I recently stumbled across this user in /review who I ended up flagging after a couple days of following for making a massive amount of edits that I felt were "too minor." This post isn't to rant about bad edits slipping through the review cracks (even though this is a problem) as this has already been discussed here. But, I'm wondering if the behavior demonstrated by this user should be considered acceptable.

The problem I'm seeing is that this mass acceptance of edits has already propelled said user to just under the "Established User" rank without him having the opportunity to really learn how to site works.

So my question is, should it be acceptable to allow new users to edit up until they hit the daily rep limit? Maybe for future cases put a limit on how many daily edits a user can suggest until they reach X reputation and have had more of an opportunity to learn when/why they should edit?

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    but define new user? I edit a lot on sites where I have very little rep, using skills I obtained on sites where I have more :-) – Kate Gregory Sep 28 '12 at 17:15
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    @KateGregory That's a good point, I hadn't thought of that. But, is it just me or are edits in this kind of bulk still a problem? – Mick MacCallum Sep 28 '12 at 17:16
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    I agree mass minor edits are annoying. I just don't want to be rate-limited as a "new user who doesn't know how stack exchange works" when I join a new site but actually do know how most of it works and just need to learn local culture. – Kate Gregory Sep 28 '12 at 17:18
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    It'd be nice if suggested edits required say 150 rep. – user7116 Sep 28 '12 at 19:11

I was expecting something much worse, but this user actually seems to be contributing good (if somewhat trivial) edits.

He is paying attention to spelling, fixing capitalization, adding missing punctuation, fixing typos and not misusing `backticks` or **bold** for random hilighting. Basically, he's doing none of the things that typically raise flags for me, when I see newish users spamming edits into the system.

All in all, I actually find myself pretty OK with him spamming these types of edits, and I have strong opinions on quality editing. He's objectively making our content better.

  • I appreciate the input, I just wanted to get some more opinions on this. A lot of the edits are beneficial to the site. – Mick MacCallum Sep 28 '12 at 18:08
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    Agree with everything except the word "spamming." If we want the content to be polished, we need to let these enthusiastic users improve the content without collectively grumbling about it. Just as there are users who enjoy fixing the cosmetics of the content, others don't mind reviewing the fixes. Let's get these two groups together and take the task off of those for whom the whole thing is irritating. – John Sep 28 '12 at 18:12
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    We also contacted him yesterday about making a series of minor edits, and he seems to have taken that advice to heart and is focusing on larger-scale improvements. I've been pleasantly surprised at the number of people who've responded well to just a gentle nudge in the right direction. – Brad Larson Sep 28 '12 at 18:28
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    @BradLarson That's very good; glad it's win-win. And I do see the value of encouraging edits that bring more bang for the buck. It would be nice if there were a way to handle minor edits as well. Some people being a whole truckload of food to the picnic, and others bring just one side dish, but they both make the picnic better, right? One person doing twenty edits improves the site the same amount as twenty people doing one edit each. – John Sep 28 '12 at 19:29

I poked through a few of the edits at random, and I didn't find any for which the edits made the post less readable.

This issue keeps coming up because there are some people who don't appreciate that others enjoy cleaning up posts like this. If they don't have the technical expertise to question the programming content of the question/answer, then at least they know enough to tell what parts are function calls and what parts aren't, and change the formatting to clarify which is which.

The person in question enjoys doing this for the site. What's wrong with that if it makes the site content more polished, more understandable, and more literate?

The same people who don't appreciate the joy that others get from formatting a question or answer also don't appreciate approving/rejecting/wading through these kinds of edits.

Is there a way to categorize these kinds of edits so that the people who don't like sifting through them don't have to, and the people who do enjoy it (or don't mind it, at least) can? Maybe filter on words in the comment section: "minor" "typo" "spell" "format" etc.?

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    The point isn't that they're ruining the posts. The user in question is helping to make the questions more readable, but my problem is that the edits fall into the "too minor" review category. And I do appreciate reviewing, I do a decent amount of it. I'm just following the rules :) If there's a reject as "too minor" option I'm going to reject minor edits. Example, this just went through the review queue and was approved. It is a good edit that makes grammatical correction, but should have been declined as too minor: stackoverflow.com/review-beta/suggested-edits/726767 – Mick MacCallum Sep 28 '12 at 17:56
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    Fair enough, but I think that the "reject as too minor" option keeps the site from being as polished as it could be. The site will still be improved, but not as quickly or completely, because some people don't view any edit as too minor. But that's a separate question. – John Sep 28 '12 at 17:59
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    Don't get me wrong though, I do agree with what you're saying. Maybe it would be beneficial to do as you suggested and when a user suggests an edit they can check a "grammatical fix" box and the edit would be passed through a different queue. – Mick MacCallum Sep 28 '12 at 18:01
  • Sure. Some people have eyes for these kinds of details, and get as much of a rush out of it as people answering questions. – John Sep 28 '12 at 18:07

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