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When I start an edit on SO, I see this box:

You do not have edit privileges. Your edit will be placed in a queue until it is peer reviewed.

We welcome all constructive edits, but please make them substantial. Avoid trivial, tiny one-letter edits unless absolutely necessary.

I bolded the relevant part, because it conflicts with the following message:

Oops! Your edit couldn't be submitted because:

•Edits must be at least 6 characters; is there something else to improve in this post?

Nothing major, but the first message implies something that the second denies.

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This only applies to suggested edits. Once you earn full editing privileges, you're technically allowed to make all the trivial, tiny one-letter edits you want (although it's still probably not a good idea). – Pops Nov 18 '11 at 16:21
True, but the fact remains that (for those without edit privileges) there are two conflicting messages. – Toomai Nov 18 '11 at 16:24
Not arguing or complaining, just adding some additional info. – Pops Nov 18 '11 at 16:26
The sentence should say "Avoid trivial, tiny one-letter edits." – kiamlaluno Nov 18 '11 at 17:15
@kiamlaluno That still sounds like they might be possible. Otherwise, why tell people to avoid them? – lunboks Nov 18 '11 at 22:44
@lunboks You can say, "Avoid trivial, tiny one-letter edits, if you don't want they are automatically blocked." Nothing can avoid you enter a value that is then rejected. – kiamlaluno Nov 18 '11 at 23:07
I think that encouraging edits to be more substantial and less trivial is the exact opposite of what you ought to be encouraging people to do when they are editing other people's posts. the more "substantial" you try to make your edits, the more likely you are to make an edit that goes against the spirit of the original author's intent – Sam I am Jul 11 '12 at 21:32
Is this ever going to be changed? Was just about to post something about this... – StackExchange User Apr 14 '13 at 18:09

2 Answers 2

Amending the first text to agree with the second text might reduce the hurt feelings of people who have tried to improve the content here. (And then when bringing it up here, having questions closed or down-voted into oblivion... hardly welcoming.)

I propose the following:

You do not have edit privileges. Your edit will be placed in a queue until it is peer reviewed. We welcome all constructive edits, but please make them substantial. Until you earn more reputation points, you are limited to edits longer than six characters.

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This would be more clear and informative. I came to this question because I wanted clarification on what is considered a non-trivial edit. While you can't measure substance in character length alone, with this message in place I would at least have known whether my edit was even possible. – lime Jan 28 '13 at 19:30
FWIW, this is also inaccurate, as edits that change titles or tags can make changes totaling < 6 characters. Best off simply not mentioning characters in the informational messages. – Shog9 Oct 7 '14 at 1:55

Starting with the next build, we will simplify the wording to the following:

We welcome all constructive edits, but please make them substantial. Avoid trivial edits unless absolutely necessary.

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BTW, is there a minimum complexity for edits by high rep users anymore or not? Because I will be quite upset at a user who made a ton of useless whitespace changes if it wasn't simply to work around a number of characters changed threshold. – Ben Voigt Oct 6 '14 at 23:32
@BenVoigt There has never been a complexity requirement for high rep users (i.e. folks with the edit privileges) that I'm aware of. – Adam Lear Oct 6 '14 at 23:33
Ok, then any idea what possessed this user to go changing the number of spaces I put between sentences? It really makes the revision difference screen almost unusable. – Ben Voigt Oct 6 '14 at 23:38
@BenVoigt Peter is perhaps the most prolific editor we have network-wide. My best guess is that he is one of those people who doesn't buy the whole "put two spaces after each period" style guideline some schools teach. I can't speak for him, obviously, but I guess he started editing for some other reason - see his edit summary - and then got sidetracked. – Adam Lear Oct 6 '14 at 23:42
Yeah I see his edit history, it seems like mostly good edits but it's a little out of control, he's doing trivial edits to other fine answers also. – Ben Voigt Oct 6 '14 at 23:47
There is one place where high-rep users are subject to a complexity test, @Ben: if two editors both try to submit edits that change the body of a post, the more extensive change "wins" (the other edit will be discarded). – Shog9 Oct 7 '14 at 1:54

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