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Sometimes I edit others' questions or answers for minor things like readability and grammar. I have status on this site that lets me edit their content immediately, without my edits going into a queue.

However, some times, I'll find a post where a lower-statused user (who cannot directly edit posts, but must submit suggested edits that go into the edit queue) has already suggested edits. I discover this by clicking on the edit button, and instead of being prompted with the edit box allowing me to type my own edits, I am prompted with the other user's edit as if I was approving edits in the queue.

I often click the 'Approve' button for these edits, after reviewing them - since they often make the same changes I was about to make anyways. However, if the pending edit has no other votes, I get a message stating that the edit needs other review votes before it is applied. Further, I am not allowed to edit the post myself, because of the pending edit in the queue. So, basically, a user who has the ability to edit posts without review (me) is prevented from editing a post, or even approving an edit, without others' agreement.

I understand the concept of the edit queue, and also the concept of giving trusted users the ability to directly edit posts without review, but it seems like these two related functions were implemented without any coordination: Why give a user the ability to instantly edit a post themselves, but then not let them instantly approve others' edits? Further, why block that user from doing the edit themselves, even if a pending edit is in the queue?

Am I missing something? Or misunderstanding the intent of these features? It's not a big deal, it just strikes me as odd.

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What you're missing is the Improve Edit button. It's the second one here:

approve, improve edit, reject and edit, reject, skip

The Approve and Reject buttons are the one you're used to, and it's what we'll use most of the time. However if you also want to do your own edit you need to use either Improve Edit or Reject and Edit:

  • Improve Edit will give you their edited version of the post and let you make further changes. Once you save your changes the following things happen: their edit is unilaterally approved and applied, and then your changes are further applied.
  • Reject and Edit will give you the un-edited version of the post instead to make revisions, and once you save your changes, their edit is unilaterally rejected and your edit is applied to the post intsead.

Both let you approve/reject without a second approver, which for some people has raised alarm bells for possible abuse, but it's generally withstood the test of time. Use this power well and responsibly.

This does mean you have to know in advance what you want to do. If you Approve/Reject then five seconds later realise there's changes you want to make, you just have to wait. :'(

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    Well thanks, that makes it very clear. I hadn't realized those two functions behaved that way. – dwizum Apr 24 '19 at 16:31

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