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Allow under 6 character changes if they are inside code tags

Trivial edits are discouraged - good. However I edited a post that was otherwise a good question, except the code wasn't offset, and this greatly slowed down my ability to read and process the question. When I found the prototype of the function he was talking about I indented it and felt the readability was much improved, however I had to change 6 non-whitespace characters. As a result I fixed some capitalization errors - 6 characters of them. This is ironic and actually creates a perverse incentive.

Anyway - the 'trivial' edit detector should not consider white space that is offsetting for code to be a trivial edit.

Tagged as "bug" because improperly turning the business requirement into a coding specification is as bad as a coding error.

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    The Solution? Get more than 2000 rep. Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:13
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    Halfway there. But "trivial" edit is defined incorrectly. Offsetting code greatly increases readability. It's not a trivial edit.
    – djechlin
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:15
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    Wait...you complain that you needed to fix more of the post...and yet you still did not fix everything? Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:15
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    @GardenGnobobby How does that not make perfect sense to you? I wanted to make the one nontrivial edit that needed to be made - offset the prototype - so that at least I could find it. I was further required to make trivial edits to make the edit count as non-trivial. I didn't make all the trivial edits that I could have, no, of course not.
    – djechlin
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:17
  • Meh--it might be a minor PITA, but there's almost always a trivial way to get over the limit until you have edit rights. ROI on checking that an edit what code-only whitespace seems low. Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:18
  • I didn't make all the trivial edits that I could have, no, of course not. Explain that please. Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:19
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    Just FYI, Cutting out "thanks people" would have been enough to do all the whitespace editing you wanted
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:19
  • You said I did not fix everything - was there anything substantial that I missed? If so that was my oversight - I only saw further caps etc. errors that didn't warrant attention. @DaveNewton - yes the ROI argument is fair. I didn't realize this only affected users < 2000 rep which definitely reduces the impact.
    – djechlin
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:20
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    I only saw further caps etc. errors that didn't warrant attention. ...I think that's the point where you will run into every editor out there. Here's pretty much the most important guideline for editing (especially suggested edits): While you're at it, fix everything. Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


While I do understand where you are coming from, the suggested edits is not an easy thing to wade through. Code formatting is important, but the few about of characters that were edited seems to me like it was a trivial edit.

Most of the time, the suggested edits page is quite backed up, meaning it can take a really long time for your edits to be approved. This can prevent others who have more reputation from editing parts of your post.

If you are really concerned, once you reach 2000 reputation, you can make edits of any length, even a single character (just make sure that if you do, be sure to leave a good edit summary as well).

Stackoverflow is a community-driven site, and for that reason, we have the suggested edits system. It prevents from post vandalism, and lightens the load for the moderators. However, that doesn't mean that it should be used to change 'minor' things like simply code formatting.

If you do have a scenario where you want to make changes to JUST code formatting, see if you can throw a few adjectives in a couple of places in the post, so that the editor thinks that you made more changes.

Just my 2 cents on the whole suggested edits thing.


It's not really clear what you think the bug is, here. The guideline about trivial edits is primarily to guard against incrementing towards status, not an edict against improving the readability or semantics of a given post.

One should strive to preserve the original author's intent, and to respect his or her phrasing, to the maximum extent possible without losing clarity or meaning. One should also strive not to needlessly cause the author's post to become a community wiki, as that deprives them of the chance to have their questions voted on.

If your edit doesn't change the meaning of a question, doesn't have a significant impact on clarity, or doesn't make a significant difference in the formatting of a post, then it's probably trivial in the dictionary sense of the term.

If an edit would be trivial, it doesn't mean you shouldn't perform the necessary edits; it just means you should exercise good judgment in determining whether the edit is worth incrementing the edit counter or requiring people to vote on the changes.

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    If the problem is that small edits increment towards CW status, then the solution is that small edits shouldn't contribute to CW status. Banning them altogether is not a good solution.
    – endolith
    Commented Nov 30, 2012 at 4:46

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