Every time I see someone use the word "loosing", it makes my insides twist. I thought I'd go on a mini-campaign to correct this spelling (unless I happen across a correct usage, of course). However, someone pointed out that trivial edits are discouraged. I don't think that staving off the mutilation of the English language is all that trivial, but let's concede the point for now.

I, and probably numerous others, want to provide a service to the SO community by fixing up small errors such as this, but I have no way to perform the edit without skewing the natural ranking algorithms for listing interesting questions.

Is this possible to introduce a checkbox during edits labelled something like, Trivial edit (minor typographical or formatting correction), please? Perhaps, by some heuristic, small edits could be denoted trivial by default.

  • 6
    I feel your pain. I can't decide whether the misuse of "loosing" or the always-incorrect "definately" drives me battier. On the plus side, if someone is making such a basic mistake, there are almost certainly others.
    – ale
    Aug 16, 2011 at 12:12
  • There should probably be a character limit on trivial edits - only enabled for edits < N characters - to prevent abuse. Determining the value of (N) is the hard part.
    – voretaq7
    Aug 27, 2011 at 23:09
  • 3
    @AlEverett - I also get driven batty by the examples you cited (and others). But I'm not sure I agree that making spelling errors indicates other more fundamental errors. I know many brilliant people, whose spelling is abysmal. The information they give is correct, but full of spelling errors. Or sometimes a too-fast finger tapped the wrong key and introduced a single-letter typo (happens to me, too). Currently, I find that fixing a typo like "definately" is impossible, due to the system constraints. A pity, to my thinking. The sites would be better if we could clean up those things.
    – yosh m
    Feb 25, 2013 at 12:45
  • Folloup comment for those wondering why the question is status-declined; SE wants to maintain peer review over all edits. This feature could be used to defeat peer review on intentionally destructive edits; thus it was denied. Aug 1, 2013 at 16:08

5 Answers 5


This would be incredibly useful for the new French Language and Usage site. I won't bother citing examples, because it's in private beta and most people wouldn't be able to see it, but French orthography is particular in that spelling conveys a lot of grammatical meaning: for example, "parlé", "parlée", "parlés", and "parlées" are participles that all mean about the same thing and are pronounced the same but convey slightly different grammatical information about the noun they describe. Furthermore, the French language is very rich in homonyms: I'll cite, for example, the case of "c'est", "s'est", "ses", and "ces", all of which mean something completely different but which are pronounced approximately like the English word "say". This is quite common in French.

Thus single-character edits of posts to fix typos and mistakes can vastly improve their readability and linguistic correctness, especially on a language site! The two most important points are the following:

  • There already seems to be a consensus on meta.french that editing posts to fix grammatical errors is acceptable, and
  • What constitutes a significant edit, counted in number of characters changed is not the same thing in French as it is in English, so it's silly that the rules conceived for an English-speaking site should apply to us.

I see absolutely no reason why we shouldn't be able to settle this on a site-by-site basis based on community consensus. Why should the rules devised for Stack Overflow, which are clearly inadequate for FL&U, apply to us there?

  • 3
    How is this different from programming where a single character edit can mean the difference between something compiling and something not?
    – ChrisF Mod
    Aug 18, 2011 at 13:06
  • @ChrisF: It isn't; I think Brennan's point is that just because it wouldn't work for SO (based on question volume, for example) that doesn't mean it shouldn't be implemented for certain other sites.
    – womble
    Aug 27, 2011 at 23:12

I'd like some kind of trivial edit checkbox only if it meant not bumping the question. That would make sense. But otherwise, trivial just to say trivial? nah...

  • As Wesley mentions in a comment to waffles' answer, this is probably what the OP meant. It has been discussed at great length before, and has been dismissed due to severe drawbacks. Aug 16, 2011 at 11:57
  • 9
    +1 - "Trivial Edits" should not bump the question to the front page. This makes it easier for high rep users to clean up formatting, etc. w/o messing up the front page.
    – voretaq7
    Aug 27, 2011 at 23:08

As the FAQ says, SE relies on some stuff typical for wikis. By allowing edits for questions and answers, noise, lengthy discussions and flame wars happen not as often.

As an encouragement for edits, a question is even put at the top of the front page after an edit ("bumping").

So far, so great.

However, Some users (including me) seem to enjoy improving their answers after first posting them, sometimes even with minor stuff like spelling fixes. It so happens that the question returns to the top of the front page a lot, and it seems like this gets interpreted as: "There's a user who just keeps editing to gain front-page attention." As a penalty, Qs or As with many (> 10?) edits automatically become community wiki (CW), preventing the original owner from gaining rep through said questions or answers.

Just to make it clear: I don't care a lot about reputation.

But: I enjoy editing and improving stuff I come across, and I, as a non-native English speaker, often find that things I've written in my own Qs or As are ambiguous or more complicated than they need be. This is enough reason for me to edit things frequently, and I believe it helps this site's long-term quality of content. Editing, after all, is encouraged on SE.

What I don't want is a lot of extra attention to all the smallish, minor edits I do.

Thus, I am all in favor for the featrue request: Please add a checkbox below the "Edit Summary", called "This is a minor edit".

  • Checking this box should prevent the question from being bumped to the top of the list, and it should not increase the counter that causes the Q or A to become CW.

  • Checking this box should not affect the edit history because we don't want to hide damage done by trolls.

On most wikis, it looks a lot like this:   This is a minor edit

When you browse the list of recent changes, you can decide whether you want to see changes including minor edits or not. I understand that on SE, a lot is done to not clutter the pages with too many options - one solution might be to have high-rep users (maybe 2k and up) decide if they still want to have minor edits on the front page or not.

One of many examples why this would be useful: This answer on EE.SE, including the comments below it.

  • Eh. I edit all the time as well, sometimes multiple times on the same posts. To date I've still never tripped on the Community Wiki conversion. I don't think it's a big deal
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 21, 2012 at 18:43

I just asked for the same feature at miniedit facility and was pointed to this posting. So let me reprint my statement here:

It would be nice if there were a possibility to edit questions or answers for misprints and other tiny changes without flushing them to the top of the list. I often notice later such blemishes of otherwise good answers or questions of mine (and others).

I therefore propose to add a miniedit button where one can make small changes to a question or answer, limited to changes of 20 characters or so, without affecting the timestamp responsible for the ordering of the questions.

  • 2
    It would already be useful if I were allowed to do that on my own contributions! Mar 31, 2012 at 20:58
  • A very important reason for bumping those questions to the top is that other users can review the edit. Does the edit fix the reason for their downvote, so they can remove it? Does the edit make the question better so they can upvote or answer it? Does the edit turn a good post into a phishing attempt (by turning "google.com" into "go0gle.co", which is a mere three character edit)? Without bumping the the question, nobody would even notice that an edit was made.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Mar 31, 2012 at 21:17
  • 5
    But everyone notices the misprints and misspellings! A miniedit should not be used for improving the content, and could be forbidden below a certain reputation to prevent misuse. Not trusting even high reputation users is counterproductive to the quality of the site. One could also make a second, spearate edit queue where those who like to edit and therefore also like to check what others have edited can see which pages were affected! Mar 31, 2012 at 21:26

How is:

Trivial edit (minor typographical or formatting correction)?

Better than:

Added 1 character in body

I do not think we are losing anything by not implementing this.

Additionally, usually posts have way more that a single letter wrong, we prefer bigger edits.

  • (Very funny; I'll ignore that pun.) Are you saying that it's already acceptable to make single-letter corrections? Aug 15, 2011 at 22:41
  • @Marcelo ... acceptable ... but not encouraged, we prefer beefier edits.
    – waffles
    Aug 15, 2011 at 22:48
  • 2
    Also see the discussion on my question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/102228/…
    – jtbandes
    Aug 15, 2011 at 22:52
  • 2
    @waffles, I know that minor edits are frowned upon, but for me the major advantage of reaching 2000 rep is being able to fix up the minor typos without being 'shouted' at.
    – Benjol
    Aug 16, 2011 at 6:33
  • 8
    I believe the real purpose of the request was to have an option to not bump the question to the front page, regardless of how substantial the edit was. I could be mistaken, but that's how I interpreted it.
    – user159834
    Aug 16, 2011 at 11:19
  • 2
    @Wesley, that would even be worse. It would mean that possibly dangerous changes could go unnoticed and unchecked.
    – waffles
    Aug 16, 2011 at 11:28
  • Excellent point waffles, even as a 20k privilege (or something), it could still be dangerous.
    – user159834
    Aug 16, 2011 at 11:31
  • Surely not all bumped edits are validated and checked. I can't really believe that's actually happening. So why would not bumping be more dangerous? The owner of the question still has it, and a rollback is always possible.
    – MPelletier
    Aug 16, 2011 at 11:56
  • @MPelletier: The OP isn't notified of edits. Aug 16, 2011 at 11:58
  • @Hendrik Shouldn't he?
    – MPelletier
    Aug 16, 2011 at 11:59
  • @MPelletier: I'm just saying how things are at the moment. But this has also been discussed and dismissed before (don't have a link right now). Aug 16, 2011 at 12:02
  • @Hendrik, the point is that the system decides when it is "right" to bump a question on the active list or notify users, not the user creating the edit - exposing that as an option is a can of worms
    – waffles
    Aug 16, 2011 at 12:20
  • @waffles: Yeah, I know. I'm not entirely sure myself if there's a possibility to circumvent that can of worms. Bill Dubuque has suggested a no-bump option that requires approval by mods or 10k+ users. I'm not saying that I support this, but I'd really like to know your opinion! Aug 16, 2011 at 12:25
  • @waffles: What are the different parameters? Character count? Speed of edit? I'd like to know.
    – MPelletier
    Aug 16, 2011 at 13:42
  • One other thing. "Added 1 character" is based on character count? So if someone were to replace a 100 character question with 101 @'s, that would count as "Added 1 character?"
    – MPelletier
    Aug 18, 2011 at 14:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .