Possible Duplicate:
We're discouraged from fixing typos and misspellings on SE sites?
Edits under 6 characters should be allowed if in a hyperlink URL
Can't create a mark-down link when editing an existing answer

Example: https://stackoverflow.com/a/4791161/47573

This answers link doesn't work (404); a commenter posted the right link. Everyone will still clicks the link in the answer, sees that it doesn't work, comes back, reads the comment, goes to the right link. Bad experience.

I tried to edit it, but I must at least change X chars. The fixed link only needs a few characters changed to work.

My assumption: broken links, especially where another use already has made the work to figure out the right link, must not exist. Is my assumption wrong?

  • I fixed this particular one for you, but I guess the issue remains in general.
    – Mysticial
    Mar 19, 2012 at 8:43
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  • Whenever you have to make a nontrivial edit that changes only a few characters, append a string of dots to the bottom of the question. Or a bunch of whitespace. If you want, you can re-edit and remove it for neatness' sake. Mar 19, 2012 at 8:45
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    @Manishearth: No, do not do that! That edit would be rejected every time, as well it should be. Don't add spam just to make a correction. 1 - 1 = 0 Mar 19, 2012 at 8:46
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    I won't go as far as changing the system for such thing - user with edit privileges (2K+ reputation) can edit without the restriction anyway. If you really want that to be handled fast, you can always Flag the answer for moderator attention, choose "Other" and explain, posting the new and working link. Mar 19, 2012 at 8:46
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    @ShaDowWizArd I don't think it can get any faster than a meta post like this. If you use a flag, you have to wait for a mod to process it (among hundreds of flags?). But then, we don't exactly want to spam meta with trivial edit requests either...
    – Mysticial
    Mar 19, 2012 at 8:49
  • @Mysticial saw a few times moderators saying something along the lines of "better flag posts than post in Meta". :) Mar 19, 2012 at 8:50
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    @CodyGray a few dots is spam? I've seen it been done on physics.SE a few times when such a nontrivial edit had to be made(usually a mathjax formula not displaying properly). In this case, the correction is crucial, as a whole formula gets broken (similar to how a link gets broken). Not everyone speaks LaTeX, try and read \sum\limits_0^\infty\frac{\binom{n}{r}\hbar |A\rangle\vec{r}}{\varepsilon_0\pi r^3}. It displays as a readable formula, but if it was missing just one bracket, it would break and show the code. Mar 19, 2012 at 8:52
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    @Manishearth: Yes, a few dots are spam. Or call it noise. Whatever, it doesn't matter. You're just adding crap that has nothing to do with the answer and doesn't improve it in any way. The fact that you yourself suggest that you could edit it a second time to remove the crap is evidence enough that it's bad behavior. The fact that someone else did it on another site does not make it good practice. I'd reject that edit, too, and encourage others to do the same. Mar 19, 2012 at 8:53
  • @CodyGray aren't the dots basically collateral? They did improve the post by allowing you to fix a crucial part. Anyways, on reading the newer comments, I realised that this restriction is for <2k users and their edits have to be modded. In which case I say it's better to wait for someone else to fix it. Mar 19, 2012 at 8:55

1 Answer 1


The point of the 6 character minimum is to discourage people from making trivial edits. The idea is that there is no post so perfect that it cannot be improved in some way while you're at it. And since suggested edits do have a cost (a minimum of two users must look at and approve your edit), we want to try and consolidate all of the possible edits into a single suggestion.

In this particular case, the solution is simple. Since answers containing only a link are discouraged anyway as a matter of policy, you should edit the question to fix the link, and then add a summary of what the link says. Basically, you should turn the answer into an answer to the question, something that can stand alone, even if the link were to go down again (this happens frequently).

  • 1
    But the "answer only containing link" policy is just a coincident in this case, isn't it? I could have found a longer answer with a link and would still not be able to fix that particular link.
    – mark
    Mar 20, 2012 at 9:14
  • @mark: Yes, but longer answers also have a higher chance of typos, grammatical errors, formatting problems, etc. All of those can be easily corrected, putting you over the 6 character limit. That's the point: to improve the post in other obvious ways. Mar 20, 2012 at 17:18
  • This is an absolutely idiotic policy. I wanted to fix a typo in an answer where the author wrote "per say" instead of "per se" and I couldn't because of this stupid limitation. The idea that I should wait to find some other thing to edit is just ridiculous. It's unbelievable that somebody came up with such a stupid idea but it's even more of a shame that it is still kept.
    – matteo
    May 1, 2018 at 14:14

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