I just edited someone's post so that it would be more readable. Basically, I just added some line breaks and spaces into their sql code so that it now takes a reader about 5 seconds to comprehend what the query is doing instead of 50.

It was rejected on the basis that the edit was too minor. I respect that decision in that if there's a rule that minor edits should be rejected then they were following that rule. I am just curious to know why that is a hard rule. Is it just to prevent having too many edits?


3 Answers 3


As a frequent decliner of edits, I'd actually say that one was worth approving in this specific circumstance.

A lot of edit suggestions are formatting-only. While there is no harm in correcting formatting, usually there are other problems that can be corrected at the same time.

The answer is actually pretty horrible, quality-wise. It's "try this:" and a code dump, without explaining what makes it a valid solution or how it differs from the code in the question. Other than formatting, the only thing that could be improved in this answer would be explaining the what and the how.

An ideal edit to this answer would add that explanation. However, that would be quite a bit of effort, and should have been something done by the poster, not by some later random editor.

  • 3
    I've made substantive edits like that, and they were rejected because they edited the original post too much. That leaves us with no choice. It's either a minor edit, or it change the original too much. There has to be a better way to allow users to improve quality on SE. Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 4:22
  • There is: Get enough rep to not need reviews on your edits.
    – Charles
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 5:39
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    that is a lame cop-out and does not solve the problem at all. This sort of "tip" is completely unrealistic for the 99% of casual users who would otherwise happily spend half a minute improving an answer. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1%_rule_(Internet_culture) for more on the dynamics of these long tail users. Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 6:03
  • If you are serious about contributing to the site, then you are performing other activity as well, including asking and answering questions. The needed 2,000 reputation will come naturally as you actively participate. You're only 300 or so away from it yourself...
    – Charles
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 7:36

One reason why some edits are rejected as "too minor":

Reviewing suggested edits is boring, thankless work. Approving edits nets the editor 2 rep, and sends the message that their efforts are appreciated. For example, when people take the time to fix one typo but not the other 12, it becomes a waste of time for the reviewer for a relatively insignificant improvement to the post.

In your specific case, I'd say it's borderline. There wasn't much to "correct", and perhaps your choice of formatting wasn't ideal. I personally find the original form more readable; if for no other reason - because it doesn't force a scroll bar on the code block and everything is visible (the suggested edit page shows it on both, see actual post for reference).

  • I guess you're running at a lower resolution than my screen because I didn't get a scrollbar. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:27
  • Your edit would have caused one to appear. Like I said though, it's a borderline case: it could have easily been approved as well. Lucky for you there are billions of other sloppy posts on SO to edit, just try to do your best and your effort will be rewarded - don't worry about this one too much.
    – user159834
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:28
  • Not to be obligerent, but I wasn't suggesting that I "wouldn't" have gotten a scrollbar. Rather, I didn't get a scrollbar. (Remember it lets me see the edit personally until someone rejects it) Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:35
  • I can only speculate why your edit was rejected, see my edit for possible clearer formatting than your suggestion: stackoverflow.com/a/9365331/398242
    – user159834
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:36
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    And I'm not worried about this one :) I'm also not worried about the billions of other sloppy posts. I don't go around looking for posts to edit but I will try to improve ones on a question I'm personally involved with. I'm just trying to get a feel for whether it's worth my time to make these kinds of edits or not. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:39
  • Sorry if I sound condescending over the internet, I'm totally down with what you're trying to do - keep it up! You'll be the one reviewing edits before long.
    – user159834
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:41
  • Haha, yes your formatting is clearly superior to mine :) Thanks for making it more readable. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:42
  • No worries, I wasn't trying to sound offensive/defensive. Just trying to be clear. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:43
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    @Brandon: "Obligerent"??
    – jscs
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:45
  • 2
    @JoshCaswell It's a new word I just made it up. It means the same thing as belligerent, with a hint of obnoxious. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:47
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    @Brandon: I'll keep my eye out for it in the OED.
    – jscs
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 18:48

I reject a lot of suggested edits as too minor.

Usually, I do that because the editor ignores lots of other problems. The text next to the "too minor" button is:

This edit is too minor; suggested edits should be substantive improvements addressing multiple issues in the post.

(emphasis mine). So if I see a suggested edit where the post has 4 problems, and the edit only fixes one, I'm probably going to reject that. The editor shouldn't be lazy and ignore the other issues, especially if they're going to get rewarded. Also, if lazy, incomplete edits are often rewarded, then we can only expect to have many more lazy, incomplete edits in the future.

I wouldn't say it's a "hard rule"; it's very subjective and varies from reviewer to reviewer.

In your case, though, it seems there's nothing else in the post to edit! Just get your rep up to 2000 (or 2500 or 3000, I forget) and you won't have to go through this anymore.

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    In that case you shouldn't reject the post, but improve it further. Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 15:26
  • @userunknown -- not necessarily. Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 15:28
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    What is your problem with incremental improvements? Maybe the editor didn't have sufficient knowledge to spot the other three errors, but they fix one. Why in the world reject that, and knowingly perpetuate incorrect information? Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 4:24
  • @DanDascalescu If there's something that's not clear, I would be happy to explain further. However, my post already answers your questions. Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 12:41
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    Let me rephrase: given than an editor might not be aware of the other errors besides the ones they fixed, why do you assume they were lazy and willfully ignored the other errors? Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 22:23
  • @DanDascalescu experience. Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 23:11
  • Have you quantified this "experience" in any way? Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 7:08
  • @DanDascalescu sorry, not really interested in joining the crusade. If you want to engage in a debate about this, you'll have to look elsewhere! Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 13:49

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