|Recently we have noticed a sharp increase in requests for opinions on editing sent close to a challenge rollover. As a result, this has meant that in some cases, we were unable to reply to the photographer before the challenge deadline.
Please be aware that in order to provide a meaningful opinion on the legality of an edit, we need to go through much of the same discussion process (minus the EXIF checking) that we would for a normal validation -- especially if it's a borderline case. Bear in mind, also, that if you're asking the question, you probably think the edit is a borderline case -- which means that we are likely to think the same, and therefore need time for discussion.
Please also note that pre-challenge editing opinions based on the review of only a few Site Council members are not guaranteed to accurately represent the opinion of the Site Council as a whole. The later your request, the fewer Site Council members will have time to review it -- and the more likely those members will not be a representative sample. An error in our reply does not prevent a disqualification, though it would be considered when discussing whether to apply a penalty for multiple DQ's.
What this means is that if you are considering an edit that you're not sure is legal, and you would like a review by the Site Council, you should submit your request as early as possible. In many cases, it's not necessary to complete your editing before making the request -- the original (or a resized version of the original) and a description of the edits in question may be enough. The more time you give us, the better we can help you.