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There's been ample discussion about the pros and cons of bumping, particularly for minor edits. Consensus seems to be that tagging is good, almost implicitly, almost always.

Yet, there's a strong current against making small edits. So, what's the consequence? Is there any reasonable limit or repercussion for someone going around making tens or hundreds or thousands of small improvements to spelling, grammar, formatting, or tags? Is this a ban-able offense? Is it a badge-worthy accomplishment?

I can accept that universal bumping is here to stay, even if I think other creative solutions are worth trying, but it seems more difficult to justify a policy which implicitly stigmatizes the thankless but very useful task of edit-gnoming, (as they would call it on Wikipedia). Do we want that?

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2 Answers 2

there's a strong current against making small edits

I'm completely unaware of this, but if it's true, I ignore it; I'll edit a post to add a single character if it's missing. It's up to SO to decide if a post should be bumped because of a minor edit, but I see no reason to leave a post wrong specifically because you're trying to avoid bumping it -- if that happens, the bumping system should be revisited

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I think Jeff's answer and links show the current. It's weird to me, as a pseudo-Wikipedian, where the site lives by a thousand little stitches (opp: death by a thousand cuts). –  Ocaasi Aug 4 '10 at 22:34
    
Bumping definitely needs to be revisited. –  Mooing Duck Jul 16 '12 at 20:45

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/03/the-great-edit-wars/

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/04/in-defense-of-editing/

If you are going to edit a post, make sure you’re substantively improving it. Avoid making isolated, trivial edits, as they are the source of much friction. For example, don’t bother changing “its” to “it’s” unless you have several other edits to make in the same post. There has to be a legitimate case that your edit made multiple changes transforming the post from good to great — or at least substantively improving it.

(Except when you happen to be editing that rare “perfect except for this one misspelled word” post. This is obviously OK to edit. In my experience, the type of posts that really cry out for editing need a lot of editing to be whipped into shape.)

To be very specific, I would discourage editing a post solely to remove salutations like “hi” and “thanks”. That’s just adding an unnecessary edit on top of an unnecessary set of salutations. I completely agree that salutations add little to a question or answer, but if you’re going to take the time to go in and remove salutations, fix the whole post while you’re at it! If there’s nothing else to edit, then don’t bother.

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Two separate issues: 1) Minor edits which are pointless and grating (removing Hi, thanks); 2) Minor edits which are small but useful (grammar, tagging). I think my point is that, if people have to intentionally avoid making improvements, however small (of the type two kind), isn't that a reason to look at the broader bumping policy. Bumping is good, but what about a separate feed for minor edits, or a 10K ability to edit without bumping, or the ability to edit only tags without bumping. It seems these ideas might accomplish the dual goals of oversight and constant improvement. –  Ocaasi Aug 4 '10 at 22:31
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I disagree with this. If I see a spelling or grammatical error, I will usually fix it (unless I'm using a cumbersome UI at the moment, like having a cat weighing down one of my arms). Do you only change code when you have substantial changes to make, or do you make minor edits as you see them? The same principle applies. –  Ether Aug 4 '10 at 22:34
    
@ether the principle is basically that the type of posts that most NEED editing are the ones with multiple issues. So it's about resource allocation. –  Jeff Atwood Aug 4 '10 at 22:41
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I would argue that its => it's (or vice versa) causes enough cumulative pain to the eyes of those reading it to make it significant. Maybe. –  mmyers Aug 4 '10 at 22:42
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@Jeff. If you see a small thing you could fix, do you really just pass it over? Don't you just want to fix it? –  Ocaasi Aug 5 '10 at 1:30
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@Jeff The resource allocation argument makes sense if 2k-ers are presented with a list of every post that needs editing and are overwhelmed by the sheer size, but there is no such list. I edit posts as I find them, I don't have a backlog of posts I want to edit when I have the time –  Michael Mrozek Aug 5 '10 at 2:20
    
Read the blog post and the comments. You're reiterating arguments others have already had :P –  hobodave Aug 5 '10 at 2:47
    
@ hobodave. Not sure if that's directed at me. The blog posts and comments address but don't resolve the issue. Hence my question. You can respond to the merits if you have an opinion. –  Ocaasi Aug 5 '10 at 3:39

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