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Title edit plus minor body edit return 'too short' error

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Users gain the ability to edit only the tags of a question at 25% of the reputation needed to edit a post without restrictions, presumably allowing them to edit tags without being blocked by the "you must change 6 characters" filter.

But if such a user wants to edit only the title of a question, they can't, because they haven't changed enough characters in the body. If a question is well-formed with a misleading or unusual title, and someone wants to fix it, why tag them with a requirement to edit the question?

Should there be a "retitle" privilege that allows users without edit privileges to edit only the title of a question? Or should the 6-character check on the body be skipped if only the title is changed (and instead apply to the title, maybe)? The edit would still be peer reviewed and such.

  • Totally agree, a bad title is usually much worse then poor tag choices. Too many questions with stuff like "javascript regex" or "Why isn't this working" as the title. I think it makes a lot of sense to have more people be able to quickly change just a question's title.
    – user159834
    Mar 30, 2012 at 3:38
  • FYI editing the tags instead of the body also works, for cases where that is appropriate. (Somewhat ironically, tags + title + 1 character in body is rejected, but tags + title with no body edit is accepted.)
    – Jeremy
    Mar 30, 2012 at 3:56
  • Are you talking about suggested edits? Mar 30, 2012 at 4:08
    – user1228
    Mar 30, 2012 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


The reason that we allow users to retag questions at a lower privilege level than full edit privileges are achieved is that the tag editor interface is restrictive. It specifically limits the content that you can type in to the tags that already exist in the system. You don't earn the privilege to create new tags until you reach a higher reputation level, which prevents a lot of possible abuse by new users.

There's no way to do something similar with titles. The title box is almost a free-form textbox where users can type in anything they want. Since we don't have sufficient cause to trust users under 2,000 reputation not to make bad edits or worse, we need to place their edits into a "suggested edits" queue, where trusted users can judge and vote on those edits. If they're good edits, they get approved. If not, they get rejected without ever taking effect.

So no, I don't think we should allow people to make arbitrary changes to the titles of questions before they gain full editing privileges (and therefore the trust that goes along with the conference of those privileges).

And I think this is especially true of titles, which are probably the most visible portion of any question. They're displayed on the home page, in search results, and in lots of other places. It would pose significantly less harm to allow people to edit the body of the question than it would the title. Even for people who have completely non-malicious intentions, writing good titles is hard and takes practice.

Moreover, I oppose this on the basis that 6 characters just isn't that high of a threshold. If you're going to take the time to edit, then actually edit. No post is so perfect that you cannot find 6 characters worth of improvements to make.

  • Ah, true - the fact that tags choices are restrictive is important here, but I have doubts that this proposal would do more harm than good as you suggest - I think it would be very useful, even if it's a step between tag edit rights and full edit rights, or even a shortcut for users with full edit rights. I also think the fact that titles are so important is the reason to implement something like this, not the reason to avoid it.
    – user159834
    Mar 30, 2012 at 3:43
  • Then maybe even those with edit-title privileges should have their edits peer-reviewed if they lack "regular" edit privileges.
    – Toomai
    Mar 30, 2012 at 3:46
  • 1
    @Toomai: Then that's the same thing we have already. Mar 30, 2012 at 3:46
  • 1
    Not if the edit-title privilege disables the "change the body" check. While yes it's not exceptionally difficult to find 6 chars worth of changing, I suspect many users are turned off of title editing when they see they have to invent something to change in the body.
    – Toomai
    Mar 30, 2012 at 3:49
  • 1
    @too: The problem is, everyone wants to make an exception to the 6 character rule for whatever little thing it is that they one time wanted to be able to change but couldn't. The point is, the limit is there for a reason. We're not going to remove it for fixing code formatting, or fixing list formatting, or fixing minor typos, or fixing links, and so many more. Same for retitling questions. Mar 30, 2012 at 4:16
  • Then why does the retag ability exist at all?
    – Toomai
    Mar 30, 2012 at 11:44
  • 1
    And a note about those other wanted exceptions you noted: At the end of the day they're all edits to the text of the question. I don't think you can trivially lump this in with those.
    – Toomai
    Mar 30, 2012 at 13:37
  • I think the answer makes it pretty clear why retagging is an exception here. And none of the people who posted those other requests thought that denying them was reasonable. But this is a slippery slope. Mar 30, 2012 at 16:06
  • What does tagging being restrictive have to do with being allowed to skip the 6char check?
    – Toomai
    Mar 30, 2012 at 16:20

I just want to add a voice of support for this feature.

Titles are so important for all the obvious reasons, yet it's so common to see really (really) awful ones that give no insight into the question being asked, make the question more confusing, or detract attention from the actual problem in the post body.

I think the more hands that are available to get in there and help fix it, the better.

While I understand this point by The Establishment when it comes to most edits...

If you're going to take the time to edit, then actually edit.

...I think this is one of the very things that discourages people from fixing titles. In order to do so, they feel obligated (or are obligated) to do more, so instead they just do nothing.

While a good point has been made about tag edits being restrictive which does allow a bit more trust to the lower rep users, titles are rather restrictive as well. They are short, should be easy to understand, and don't contain code or formatting. The ability to screw things up is much less than a body edit.

This could be a privilege in between tag edit and full edit rights if necessary, or even just a quick shortcut for other users who already have full edit rights.

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