Possible Duplicate:
Change this behavior to allow for spelling corrections and the like: “Edits must be at least 6 characters”
Edits under 6 characters need to be allowed for code samples

In Python code, white-space indentation is syntax relevant. But when a Python code block has the wrong indentation (and thus may be syntactically incorrect), stackoverflow will not allow me to edit the post, but complains:

"Oops! Your edit couldn't be submitted because:

  • Edits must be at least 6 non-space characters; is there something else to improve in this post?"

The problem is also discussed in this question, which hasn't found a lot of attention so far: Submit edits to questions...

Wouldn't it make sense to relax the editing rules for white-space edits at least in code blocks?

  • 2
    Users with full edit privileges don't have this limitation. You have to realize that as a user with less than 2,000 reputation, you're getting 2 reputation for your edit. Is adding a few spaces into a post really worthy of 2 reputation? I'd be all for this if users weren't getting reputation for it.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 19:11
  • @animuson I agree with your point in a general situation, but for python code a few spaces can make the difference between correct and incorrect code. Anyway, I wasn't aware of the 2,000 reputation cap, so maybe it is not that critical then.
    – silvado
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 19:15
  • 2
    See: meta.stackexchange.com/a/82535/149052 Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 19:16
  • 1
    "Just look for other changes that can be made. Usually, in a post that forgets that kind of formatting, there's often at least one other error to be found. A miscapitalized letter, an extra space, or often just another formatting error of a different sort. ... don't limit yourself to just a tiny edit: try to see if you can improve the post to a possible state of perfection." -Grace Note, here
    – Pops
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 19:42
  • Does the owner of the post face this limitation? If it's not the owner who is editing the post, then the editor is essentially changing the meaning of the post, which might not be a good idea. If it's an answer, suggesting the edit in a comment would be better. If it's a question, editing the code edits the context of the question and may render it moot.
    – David
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 19:43
  • 1
    There are many workarounds for this: adding an HTML comment block, adding a code comment to illustrate the code change, asking the OP to change it himself. Note that edits that change the material meaning of the post are best left to the OP, who also coincidentally has the power to make single-character edits.
    – user102937
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


In theory, it makes sense that less than 6 characters modifications that turn a code example into a compilable one should be allowed, at least to me. It can be annoying when you try to answer a question, and the SSCCE provided doesn't compile because of some stupid mistake that could be easily fixed (typo, wrong indentation in case of Python, etc.).

As @animuson pointed out, this only applies to users with less than 2000 reputation. But still, I think if those users find out an error in a SSCCE and want to spend a few seconds to make it easier for others to answer the question, they should be able to do so. Going through posting a comment and waiting for the OP to make the change (or someone else with more than 2000 reputation) seems like an incorrect use of the comments. Once the code modification is done, you would end up with 2 or 3 comments that are irrelevant now that the problem has been fixed.

However, I wonder how often this case happens. If it's once every month, then I guess nothing should be done about it. But if this situation comes up 2-3 times a day, then maybe an easy solution could be investigated? Maybe small modifications made to code blocks only could automatically be submitted for review instead of being refused automatically by the system? Specifying a comment in this situation would then be mandatory, just to make sure the user editing the question can specify to the reviewer why such a change is being submitted.

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