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The guidelines for suggesting an edit say (based on the blog post; I haven't seen them myself):

...please make them substantial. Avoid trivial, tiny one-letter edits unless absolutely necessary."

Is the sole purpose of this to prevent large numbers of minor edits clogging the approval queue? Nothing about it is mentioned in the guidelines for review:

Approve edits you know are correct; reject those you know are wrong. Leave ambiguous edits for other users to judge.

which would seem to suggest that I should approve correct but trivial edits which should never have been suggested. Is that the right idea? I feel like if I do that, I'm rewarding users who either don't read or simply ignore the request for substantial edits, by giving them that little hit of reputation. I realize it's not much, so if our position is that it's okay for someone to farm themselves 1000 rep by being a spell-checker, I'll happily follow along - I like correct spelling as much as the next guy. I don't really want to reject a helpful edit, even if it is trivial.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Personally I believe in Kaizen, even a small improvement is an improvement.

That said, a more concerning edge case is the improving of rubbish. When a post is incomprehensible, fixing 1 typo, 10 typos or 100 does nothing to improve the post or the site. The correct thing to do is reject edits small or large on posts that should be closed or deleted.

If an awesome post had a handful of typos and someone fixed them, I see no reason not to approve the edit. Heck, it is easier than navigating to the post and doing so yourself.

I also totally back Jeff on his call to outlaw the 1-typo edit suggestion. The reason I agree with this is twofold.

  1. You can do better, always. The edit suggestion system teaches you how to edit, and editing more that just one typo is a good practice.

  2. Processing edit suggestions is not a free process, it cost eyes, distraction and time. We want quality in the queue, so high standards is a good first step.

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I'm with you. In particular, I do agree that single-typo edits shouldn't be allowed through the suggestion system. I simply perceived some inconsistency between the advice to submitters and the advice to approvers. –  Jefromi Feb 7 '11 at 15:10
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I disagree with the proposal to outlaw 1-typo edits. What about a 1 letter mistake which completely changes the meaning of an answer. For example, askubuntu.com/questions/25022/… says "Now highlight the kernel you want to use, and press the c key". Actually it should be the 'e' key, the c key does something completely different ! –  stevec Jan 8 '12 at 12:48
    
@stevec In that case, the edit would change the meaning of the answer. Edit an answer doesn't mean to change a wrong answer into a correct one. If that is the case, you can add your own answer. If somebody wrote "Now highlight the kernel you want to use, and press the c key." I would write a comment suggesting the right key is e; if the OP didn't change the answer after the comment, you could consider down-voting it. –  kiamlaluno Feb 27 '12 at 12:56
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@kiamlaluno I can't add a comment to the page (askubuntu.com/questions/25022/…) - I guess perhaps I don't have enough reputation. I've added another answer . . . but to me that's just polluting the page with more answers than required. –  stevec Feb 28 '12 at 14:07
    
@stevec You need a reputation of at least 50, to comment everywhere. Still, when you are altering the meaning of an answer (such as the case you are referring, where the answer would pass from incorrect to incorrect), I would rather add my own answer, maybe making it a CW. –  kiamlaluno Feb 28 '12 at 14:21
    
@waffles: In this case, a new answer might be justified, but a 1-letter improvement can be substantial, but only a minor part. If there is a 3 paragraph answer with 3 groups of 2 lines of code each, repeating the whole post to correct one single place doesn't seem right to me. –  user unknown Mar 9 '12 at 15:18
    
Speaking about "trivial" edits "I see not reason not to approve" ;) –  user66001 Feb 2 '13 at 8:21
    
The general line along these comments seems to be "if its minor but makes an improvement, then approve it". IMHO this is good advise, e.g. for fixing code formatting issues which are often minor but nonetheless helpful. If this is true though it should also be clearly explained in the review section to avoid confusion. –  andig Nov 1 '13 at 9:35

One problem in this context, I thought of, is, that some smaller edit suggestions - minor typos, removing of signatures and so on - which I wouldn't have made, I tend to accept them, because if one user suggested them, the next one might come in 15 minutes, and suggest the same edits again. So better accept them, and get the edit out of the queue.

If a question or answer is fresh, and on top of the listings, on SO only few minutes or hours old, I tend to accept such improvements, and only reject, if they are very minor, the post is older and I can't find more problems to improve the post.

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-1000, do not reward bad edits. We need to teach people not to make them by rejecting them as many times as it takes –  Brad Mace Aug 6 '12 at 15:07

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