I was bewildered when I saw this edit approved by a Moderator until I saw his comment explaining the reasoning for that action. Before that edit, the same editor suggested another edit here. Note that the editor and the author of the post shares the same name, which is what I meant in the title. (But sometimes, the name of the editor is different, and the edit note in the comment or the body says that s/he is the author of it.)

Revision 2 was approved by users (non-Moderators) which is the central issue here.

I should clear my stand that I'm not questioning the judgement of my peers, but I rather need a consensus from the Community (especially from Moderators) here whether edits from users posing as the author of the post should be approved by non-Moderators or not?

The reason I focused on 'approve' and not 'review' is because I see so issue in rejecting such edits downright but with a custom explanation.

Related edits I once encountered:

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    As someone who approved one of the edits you've mentioned, I am interested in the thoughts of the community too. Personally I think that If the edit adds useful information to the question then I don't see why it should be rejected, although I think a comment should be left advising the user to merge their accounts. What do you see as the benefit to rejecting the edit?
    – bmdixon
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:43
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    @bmdixon I reject them on the ground that they deviate from what the author originally said (additional info in such edits usually means clarifying the situation when asked by readers from the comments, and that should only come from the Poster, not somebody else). Even if I'm convinced somehow that both users are same, I won't go for Approve (since only Mods can verify the things) because that would mean allowing the user to violate the edit guidelines, and user might take it as a wrong message. I prefer rejecting them with a custom message pointing to a comment having an explanation for it.
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 14:41
  • Fair enough, that's not something I've really considered before. You're right about it allowing them to violate the rules (even if it is the same person, just a different user). I'm interested to hear what others think, I'll certainly consider these edits differently from now on though.
    – bmdixon
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


You, as a user, are absolutely right to reject such edits.

As a mod I am able to see the account's e-mail address, IP, etc. Putting all factors together, I was certain the two users were one and the same. I wouldn't have approved the edit otherwise.

The account merge process is relatively slow (TBH I resent the fact that they took the ability to do it away from all moderators based on the fact that others misused it), so I think overall it was the best thing to do here so that they can get help.

We obviously don't want to encourage multiple unregistered accounts and such, but this is not something I've done regularly either. If we want a zero tolerance policy I can live with that.

  • Thanks for the answer. I thought the site's Moderators could always merge the two accounts on the same site until saw the fact here. I suppose that's the reason you approved this edit yet the accounts are yet to be merged. // The related edit I mentioned here: is this the case of account merge? The author and editor are same.
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 15:19
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    @Firelord Your guess about the second one is correct, I can see that the users were merged on the same day the edit was proposed -- presumably after the edit. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 15:25
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    Thanks for the clarification. I will reject edits like this in future.
    – bmdixon
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 15:42
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    Ehhh, I wouldn't word it so strongly. It seems that your answer is interpreted as forbidding accepting these edits, but I don't see what's wrong with accepting such edits (assuming of course that the clues point to the second account being the same user). Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 20:56

If it's clear from context that the user suggesting the edit is the same person as the user who posted the post, then yes, please do approve the edit. Typical clues include:

  • The poster is an unregistered user (identified by a browser cookie rather than a long-term credential), who is rather new to Stack Exchange (typically, that's their first question).
  • The suggested edit is either anonymous or from an account created later than the post. If the latter, the account has the same display name and avatar, or has manually chosen display name and avatar as opposed to userNNN and the Gravatar hash patterns.
  • The edit adds information that was requested and is not controversial in any way.
  • The wording of the edit suggests that this is the same person (“here's my configuration as requested”, as opposed to “I have this problem too”).

While it's theoretically possible that someone would suggest such an edit with incorrect information because they have the same problem or just to troll, it's unlikely. “I have the same problem” cases are clear from wording. Troll cases can happen, but on factual matters, there's nothing to troll. If an edit suggests text that's an opinion piece, then you should reject it.

Accepting the edit obviously helps the original user. It also helps the site as a whole it means that the post will get into an acceptable state sooner, so there are fewer moderation actions to take, there are fewer bad posts around, and helping the user drives engagement up.

If the suggested edit is from a second account, please leave a comment pointing to the help center, something like

You seem to have accidentally created a second account. Please see [the help center](https://android.stackexchange.com/help/merging-accounts) for how to merge them. Once you merge your accounts, you will be able to edit your posts directly.

This is the policy I follow (whether I'm a moderator or not, I don't see why it would make a difference), and until I saw your question in the moderator election it wouldn't have occurred to me that a site would have a policy against it. Having now seen this meta thread, it still isn't clear to me:

I'm not a regular here and I don't have enough reputation to review suggested edits, so don't worry, I won't approve edits by a second account of the same user on this site. Nonetheless I'd like to understand why you find my behavior (on other sites) objectionable.

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    Gilles, thank you, for your answer. Now, to the points in the second section: 1) I don't approve because it appears at the superficial level that the author and poster are same. Only the moderators have the tools to actually go in detail and see if the reality differs. Also, I review by book. If something differs from the book, being a mortal I reject it. That said, I always reject with a link to *account merge page.* 2) content in an edit that doesn't come from OP's comments on post or provides related resources/hyperlinks is I consider deviation from author's intent...cont'd..
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 23:25
  • ...3) I find it as a problem because until you posted an answer, Matthew's answer was the only answer reflecting a moderator's as well as community's stance on such edits, which acted as a policy in itself. I find deviation from the policy a problem to be dealt with. Now, the question I posted for candidates, I clearly asked there that they should tell us (if they feel) why they do not find such edits a problem at all? That should explain that I, at that time and still now open to suggestions here. If your answer is upvoted beyond Matthew's I'll abide by your view. Simple as that. :-)
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 23:30
  • @Firelord (1) While moderators have more tools, ultimately, it's impossible to be 100% sure whether two users are the same person, so the difference between moderators and non-moderators is a matter of degree. (1') The first rule of the book is: if moderation tasks can be done by a computer then let a computer do it. The reasons humans are involved are to apply common sense. (2) is contradictory: it only applies if the edit comes from a different person. Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 23:44
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    Your (2) is dependent on your (1) so you're interpreting my 2) as contradictory, while I already take the stance that I would not be approving any edit which deviates from the broad guidelines stated. 2) I'll prefer to clear that the reason I prefer a book than apply that sense you're referring to is because your approach would cause approval of trolls at some point and it would. My approach makes sure that it never happens. I also let the editor know that they should go for an account merge so it's not that I don't want the question to be improved either.
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 23:50

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