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This is going to be pretty short and somewhat to the point. I have a big problem with what goes on in the suggested edits section of /review. Obviously there is a lot of mindless approval going on, but I think that the other big problem here is the massive amount of "too minor" edits that are slipping through.

The argument has already been made that these edits still benefit the site, which of course is true. But, a lot of them technically are still too minor.

I propose a simple little "minor" check box next to the approve button that allows us to approve a minor edit but with a diminished reward the the editor. (1 or 0 rep for approval) I can't be the only one who's getting sick of having to reject people all day.

A couple more good examples of what @Bo Persson is talking about:

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You don't have to reject, you can edit the post into better shape and untick the "suggested edit was helpful" box (if applicable - I always do if I have to edit more) –  ben is uǝq backwards Oct 8 '12 at 9:38
Interesting idea, but if there are already a lot of mindless approvals, I fear that people would just mindlessly ignore the check box and just approve. –  Yannis Oct 8 '12 at 9:39
Good point Ben, and @YannisRizos it's true that would probably happen, but I think it could still help those of us who are actually reviewing. –  0x7fffffff Oct 8 '12 at 9:40
It doesn't help much if you try to reject it either stackoverflow.com/review-beta/suggested-edits/687660#./687660 –  Bo Persson Oct 8 '12 at 12:46
@Ben: good idea in theory, not so good in practice. Mindless approving takes nearly no time or effort; actually improving requires both. By the time an improver finishes up, the bad edits are usually already approved. See What can we do to stop bad edits getting accepted?. My answer to that question proposes some solutions. –  Pops Oct 8 '12 at 21:05
I think this is still an issue. I'm currently approving edits which are nice, but pretty minor. I'd really like a way to mark them as minor. –  Nathan S. Mar 4 at 18:28
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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Minor edits (that only include positive changes) should be approved but with no rewards given, and possibly, all edits should be considered minor unless otherwise stated (by the reviewers). I have never subscribed to the idea of edits being too minor because it leads to subjective review decisions (some reviewers are understandably more lenient than others even though rejecting minor edits is generally a safe decision to make, given the current policy).

This will solve the following issues:

  1. time wasted for deliberating whether minor edits are too minor.
  2. time wasted for improving minor edits so that they are no longer minor
  3. pple losing sleep over minor edits being too rewarding
  4. helpful edits being rejected for being too minor
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This proposal assumes that getting free, quick rep is the goal of people who suggest minor edits. (Otherwise, reducing the rep reward wouldn't be an effective solution.) Let's say that we do reduce the reward all the way down to zero, not just one.

That wouldn't solve the problem, because people would still get the regular two-rep reward from reviewers who didn't use the "too minor" checkbox. We wouldn't actually be getting rid of the rep incentive at all; we'd only be reducing the probability of receiving rep for any given suggestion. If anything, it'll make the problem worse, as people start to submit a higher volume of suggestions to compensate for the reduced probability of reward per suggestion, and individual suggestions get even worse because the suggesters don't want to increase the amount of time they spend on rep farming.

Getting away from the rep argument, this would also teach people that submitting minor edits, while not ideal, is still acceptable. That seems contrary to the usual goal of getting people to fix all the problems in the posts they edit.

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I already mentioned this idea in a previous discussion. So I'm in favor.

With any minor edit, I try to save the effort by adding some extra edits, but it isn't always possible. And there are still a lot of posts needing good edits so anyone who wants to earn their 500 times 2 rep have all the possibilities in the world.

// Private rant space: Then again, there are still a lot of bad edit suggestions. (adding thank you, change I to i to mention a few)

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"adding thank you, change I to i to mention a few" sounds unlikely. Are you sure those aren't concurrency issues? –  CodesInChaos Oct 8 '12 at 10:57
I have seen several of them. 2 today, maybe concurrency, but they counted as suggested edits. –  Toon Krijthe Oct 8 '12 at 10:58
I suspect they simply edited a version where the "thank you" was still there, and somebody edited it out while they were editing it, making it seem like they added it back in. –  CodesInChaos Oct 8 '12 at 11:00
Here is an example of a seemingly added thank you: stackoverflow.com/review-beta/suggested-edits/770684 –  Toon Krijthe Oct 8 '12 at 11:57
There are people who do actually actively add "thank you" to posts. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Oct 8 '12 at 19:15
@NullUserExceptionอ_อ, do we have a spare giant I? –  Toon Krijthe Oct 8 '12 at 20:02
And here's an examnple of a I turned into a i: stackoverflow.com/review-beta/suggested-edits/774981 –  Toon Krijthe Oct 9 '12 at 7:48
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