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What is the official position on pedantic edits?

Should we ...

  • perform them when we have the opportunity?
  • approve them when we review them?
  • reject them because we don't want (to review) pedantic edits?

Full story

Ever since I got a high enough reputation on Linux&Unix SE I keep getting these edits to review. Now, as it happens, this is very similar to what I frequently do at my job, hence I think I'm quite efficient. However, there are many edits, especially minor spelling and grammar issues, that have started to bore me out, because I don't feel they really add to the question/answer, as the original mistake wasn't so bad that it mattered. This got me started into: "When should I accept/reject an edit?"

I came across those:

Having read and considered, I don't see a general rule or stated intention. The term pedantic edit creeps up every now and then, but I can't tell if pedantic edits are good, bad or just something people do.

While I edit my own posts a lot to correct each and every mistake I notice, I care less for the posts of others. When reviewing, I just accepted all minor edits if I feel they correct mistakes. But is that actually what we want?

If I have to summarise all my concerns into one question: do we approve of pedantic edits?

Of course it is always up to each individual to perform edits, but given a correct edit is made, is it ok to accept it or do we want to accept only major edits?

The linked questions display different views. The help centre seems to allow edits of arbitrary pedantry.

How does the privileges management work in this area? Once I have the reputation to review edits, do my edits still need approval? I could see that as an implicit pedantry privilege that has to be earned, and therefore reject pedantic edits.

I very much like the argument that spelling and grammar mistakes, especially on the landing page, make the site look bad. Appearance can be a reasonable guide when deciding whether or not to accept/perform a pedantic edit. I regard correcting a spelling mistake in the headline more important than at the end of a oen page post. ;-)

share|improve this question
Depends on the specific edit, but if it appears unimportant reject as "too minor". – Qantas 94 Heavy Jan 22 '14 at 9:11
The usual rule I follow is that an edit isn't too minor as long as it fixes everything (however little that is). If it makes minor edits while ignoring major issues I reject (or improve while unticking helpful) – Richard Tingle Jan 22 '14 at 9:11
up vote 24 down vote accepted

When choosing to accept/reject a suggested edit there are two elements you should consider

  • Did the edit improve the post
  • Was the edit sufficient to justify the reviewers time.

The Edit didn't improve the post

This is clear: reject in this case

The Edit did improve the post

This is more nuanced, the aim here is always to get the best overall result for the largest number of posts. Given that the number of 2K reviewers is limited this opens the door to reject some very minor edits.

The edit solved all the problems with the post, however small or pedantic

In this case I would argue that the post has gone from having problems to having no problems. This is a significant improvement even if the actual edit was small: approve in this case

The edit solved significant problems but not all of them

The improvement here has still improved the clarity of the question significantly, it has justified reviewers time: approve in this case

The edit is minor/pedantic and leaves other problems in place

While this edit does technically improve the post and approving it would marginally improve the post it would encourage similar edits if approved. Each of these takes at least 2 or 3 2K reviewers(site dependant) to approve it and their time is precious.: reject in this case, or 'Improve' unticking "This suggested edit was helpful"

share|improve this answer
Totally agree with your last point. But I'd rather speak of "partial edits". We will never know if an edit was pedantic, really. Maybe it's even the pedantic who make the most quality edits! (Granted, you were only answering the question). – Gert Arnold Jan 22 '14 at 15:08
@GertArnold to be honest I only included that because it was the word the OP used. I'll include it in one of the "good edits" for balance – Richard Tingle Jan 22 '14 at 15:10
And I merely used the term I found in the linked related questions. Shame on me ;-) – user1129682 Jan 22 '14 at 23:55

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