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What about lowering the edit character limit for characters in code snippets?

I'd like to change the answer of user Yuan in this question because the second item in his list is simply incorrect (a const char * pis a non-constant pointer to const data). However, when I try to do this, I get a complaint about my answer not having 6 characters. Can someone sufficiently highly esteemed in this site please make this correction?

(To be honest, I think this is annoying. This is a site about programming related questions, where one character can make the difference between a correct statement and one which is plain wrong. It should be possible to correct something like this without imposing the fuss I'm now in onto the user who volunteers to do this:

  • think of a different way to correct this, using more than 6 characters: plain stupid, I refuse to do this
  • ask at meta to find some kind soul who has the power to do the simple correction: no account on meta.
  • create account on meta: password forgotten.
  • request password using email address: email adress not known.
  • create new account: email adress already in use (excuse me?)
  • sign in using google id.

All this to get a wrong statement fixed which would be a task of five secs in case it were just allowed. Yes I know next time I'll be able to log in faster to meta, but next time, my apologies for this, I will refuse to beg in order to be able to spent time for an improvement for this site. If you really want people to help on improving and if you want me in, don't make it such a pain).

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Bo Persson, Shadow Wizard, Rory, Martijn Pieters Dec 25 '12 at 13:20

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Don't change code, leave a comment for the author. –  Bart Dec 25 '12 at 10:12
    
If the community trusts you (with enough rep) you can change a post even if less than 6 characters are changed. –  juergen d Dec 25 '12 at 10:17
    
@juergend With my rep I cannot change coding anyway, someone else needs to approve. If what you say is true, then why this constraint? –  Thomas Dec 25 '12 at 10:19
    
P.s. having had a look at the specific entry in the book, the problem is with the comment text, not with the code itself. –  Bart Dec 25 '12 at 10:20
    
@Bart Yes. The comment is wrong. It is supposed to explain the declaration, which it does not do correctly. –  Thomas Dec 25 '12 at 10:21
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@Thomas that is actually the reason for the constraint. All edits have a cost in terms of reviewers time, so if there was no constraint, the edit queue would be flooded with minor edits rather than substantial edits –  psubsee2003 Dec 25 '12 at 10:21
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@Thomas I have gone in and fixed this instance, given that it was a direct (mis-)quote from the book. In general though, be very careful about correcting code. In most cases a comment would be best. –  Bart Dec 25 '12 at 10:24

2 Answers 2

There are a few things:

  1. this is not a forum but a question and answer site.
  2. the community doesn't like to change the code in answers. If there is a mistake, post a comment and let the original poster fix it.
  3. if you suggest an edit, please make it substantial. There are enough posts with major issues so no need to focus on the little things.
  4. if you have enough reputation, you can make any edit you like. But please use common sense.
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1) My apologies if I used inadequate wording. For me a question and answer site is a special form of a forum. 2) I did this by now, but Bart was faster. 3) The use of const with pointers is a rather well known source of confusion, it is not by accident, that that topic made it into Scott Myers Book. I therefore think that this is a posting worth to be corrected. –  Thomas Dec 25 '12 at 10:34
    
There is a big difference, in a forum you can have long discussions, here (except on meta) it is not acceptable. We want clear questions with suitable answers. –  Toon Krijthe Dec 25 '12 at 10:36
    
Are you saying that with enough reputation, one can even make edits that change less than 6 chars? How much rep do I need for that, do you know? –  Thomas Tempelmann Apr 24 '13 at 9:54
    
With 2000 reputation you can edit any question without review. meta.stackoverflow.com/privileges/edit. –  Toon Krijthe Apr 24 '13 at 10:25

There is a very valid reason for the 6 character constraint, and I don't see it going away.

When a <2K user makes an edit, it requires 3 people to review (on SO, 2 people on other most other sites). That means multiple members of the community have to spend time looking at the question, and your edit to decide if it valid or not. If it weren't for the minimum character constraint, there edit queue would probably get flooded with a mass of seemingly trivial 1 or 2 character edits, wasting a lot of peoples time.

Unfortunately, there are a few very valid reasons to make edits with less than 6 characters, but it is a necessary trade off.

Another thing to mention is edits to code generally do not get approved nearly as often. There are a number of reasons as to why, but if you choose to edit the code of the question, make the comment very descriptive and then be prepared for a rejection anyways.

In this particular case, a comment on the question would have been the ideal solution, and if it was particularly severe, a Meta post might be appropriate to get the attention of someone who is has full editing capabilities

FWIW, there are a few questions elsewhere on Meta SO on how to workaround this limitation, but I'm not going to link them as I don't want to be accussed of encouraging the workarounds

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