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I tried to update a jQuery code block that was missing a curly brace. The code is incorrect, but I cannot edit it since changes under 6 characters are not allowed (at least at my level of rep?).

I understand why you don't want to allow minor copy-editing, and I agree that's fine for textual descriptions and regular writing, but 1 character can make a big difference in code.

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Where was this, SO? I can make edits as minor as inserting a single character here on MSO. –  Pops Jan 28 '11 at 15:10
    
Yes it was StackOverflow. –  DarrellNorton Jan 28 '11 at 15:14
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@Popular There is a character limit if you are doing edits with less than 2000 reputation. And, apparently, it's 6. At 2000 and higher, there is no such requirement. –  Grace Note Jan 28 '11 at 15:15
    
Ok, thanks for the info. –  DarrellNorton Jan 31 '11 at 20:19
    
related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/93977/… –  Daniel DiPaolo Jun 13 '11 at 20:49
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Incidentally, what is the reason for 6 characters - simply to reduce the burden on moderators? –  Steve Bennett Oct 11 '11 at 1:49
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I've seen atrocious code listings with inconsistent indentation or bracing styles. Cleaning those up can go a long way towards getting someone to help answer the question. Its rare that there isn't more that can't be fixed, but it is the case sometimes and prevents helping improve a question. I guess 2k is the answer but in the mean time the question (and my eyes) suffer. –  mindless.panda Dec 5 '11 at 2:23
    
@mindless.panda: I thought whitespace edits don't count toward the quota –  endolith Feb 2 '12 at 2:20
    
Jeff's answer is dead-on here: either earn the privilege to edit as you please, or work within the restrictions placed on untrusted editors. –  Shog9 Oct 2 at 14:51

2 Answers 2

Allowing edits of less than 6 characters in code blocks might not be a bad idea for answers, but
it may be problematic for questions.

Don't take me the wrong way, I'm not a big fan of the 6 character rule, as I've seen editors do some strange and irritating things to meet the requirement, (I saw someone edit in the word "link" after a link, just so they could remove a comma).

I've seen a few questions where the reason the OP was asking about their code ended up being as simple as a missing curly brace, comma, semicolon, or what have you.

In these cases a suggestion to add the missing character would be a great comment, or possibly an acceptable answer.
Notice that I said an acceptable answer not a great answer.

If these corrections are edited into the question then it could leave a non-sense question asking whats wrong with perfectly working code.

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Was the post otherwise so perfect that absolutely nothing in it could be improved?

I'm sympathetic when the issue is a single character error in code, but I also believe deeply in the idea of encouraging people to go beyond the minimum level of effort.

So your options are

  • earn 2k rep and character twiddle away
  • with less than 2k rep -- while you are there, improve some other aspect of the post to reach the 6 character threshold
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Take the top answer here: stackoverflow.com/questions/1163459/… I really want to change "struck" to "struct". I don't know enough Python to change anything else. I understand wanting to nudge users into more substantive changes. But this hard, rigid, inflexible, uncompromising rule strikes me as wrong. Any other change I would make to that answer would just be pointless fiddling to get around the rule. –  Steve Bennett Oct 11 '11 at 1:46
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I've taken a liking to the review process and code listings in particular can sometimes really improve a question. Sometimes I work a few minutes to improve the indentation/bracing/layout but have to abandon the edit because I don't know enough about the rest of the subject matter to try and improve. –  mindless.panda Dec 5 '11 at 2:25
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"Was the post otherwise so perfect that absolutely nothing in it could be improved?" Yes. Do you understand that this rule discourages people from fixing errors, making the sites' content less trustworthy in the long run? –  endolith Feb 1 '12 at 15:46
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@endo it encourages people to earn 2k rep if they want the privilege of making trivial bit-twiddling changes. Peer review costs time. –  Jeff Atwood Feb 1 '12 at 17:58
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@JefAtwood: It discourages people from fixing factual errors in answers (which will in turn cause problems for hundreds or thousands of readers). Sometimes it actually prevents them from fixing errors without resorting to hackish workarounds. I'm a peer reviewer, and it would be very stupid to reject a 1-character edit that fixed a bug in example code or 3-letter edit that reversed the meaning of a mistyped sentence, just because the editor hadn't met some prerequisite of busywork. –  endolith Feb 2 '12 at 2:19
    
RT Answer by @JeffAtwood: yes, that is exactly what I do. After editing the error which is bugging me, I take out my thesaurus and go word-hunting... –  Kumar Harsh Sep 16 '12 at 15:49
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I think the rule (and the answer by Jeff Atwood is not very helpful. Indeed, you may either discourage willing helpers - or create an extra burden to the reviewers, because people just might start changing random things to circumvent the 6 character limit. Prettifying / correcting code is helpful for many other readers. But if that's undesired, I can keep myself aloof from helping in those cases. –  Axel Jan 31 '13 at 8:58
    
Are you suggesting that a critical edit be constrained by the need to dig up a minor improvement? This answer has the tenor of logically convincing fortitude, but seems more like a practice in the power of rhetorical debate for its own sake, rather than being worthwhile. –  Dan Nissenbaum May 27 '13 at 17:52

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