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Typo edits in the title: to approve, or not to approve?

This user seems to be using the search-function to find question with the typo fuction, and corrects them - a lot of them. Can this be considered abuse?

Edit Ok, I get it. I thought I remembered reading somewhere that micro-edits are discouraged. It seems I was wrong.

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Who's it harming? At the least it will make searching for things with "function" in them easier. (Also, just out of interest - how did you notice this?) –  tjm Jun 29 '11 at 20:33
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The only way this could be construed as abuse was if he was flooding the home page with old questions. However, this would only be an issue on the lower traffic sites, on SO there are so many other new posts, edits etc. that's not likely to be the case –  ChrisF Jun 29 '11 at 20:37
    
thanks for pointing that out.. now I am going to search for titles with the word fuction and fix the questions. –  staticx Jun 29 '11 at 20:37
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As long as he's cleaning up other things that he sees, sounds great to me. There's an infinite amount of editing to be done. –  Lance Roberts Jun 29 '11 at 20:38
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Microedits are still discouraged. Especially when the rest of the post is a mess. –  random Jun 29 '11 at 20:41
    
Ah. Yes I hadn't thought about him just replacing the one word and not the rest of the question (if it needs it), that wouldn't be cool. But still it wouldn't be harmful assuming he has enough rep to do it himself without bothering anyone else, and if he doesn't (which I don't think he does), well, his revisions are being accepted so I guess they can't be all that bad. –  tjm Jun 29 '11 at 20:47
    
Saying that he is abusing the system is maybe too strong. As others reported, if the post would need to be cleaned up, and the user would keep changing one single thing, then I would say it would not be completely correct. In such case, I would think the user is trying to get more reputation by getting points by proposing multiple edits to the same post. –  kiamlaluno Jun 29 '11 at 20:56
    
It would be abusive if they edited the title, got accepted then came back to edit the body when they could have done both edits in one. Editing body and title at the same time is the one suggested edit @kia –  random Jun 29 '11 at 21:00
    
@random It's what I mean; clearly, if users propose a new edit (maybe because they noticed a typo they introduced, or because they inadvertently clicked the save button before the edit was complete), before the previous edit has been accepted, then they don't get 4 points but only 2. –  kiamlaluno Jun 29 '11 at 21:05
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If anyone has some free time, fix tread to thread. –  Marcelo Jun 29 '11 at 21:31
    
Please note @camccann's answer below. –  M. Tibbits Jun 30 '11 at 5:48
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marked as duplicate by Shog9 Jun 30 '11 at 5:56

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6 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

I don't consider this abuse. "fuction" -> "function" is definitely an improvement, and nothing spammy or offensive is being added. Things would be better, though, if the user in question would edit entire posts, rather than just fixing titles and ignoring other problems.

EDIT:
As ChrisF and Bill the Lizard pointed out, there are two abuse possibilities here: a user performing this sort of editing could be flooding the homepage/certain tag pages with useless bumps, and/or clogging the edit approval queue. This doesn't seem to be a problem with this particular user, though.

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Fixing spelling errors in the title is so obviously a useful change that edits like that don't tend to stay in the edit queue for long. Also, I believe Jeff said recently that getting key words in titles correct is more important compared to fixing trivial mistakes in the post content. The bumping is the only potential problem here. –  McCannot Jun 30 '11 at 4:48
    
funtion -> function seems to be his favourite today. –  Lorem Ipsum Jun 30 '11 at 19:42
    
@yoda: My assumption so far is that he's picking out obvious spelling errors for important words, using Google/etc. to search page titles only for the misspelling, then going down the list to kill time (waiting for a long compile or something, maybe). –  McCannot Jun 30 '11 at 22:03
    
@camccann: I don't really have a problem with it :) It's a dead easy way to earn 2k points which you can never earn after 2k, no matter how many edits you do :) –  Lorem Ipsum Jun 30 '11 at 22:17
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I don't see any of their edits currently in the queue for approval, so I can't be 100% sure. I'd only consider it abuse if they were only making that one correction on posts that needed more editing. If the post doesn't need any other changes I'd go ahead and approve it. Otherwise reject it or improve upon their edit.

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Approved suggested edits show up under a user's Activity tab. Of course, rejects don't. –  Michael Petrotta Jun 29 '11 at 20:37
    
@Michael: Oh right, thank you. –  Bill the Lizard Jun 29 '11 at 20:39
    
I did do a spot check before writing my answer. Many of the posts didn't need additional editing. Some could have used it, but none of them were really terrible. –  Pops Jun 29 '11 at 20:42
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@Popular: I agree. Now that I've look through some of the edits, it doesn't look like they're leaving much undone. It's also a plus that most of them seem to be title edits, which is good for searchability. –  Bill the Lizard Jun 29 '11 at 20:46
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I approved about 50 edits by one single user the other day, where he fixed the word "sqllite" to be "SQLite", as is correct.

Even though that created a lot of traffic in the approval queue, in my opinion, that was the whole point of having the editing system and the approval queue in the first place. To allow people to fix things.

In my mind, no, this isn't abuse at all, this is exactly the behaviour I felt was encouraged by the system.

Having said that, I agree with the accepted answer in that I did spot other mistakes in a few (mind you, a few) of those posts that weren't fixed, but on the whole I felt the user was doing a good job. "SQLite" was at least something that people would be searching for.

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That user is fixing typos and making the site easier to read. This is considered abuse? Seriously?

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Yes, that can be abuse, if they're spamming the edit queue with tiny changes to posts that need big changes. It costs someone's attention to approve or reject those changes. Edit: But that doesn't seem to be the case here, so +1. :) –  Bill the Lizard Jun 29 '11 at 20:38
    
@Bill, +1 for a good point I hadn't considered. I often forget that some edits require approval. –  Pops Jun 29 '11 at 20:40
    
Another abuse possibility: editing old posts also attracts renewed attention to all of the answers, and one of them might be that of the editor. (Again, that goes not for this user). –  NGLN Jun 29 '11 at 22:41
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Is this the same user whose edits Jeff already said he was OK with?

In titles, I think it is much more important to get key words correct -- so in the case of title edits, yes, these are OK and I would approve them.

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This specific user also made a giant pile of edits to fix misspellings for "database", "SQLite", and others. Those others might have made more sense than fixing "function", but I personally was applauding that someone had the tenacity to go find and fix a giant pile of mistakes in a way that would help future searching and indexing.

I did Improve one edit suggestion when the rest of the post really needed the help, but mostly his edits were substantive improvements.

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