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Suggested edits with changes that result in no diffs when white space addition is ignored should be approved instantly, regardless of the reputation of the editor.

The rationale is that if you see an edit that adds white space or blank lines, you know that the edit has been a formatting change; the substance of the question or answer is guaranteed to be preserved, so an instant automatic approval gives you benefits with very tiny potential risk of vandalism.

One way to tell if this idea is worth implementing would be to run the stats on the all edits (if SO keeps a history of the rejected as well as the approved edits) and see what percentage of edits that add only white space and blank lines get rejected. If my observations are correct, the number should be very close to 0%.

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Python code is heavily dependent on indentation. Badly indented code can change the meaning. –  nhahtdh Jul 19 '12 at 15:13
    
I'm resisting the urge to vandalize this post by entering thousands of spaces/newlines/tabs everywhere. –  Servy Jul 19 '12 at 15:36

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think you'll find a lot of edits that contain only whitespace alterations will and should be rejected; for being too minor.

In posts where such basic formatting mistakes are made, I can bet some $$ that there will be other mistakes, such as grammar or spelling errors.

Just as we ask people in the tag cleanup to fix other problems with the post, we also expect you to spend a bit of time improving posts, as well as sticking a CR here and there.

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I do not have the stats, but my experience has been that novice users would often forget to indent, making the code part of the question completely unreadable. Then another user would add the missing white space, but the question would remain unreadable while it is stuck in the approval queue. It is this problem that I would like to address. –  dasblinkenlight Jul 19 '12 at 15:13
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@dasblinkenlight: You'll be surprised how many users in-correctly fix the indentation; e.g. by intending the whole question, or accidently un-indenting sections. –  Matt Jul 19 '12 at 15:14
    
Yeah, I wish an insider commented on the rejection rate of white space - only edits. As far as un-indenting goes, I would not instantly approve edits that remove even a single character, including white space characters and blank lines. –  dasblinkenlight Jul 19 '12 at 15:18
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@dasblinkenlight: White space only edits are blocked, so there's no stats on them; currently edits must contain at-least 6 non-white-space changes. –  Matt Jul 19 '12 at 15:19
    
White space only edits are blocked Oops, I did not know that :) I guess it settles it then. –  dasblinkenlight Jul 19 '12 at 15:21

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