It really bugs me to see tiny edits to posts that need major editing. For example, I mean edits that
- fix two or three typos but ignore other instances of the same typo just a few sentences away;
- indent code by four spaces but completely ignore atrocious spelling/grammar; or
- just remove "thanx" while leaving the entire rest of a post written in txtspk.
I don't know if these show laziness, incompetence or apathy, but these are not complex or subtle problems that certain editors are missing. Technically, these edits do make posts "better," but the improvements are so insignificant that I have a hard time considering them desirable.
This isn't purely griping. These edits can be problematic. If one user submits a comprehensive edit and another user submits a partial edit, the partial edit will get lost. At best, the partial editor's time will have been wasted; at worst, the partial editor will also have fixed something that the comprehensive editor fixed poorly or missed entirely.
Even worse is the situation AnnaLear mentions in a comment under this answer (which inspired this question): two partial editors fixing different parts of a post. At least one person's time will have been wasted, and about half the post will remain unfixed.
How can we reduce the frequency of these low-quality edits and/or encourage better editing? I have two ideas, which I will post as answers. They're not great, but hopefully they'll be useful for brainstorming.
Keep in mind that we can't be too aggressive. Sometimes, people are incapable of making "complete" edits. Often, this is because English isn't their primary language. Lack of expertise in the subject matter can also contribute. We definitely shouldn't alienate partial editors who do a great job at the parts of editing that they can do.