2015 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ Doing a quick select UserId,VoteTypeId,count(*) from SuggestedEditVotes group by UserId,VoteTypeId order by UserId,VoteTypeId; does seem to at least indicate that most people that do more reviews and more approvals also have some rejects there, so it depends on the "healthy" ratio. But there are also some that have lots of approve but no rejects. $\endgroup$
    – PlasmaHH
    Apr 23, 2015 at 8:57
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think I was one of the two who approved. And looking at the context after the fact, yes I agree that there has been a problem. I didn't identify the author as anonymous, if I had, I'd would have rejected the change. I apologize for that sincerely. Lesson learned. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Apr 26, 2015 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ How does an anonymous user have clearance to edit question titles at all? Wouldn't they 0 rep? $\endgroup$
    – Dronz
    Apr 26, 2015 at 23:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Dronz they make suggested edits which have to be approved by other users. $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2015 at 0:07

1 Answer 1


Unless the two users who clicked approve care to comment, it's hard to know what they were thinking. In this case, it does seem like they should have hit reject.

Unlike Stack Overflow, we don't generally have much sitting in the review queue, so it's hard to tell if someone is acting like a robot or genuinely had some reason to believe the edit should be approved. It's also hard to gauge whether there is a site-wide trend.

I wouldn't worry about it too much for now, but bringing it up on meta is good, since it serves as a reminder not to just rubber stamp everything. If particular users become repeat offenders, we can talk to them directly.

  • $\begingroup$ When a mod is bored he can probably from time to time look at a sophisticated query similar to that I outlined in the comments to review reviews. $\endgroup$
    – PlasmaHH
    Apr 23, 2015 at 18:54
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @PlasmaHH Mods are frequently bored, however we're also terribly lazy and wickedly slothful. :) $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Apr 24, 2015 at 22:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "it's hard to know what they were thinking". I'm one of them, I must plead guilty. See my comment below the question. Posters are usually polite and respectful on Aviation.SE, I've been caught by surprise by a malicious user. At the time, the edit and the comment appeared a bit odd, but still in line with the initial question already speculating on some light pattern. I just though the edit was by the author. I'm sorry for this. I made the wrong reading, and this post is here to warn about slackening. Still there is some room between slackening and robot button clicking. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Apr 26, 2015 at 22:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @mins thanks for being a stand-up user in your response. I think we can consider this issue closed for now. $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2015 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I appreciate. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Apr 26, 2015 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ @mins just a couple of notes: authors can edit their posts without going through the queue; anonymous edits are not necessarily malicious, could also be a high rep user of another site that does not want to creat an account/get rep here for a single edit. Not to blame you, only to underline something that (it seems from what you write) is not clear to you. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Apr 27, 2015 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico: Author edits without review, I didn't know, you're right. Anonymous edits by users of other SE sites, good to have in mind.Thanks for sharing, and thanks for your understanding. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Apr 27, 2015 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @voretaq7 Are sure you're not bored, or lazy, or are you instead using most of your energy to simply relax and live life to the fullest? $\endgroup$
    – Zizouz212
    May 5, 2015 at 23:15

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