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It drives me mildly insane to see the "Active" page of a Stack Exchange site filled with old questions that have all had trivial edits from one user.

Modifications I consider trivial are:

  • a single spelling error that doesn't impact the readability of the question

  • slight grammar errors (its > it's, then > than, etc)

  • adding code quotes to single words in a sentence ("Your TextBox tag should say...")

  • modifying minor tags that most people wouldn't normally filter/search by and that don't add much to the question, like

Such minor edits don't bother me when questions are newer, but when the front page suddenly starts becoming full of posts from a few years ago due to these minor edits, it becomes hard to find actual "Active" questions.

Does Stack Exchange have an official stance on if these trivial edits to old questions are welcome or not?

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Edited for the irony. – Robert Harvey Feb 1 '13 at 17:39
@RobertHarvey :) I have no problem with trivial edits like that to new questions. It only annoys me when the "Active" page doesn't actually contain active questions because a user is mass-editing old questions with trivial edits. – Rachel Feb 1 '13 at 17:41
Are these suggested edits, or edits by trusted users? They are treated a bit differently. If they're suggested edits, reject as too minor. If they're a user with edit privileges, explain the bumping problem to them, and suggest that they limit their edits to three or four per day. – Robert Harvey Feb 1 '13 at 17:42
@Yannis I'm tempted to add SE => StackExchange to the list of things I consider "trivial" since I see it happen so much =P – Rachel Feb 1 '13 at 17:43
On a more serious note, the one thing that comes close to an "official stance" is the "Edit questions and answers" privilege page, which - in no uncertain terms - says: "Try to make the post substantively better when you edit, not just change a single character. Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged." – Yannis Feb 1 '13 at 17:44
Deja vu all over again Not dupes, just reference material that was discussed yesterday. – Mike B Feb 1 '13 at 17:46
@RobertHarvey They only times I've noticed it is times it's from trusted users. The most recent example that actually prompted me to finally post something was this user who just bumped a string of MSO questions – Rachel Feb 1 '13 at 17:46
@Rachel Keep in mind that editors get notified for @username comments even if they haven't posted a comment (the username won't autocomplete, but they'll get an inbox notification regardless). If you spot someone doing a lot of trivial edits and spamming the front page, just comment on one of the posts explaining why they should avoid trivial edits. – Yannis Feb 1 '13 at 17:50
@Yannis Post that as an answer :) I want this question to be a reference where I can send users who mass-edit old questions with trivial edits – Rachel Feb 1 '13 at 17:50
It's Friday, I'm only posting silly answers today. – Yannis Feb 1 '13 at 17:51
I'll combine all of the comments into an answer shortly. I'm on an ipad at the moment, feel like I have one hand tied behind my back. – Robert Harvey Feb 1 '13 at 17:51
@Rachel, trusted user means 20k+ – Lance Roberts Feb 1 '13 at 18:48
@LanceRoberts I was referring to the 2k rep privilege that allows you to edit posts without going through review. I just used the term "trusted user" since its what Rob was using. – Rachel Feb 1 '13 at 18:52
@Rachel Sorry, got a little carried away – yoozer8 Feb 1 '13 at 19:59
@Jim There's nothing to apologize for :) I see plenty of users doing the same thing thinking they are helping make the site better, and honestly it is nice for newer questions. It's just when you do a lot of trivial edits to old questions at once, it makes the "Active" page be full of inactive questions. – Rachel Feb 1 '13 at 20:02
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Officially, users are asked to not do just trivial edits but to be more substantive.

From the page explaining the Edit Privilege

Try to make the post substantively better when you edit, not just change a single character. Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged.

I often have an editing project (like my latest on ), but keep myself to half a dozen at a time to keep from spamming the front page, even though I don't use the front page much. A lot of users may not understand that every edited post shows up there, so they need to be educated.

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