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I keep running into this really humorous situation where about 25% of edit reviewers will try to reject an edit like the following as too small or inconsequential of an edit:

Original post title : jQuary Mobile disables the jQuary menu
My edited title: jQuery Mobile disables the jQuery menu

Granted, that edit is really, really small. But it's also important. If rejected, the user's question will be left in bad shape. It's not good for anybody to have fundamental keywords in a question title misspelled.

The good thing is that sense usually prevails. Only about 25% of reviewers reject this kind of small but (IMO) necessary correction.

But I keep wondering: is there something about the edit review UI that is guiding reviewers into mistakenly thinking that all very small edits are too small? I can't see what the interface looks like. What kinds of choices are users being presented with?

It's just hard to believe that so many people would reject a necessary fix to a question title of their own accord--how could this many people really want the title to remain misspelled? So, what is causing this?

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Not mistakenly at all: There is a (definitely valid): "Edit is too minor" rejection reason. Small edits keep clogging the edit queue. – Martijn Pieters Jan 8 '13 at 7:37
Oh absolutely. But are you saying that this particular kind of fix is too small? – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 7:39
Was the title the only thing that was fixed, when other problems existed? If so, it's definitely 'too minor'. – Andrew Barber Jan 8 '13 at 7:46
But that's my point. The title is important. Misspellings of keywords there have a much worse impact on the question than a misspelling in the body. I certainly don't go fixing "help me plaese". It doesn't matter for the question that please is mispelled. But "Help me with scalacg function" is begging to be fixed so that people can be about the business of helping with a Scala function. – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 7:48
I only discovered this late into discussion, but I think there is more diversity of opinion on the issue of what is too minor in a title edit even with the ranks of highly experience SO people than this discussion might reflect. Jeff Atwood is of the opinion that title keyword edits are not too minor: – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 14:55
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This kind of edit is pretty borderline in my opinion.

  • If it's a popular question it should be indexed by search engines with the correct title
  • The edit is rather minor; the tags are probably correct and thus it will show up to the correct audience on SO (those with in their favorites). The question might be close to Too Localized and thus search engine visibility doesn't matter much.

However, there are lots of people who can edit posts directly on Stack Overflow so I don't think it's necessary to suggest this kind of edit (and put it in the edit queue) - someone with enough rep will fix it anyway.

On the other side, it's much more helpful than the average "I search for a common unimportant typo and then submit tons of suggestions" crap some people dump into the queue. So I'd probably accept that edit.

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Martijn gave me some comprehensive and constructive discussion with a better understanding why minor edits that seem important to me might not be considered favorably by goodish chunks of the community , but I ended up still resonating with your balance of considerations. – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 8:44

Not mistakenly at all: There is a (definitely valid): "Edit is too minor" rejection reason:

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

There is a good reason for this. Allowing small edits would clog the edit queue. Moreover, you earn reputation and a badge for suggested edits, we expect people to put some effort into editing.

A spelling mistake is not going to prevent people from answering the question, so it's just a spelling mistake. Unless the editor improved the post significantly, such edits should definitely be rejected as too minor.

Note that the most popular tag is added to the title if not already present. So, search engines would see "jquery - jQuary Mobile disables the jQuary menu". If the tag was missing from that particular question, and a suggested edit were to add that tag in addition to fixing the misspelling, then that would already be a much better edit.

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IMO, this fails to recognize that a potentially useful question and answer may be lost if the question does not look like a jQuery question, but a jQuary question. What about searchability? How will this question be found in future? Misspellings in the question body are one thing, and misspellings of non-key words in the title are one thing. But misspellings of the very subject matter of the question? – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 7:43
@DWright: That's what tags are for. The post should be tagged with jquery, in that case, and the title reflects the most important tag if not explicitly part of the title already. Fixing the spelling and adding that tag if missing would be a better edit already. – Martijn Pieters Jan 8 '13 at 7:44
Good point on also fixing the tag. – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 7:50
Let me go at it from a different angle: Chances are that you, Martijn, are not very likely to have a big typo in a title. But what if you did. Would you want it fixed? I would. – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 7:53
In other words, concerns for the size of the edit queue aside (and I have no insight into how bad things are there or not), who's doing the user a helpful favor? The person who fixes the title, or the person who leaves the hapless user's title broken, even though it has been identified as broken? And how does this segue into making a point about edit queue size to the person trying to help via an edit, at the expense of the user who could have been helped? – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 7:57
@DWright: Why not leave that to people that can edit directly and don't need to clog the suggested edit queue? There are plenty of people that can make that edit. – Martijn Pieters Jan 8 '13 at 8:01
You may want to search for previous discussions on this very topic, btw, it's been hashed out to death before. – Martijn Pieters Jan 8 '13 at 8:03
Well, that's a valid point. I hadn't previously heard an angle like "don't suggest small edits that you think actual editors will fix". If that's in some way a bit of an "official" take on things, I'd have to reconsider what I've been doing. At that same time, if, for the sake of argument, I've been proceeding a bit cluelessly by suggesting these edits, I still don't understand the motivation behind wanting to leave a user's title broken, once I've perhaps cluelessly suggested such an edit. Should edit reviewers reject the suggestion and then go make the fix themselves? – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 8:05
Well, I did do some searching. Maybe the titles were misspelled. :-} – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 8:06
That's turning it on it's head. We actively discourage minor edits, and the argument that someone needs to fix that spelling mistake doesn't count in favour of minor edits. A typo is not a big enough problem with posts to allow for minor edits. – Martijn Pieters Jan 8 '13 at 8:07
And take a look through – Martijn Pieters Jan 8 '13 at 8:09
This is rapidly becoming a dupe of Is correcting a common misspelling too minor an edit? for example. – Martijn Pieters Jan 8 '13 at 8:10
I'm not sure I followed that last comment, but as I'm gaining the strong sense that I have not fully understood the situation, I'm happy to let things rest at something like this summary: "The minor edits that are discouraged include what would otherwise be substantive edits, since they clog the queue. Please leave all minor edits to actual editors." Is that the gist of it? – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 8:11
Reject edits that fix one mistake (such as a typo) as too minor, especially if the editor could have made other improvements. The specific post you used as an example, has multiple issues (it was tagged with iquery, another item that could have been fixed). – Martijn Pieters Jan 8 '13 at 8:12
Is that part of the guidelines for editors? – DWright Jan 8 '13 at 8:13

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