I have a review/moderation system for content submissions. Each submission may have one of the following statuses:

  1. Submitted, pending review/moderation. Action: submit() triggered by the User when submitting, events fired: submitting, submitted.
  2. Needs Improvement, I use this status to tell the user that his submission needs a correction/revision before it can be approved. Action: needsImprovement() triggered by Me, events fired: needingImprovement, neededImprovement.
  3. Improved, the user has submitted a correction/revision as requested. Action: improve() triggered by the User, events fired: improving, improved.
  4. Approved. Action: approve() triggered by the Me, events fired: approving , approved.
  5. Rejected. Action: reject() triggered by the Me, events fired: rejecting, rejected.

Can someone please let me know if there is a single word that can be used to replace Needs Improvement status?

Thanks in advance.

  • Why is Needs Improvement of a different form than the others? As suggested in the other comment, if you don't have Needs Approval, Needs Publishing, or Needs Rejection, why are you using Needs Improvement in the first place? It should follow the same form as the others, and just be Improved. Nov 29, 2018 at 9:26
  • @JasonBassford Beacuse when I reviewing user's submission and when I feel that his submission is nearly mets all criterias, I don't want to just reject it because once a submission rejected the system will automatically delete it from database. Instead, I want to tell the user that his submission is "Needs some improvements" before it can be approved and mark it with a unique status. I just can't find a proper term for it, that's why I posted this question here.
    – Rifki
    Nov 29, 2018 at 13:32
  • @JEL Thank you! Actually, the improve() action is already exists, it's called when the user submitting a revision for his submission that currently has "Needs Improvement" status, once a revision submitted the status will be revert back to "Submitted" so it can be included in pending review list.
    – Rifki
    Nov 29, 2018 at 13:41
  • I don't get it. You say you already have improve() and are mapping it to Needs Improvement to the user. As the first comment says, why can't you just called the fired events Improving and Improved? Nov 29, 2018 at 14:16
  • 1
    Naming of classes and variables is explicitly off-topic
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 31, 2019 at 10:43

7 Answers 7


I guess you want a past tense verb as well here in order to describe the completed salient activity.

Reviewed might work for you, or alternatively screened if you wanted to keep the review for the final stage which results in either approval or rejection.


Deficient -- the state of containing one or more deficiencies.

If a submission is found to be deficient, then it will not be approved until those deficiencies are amended.


My suggestions are:

  • Inadequate - meaning that the submission doesn't meet the requirements or it is insufficient for its purpose;
  • Incomplete - meaning that the submission doesn't have all the parts necessary for its approval;
  • Unsatisfactory - meaning that the submission isn't good enough (as simple as that)
  • 1
    Welcome to ELU. Apart from the fact that you have answered an off-topic question, we do expect answers here to explain themselves. A list of words with no explanation of how they are relevant is not a good answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 31, 2019 at 10:46
  • Thanks @Andrew for your comment; being a new user, I have yet to understand which questions are regarded as "off-topic", but I agree that my original comment wasn't informative enough, so I edited it. Aug 31, 2019 at 11:07

The problem with the question is the false assumption that steps 2. and 3. need to be completely separate processes.

By making them separate, it leads to some confusion and redundancy.

I suggest the following:

2 a) Needs Improvement, I use this status to tell the user that his submission needs a correction/revision before it can be approved. Action: improve() triggered by Me, event fired: improving.

2 b) Improved, the user has submitted a correction/revision as requested. Action: improve() triggered by the User, event fired: improved.

Both you and the user trigger the same action improve(). If you trigger the action, then the improving event is fired and the status is set to Needs Improvement. If the user triggers the action, then the improved event is fired and the status is set to Improved.

Depending on who triggers the action improve(), the system fires the appropriate event.

This also allows for you to look at an improvement and determine if it needs further improvement, thereby allowing multiple iterations until something is finally approved (or possibly rejected).

Note: If changing the code to accommodate this simpler status-based flow isn't an option, I still recommend only presenting two status messages to the user: Needs Improvement and Improved. (With a possible interim Improving.) One represents that they need to work on something, the other that they've already worked on it and returned it for further review.

Regardless of what you name the functions and events in the code—or what you see when looking at the interface—having synonyms for needs improvement, improved, or even rejected (as with the soft-rejected idea from a comment) at the same time as the original will result in users become puzzled and perhaps complaining about the extra words and status messages.

If there must be an extra status message shown to the user, I suggest Under Review (review(), reviewing, reviewed). It's neutral, without the somewhat negative connotation of Soft-Rejection that's been mentioned in comments.

  • Thanks for your answer, in my system the ing event is fired before the system change the status and ed event fired after the status has been changed. For example, when approve() action is called, there is a piece of code that listens for approving event, it checks whether someone who triggered the action has permission to do that or not if it returns falsestop and cancel the action, if it returns true the continue the process, set the status to Approved, once status changed then the system will fire approved event and there is another piece of code listen to it.
    – Rifki
    Nov 30, 2018 at 3:57
  • Combining Needs Improvement and Improved status will lead to more confusion in my system, for example when querying submissions that already improved by the user and querying submissions that still waiting to be improved. I this case, I have to refactor my codebase completely which I'm trying to avoid. Let's don't talk about how my system works, I just need a single word recommendation for Needs Improvement if there is any, if no then I will stick to it or use Soft-rejected.
    – Rifki
    Nov 30, 2018 at 4:09
  • @Rifki I've updated my answer. You can use whatever naming you want for the extra step inside the code itself, but I think its simpler for the user, and won't present any confusion, if they only see two status messages: needs improvement and improved. The code itself can do different things, and you can see different things, but I wouldn't present those extra steps to the user. Nov 30, 2018 at 7:01
  • @Rifki Note: If you are going with something like Soft-Rejected, and you do show it to the user, I would pick Soft-Approved instead, just so that it has a positive feel to it rather than a negative one. Or, alternatively, Under Review, which doesn't rely on referring to any particular final decision. Nov 30, 2018 at 7:11

"Lacking." A tad judgy, but I think it fits the bill. Or "incomplete" if you want to be more literal and neutral.



Examine and make corrections or alterations to (written or printed matter) ODO

Rather than a state (e.g. rejected) an action to be taken by the submitter before any further action can be taken by the system. You would likely need another state, Resubmitted.


Challenged: The submitted content has been challenged by the reviewer and needs to be defended or improved to overcome the challenge and get accepted, or it will be rejected.

Criticized: The submitted content has been criticized by the reviewer and needs to be improved to incorporate the criticism.

Suspended: The submitted content has been deferred / postponed by the reviewer and needs to be improved before the suspension is lifted.

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