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As per this answers making tiny edits is not encouraged. Specifically edits that just make a single letter change or just remove salutations and thank yous. I buy it - as this may just tip an answer to be a community wiki, or even worse be used as a way to game the system for few reps.

As a reviewer, I feel uncomfortable approving such edits and even more uncomfortable rejecting them when the rejected edits are approved any ways. I think the reason why such minor edits are eventually approved is that not a lot of 'reviewer' (and editors) are aware of drawbacks of allowing such minor edits.

As a starter I would recommend linking to Jeff's answer in the 'minor edit' section of Reject dialog and potentially by alerting 'approver' when system detects a minor edit is being approved. Thoughts?

Minor Edits

Examples? Here are few edits that I believe should have been rejected. Please note - I don't intent to single out this user. It's just an example I came across that demonstrates this issue.

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I'd like to offer my answer to "Too minor" rejection reason either needs to be reworded or removed as another explanation of why minor edits are rejection-worthy. –  Josh Caswell Jul 14 '12 at 17:19
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Improved and the "This edit was useful" box unchecked as there are capitalisation problems as a minimum on most of those posts that should have been dealt with at the same time but not necessarily rejected. All things that improve a post are good. –  ben is uǝq backwards Jul 14 '12 at 17:22
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7 Answers 7

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The "too minor" reason is especially useful for someone that fixes a single character in the title, but leaves the same word misspelled several times in the body of the post.

Or, a user that obviously has searched for a particular misspelled word, and fixes that word only in a lot of posts, without doing any other needed fixups.

I don't feel bad for rejecting such edits.

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These I agree with, but these aren't the only situations presented by the OP (in fact they have only come up through discussion, and I'm not sure they're the obvious cases the OP was talking about). –  Aaron Bertrand Jul 15 '12 at 19:04
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When people write things like "confuzed" or "lolz" or "proceudre", or meaning-changing swaps between "than" and "that" or "than" and "then", or even worse riddled with lower-case "i", I feel compelled to fix it, even if it is minor. The site is supposed to represent questions in English, not in l33t speak or severely broken English. I don't think I'll ever reject a suggestion that fixes spelling. I don't know who it hurts to allow such an edit to pass, and I don't know who it helps to leave misspelled or misleading words.

The only people it hurts, I suppose, are the two people that have to approve the edit. If this is where you're spending most of your time in review, then hopefully you can skip those edits by reading the comment at the top. If it says "fixed spelling" or you can tell on quick glance that it is just spelling/grammar correction, then pass it over. I'll gladly take it off your plate, because I'd rather spend five seconds approving that edit than force tons of other people to spend five seconds stumbling on spelling/grammar issues. It can be extremely distracting to read this junk sometimes.

I realize this is subjective; a minor/needless correction to you might be a major/necessary correction to me, or vice-versa. But IMHO there is no correction too small if it leads to a more correct, clearer post. For the few that are trying to game the system, let them. Are they really going to become trusted users or moderators solely based on fishing the site for misspelled words? I doubt it. I think it's fine to reward them with the rep for some grunt work I only have to approve instead of actually correct myself.

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This is rather dangerous advice, given that users can gain +1000 rep from submitting trivial, meaningless suggested edits -- that takes time for two other users to read and approve. This is not a practice that should be encouraged. It's important that suggested edits be substantive. While "substantive" can be somewhat in the eye of the beholder, try to consider the value of your fellow users' time when evaluating suggested edits. Was this edit worth everyone's time? Did the person submitting the edit put a reasonable amount of effort into making the edit an actual improvement? –  Jeff Atwood Jul 16 '12 at 18:13
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@JeffAtwood So leave MSSQL instead of correcting it to SQL Server? Leave i instead of correcting it to I? Even if there is nothing else wrong? Ok, you do it your way, I'll keep doing it my way. –  Aaron Bertrand Jul 16 '12 at 18:17
    
bear in mind that if a post is bad enough, it should be flagged for deletion, not absorbing people's time. Don't hesitate to flag them. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 16 '12 at 18:19
    
we regularly clean up comments when they devolve into excessive bickering. Even if I'm the one bickering.. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 16 '12 at 18:19
    
@JeffAtwood I'm not talking about posts that are bad enough to be flagged for deletion. At all. –  Aaron Bertrand Jul 16 '12 at 18:20
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Except, in the case of trivial suggested edits, you are rewarding them for expending no effort at all. I have no problem with the type of edits you're describing from users who have earned the right to edit. But teaching new users that changing a single "i" to an "I" is a 'good' edit a) in a post which probably has multiple errors, if the author is careless enough to do that b) worse, rewarding them with rep for such a suggested edit ... is flat-out harmful. I've said my piece on this now and I will leave it alone, but suffice it to say I feel very strongly about it. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 16 '12 at 18:26
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@JeffAtwood well since you can't prevent users from suggesting such edits, the outcome is still the same: two users have to approve it, two users have to reject it, or one user has to improve it. I'm not a big fan of leaving i instead of I just for the sake of preventing some user from getting rewarded for it. If I've spent the time to review the post and see no other issues, then why shouldn't I pass it along? Isn't that the whole point of /review? I don't expect an answer, I just don't think it's as black and white as you're painting it. –  Aaron Bertrand Jul 16 '12 at 18:30
    
"This is rather dangerous advice, given that users can gain +1000 rep from submitting trivial, meaningless suggested edits" Sounds like a bug to me. Let minor edits go through if they are beneficial, but don't reward rep for them. –  endolith Jun 7 at 16:14
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In my opinion, there are minor edits and too minor edits. As the rejection reason says:

This edit is too minor; suggested edits should be substantive improvements addressing multiple issues in the post.

If a post contains a single spelling mistake, but it needs no further changes, removing that spelling mistake improves the post and addressing multiple issues is impossible. I approve such edits, since I don't think they're too minor.

But an edit that corrects the spelling of a single word or removes a "thank you" without even looking at the rest is, in fact, too minor and should get rejected.

Just yesterday, somebody suggested an edit because the OP tried to write through but wrote Threw instead. (shudder!) I would have gladly accepted that edit, but the post was pretty much a mess: Spelling mistakes, missing or misplaced commas and periods, superfluous parentheses all over the place. Sorry, that has to get fixed too...

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In addition to excellent answers above, there is yet another consideration.

Spelling is extremely important because it impacts article's searchability.
The higher the article in search results on a certain query, the more likely a newbie comes to SO.
The more people visit SO, the better the ultimate goal is accomplished.

Yes, misuse and even edit wars are possible, but it should be addressed in a different manner.

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I'll +1 as this is the first time I heard of searchability. Guess I need more SEO lessons.. –  Fabrício Matté Jul 14 '12 at 7:05
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As a non-native speaker of English, I have to say that even small corrections to spelling, grammar and punctuation can improve the readability of a post. It is hard enough to learn a foreign language, but having to parse a post against possible misspellings only makes it harder.

Also, for OS X users, if you double-tap with three fingers on a word, you get a great dictionary to pop up with an explanation of the word - but it has to be spelled right in the first place.

So please continue to accept corrections, even small ones, of spelling and grammar.

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The thing with single character edits is that on SO it takes one 2k user to perform it directly (without a review), but it takes two 2k users to review a proposed edit. And there is a limit to the number of reviews you can approve. It's all about economy. :-) –  Bo Persson Jul 14 '12 at 16:08
    
@BoPersson this is exactly why I suggested that it should be easier for 10K or trusted users to approve edits without requiring a second set of eyes. –  Aaron Bertrand Jul 15 '12 at 19:02
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Specifically edits that just make a single letter change or just remove salutations and thank yous.

I would normally reject a single letter change as well - except where it matters either with spelling or grammatically (especially in the title).

Salutations and thanks are frowned upon. If someone had taken the time to edit them out then I would approve that edit. Jeff's answer is more about tweakers - those whose edits are inconsequential, simply to earn rep. They aren't always bad edits, just unnecessary - the post could have survived fine without the edit - they can still be approved if they actually improve the post.

In the examples you have listed, if I was reviewing the edit I would approve it because it has actually improved the post, even if only marginally. Would I have made the edit myself - probably not. Could that member be consider a tweaker - yes. If enough of those edits are rejected then they will lose their privilege for a period of time. Alternatively they could be persuaded to turn their attention to finding posts more in need of editing.

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I personally consider these cases minor edits. I mostly reject them:

  • Simply remove thanks although there are other problems with the post.
  • Bold/italicize haphazardly, or a code formatting is appropriate instead. (Improve and uncheck helpful).
  • Re-indentation of code that is well-indented, but has extra indentation that doesn't cause it to be not readable.
  • Small fixes where there are many other grammar/style problems.
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