Yesterday, while going through the Suggested Edit queue, I ran into a couple of edits that only changed the links from one URL to "www.mathdotnet.com". The one in the original post does redirect the suggested edit domain name so I rejected it as "too minor" and the edits were ultimately rejected.

This morning, the author of the edits tweeted at some of the people that had rejected some of the edits asking why we rejected them. One guy is replying to him point to the guidelines say that the edit needed to be "substantive improvements addressing multiple issues in the post", which is also why I rejected the edit(s).

So my question is, are those types of edits really too minor? The domain does seem to be more of a permanent link to the project. But by the rules, it seems like it is too minor.


Thanks for bringing this up here. I'm the one suggesting these edits. For context, I'm the founder and maintainer of the Math.NET project and maintain the website all these edits link to (both before and after the suggested edit).

The Math.NET website got its own proper domain a while ago, and in order to avoid breaking things I've simply redirected (permanently) the old URIs to the new ones. However, after a couple of years I'll likely drop the old domain as it is not really used anywhere else anymore. In order to prevent dead links (and to avoid pointless redirects) I've suggested fixes to all the old links.

One of the core principles of StackOverflow is that content should not get outdated over time, which was a very common problem of all the forums before (which often were a collection of useless dead links) and one of the reasons SO was created in the first place. Keeping links working is essential to achieve this goal.

See also "When should I edit posts".

In my opinion, updating an outdated link is always substantial enough to justify an edit, provided it does point to the same "logical" resource - no matter whether the link is essential in the question or not. Dead links are always bad.

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    Agreed. Maybe it would be helpful if you mentioned your affiliation with Math.NET in the comment area for these edits. That way a reviewer - if they bother to read the comments - would know that you are not just some random person off the Internet trying to increase their rep score... – Justin Ethier Jun 25 '13 at 14:14
  • Thanks, will do that the next time! – Christoph Rüegg Jun 25 '13 at 14:15
  • While you're at it, I found a question with dead link to other project on the same domain (cdrnet.net/projects/threadmsg). Is there alternative link? – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Jun 25 '13 at 14:28
  • @ShaWizDowArd thanks, I didn't notice this! Unfortunately not, I guess this would be a case where the first link should just be dropped (and the second one updated as it redirects as well). I usually try hard to avoid dead links, but this is almost 10 years old now. – Christoph Rüegg Jun 25 '13 at 14:33
  • Done. One more thing, you used to have "/About.aspx" page what happened to it? – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Jun 25 '13 at 14:36
  • @ShaWizDowArd Great, thanks! At mathdotnet.com? The equivalent information and links are now directly on the root/homepage of the site (where it also redirects to). – Christoph Rüegg Jun 25 '13 at 14:46
  • Hmm.. found a post linking to mathdotnet.com/About.aspx so you say leave it be? – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Jun 25 '13 at 14:49
  • Best would be to fix it to mathdotnet.com but it seems some disagree ;). This specific redirect I can guarantee to remain for much longer than the order ones though. – Christoph Rüegg Jun 25 '13 at 14:53
  • By the way, thanks for the new shiny badge I got as result of editing! ;) – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Jun 25 '13 at 15:05

Another option, not previously mentioned is to comment on each of the relevant answers mentioning the updated link. This has the benefit of informing both readers of the answers, and gives answerers opportunity to edit themselves. It also doesn't require any moderation.

It's worth noting that the editor is the maintainer of the project.

To discuss a few of the edits:

  • The first one seems to just be purely a link to this library, so it's currently either NAA or a non-constructive question. If the former the answer needs to be expanded.
  • The second and third mentions the project as an aside, again these are probably non-constructive questions. But they each have plenty scope for improvement...

At the very least when updating a link, the answer should be improved in some other way (unless it is otherwise perfect - hint: it isn't)...
These edits were correctly rejected, well done editors!

An alternative is to ask a friend with 2k rep (editing priveleges) to go through these quesions/answers without hitting the moderator queue and wasting reviewers time with an edit they are obliged to reject.

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  • So you're saying that if the answer is bad, it doesn't matter when the links are dead as well and any attempt to fix them should be blocked? – Christoph Rüegg Jun 25 '13 at 13:53
  • @ChristophRüegg That's right, flag to delete the answer if it's NAA. If you want to update the links then take the time to improve the question/answer, these were "blocked" as you only updated the url. – hayd Jun 25 '13 at 14:07
  • Dead links are a technical problem, content is editorial. Surely they can (and should) be treated independently? – Christoph Rüegg Jun 25 '13 at 14:14
  • @ChristophRüegg it may well be the case that they should be treated independently, but in the current system they are not (perhaps there is a case for the differentiating between them). Atm, you're getting rep for successful edits, so taking a little time to improve them doesn't seem too unreasonable to me. – hayd Jun 25 '13 at 14:26
  • (I don't really care about rep - except to avoid issues like this) – Christoph Rüegg Jun 25 '13 at 14:28
  • @hayd You get editing privileges at 2K rep. – dcaswell Oct 21 '13 at 16:06
  • This is so contradictory it's funny. It's "OK" for a moderator in your view to make an edit that should otherwise be rejected as too minor. But when a user literally suggests through SO the same edit, you advocate rejecting it; but when they go through a side channel and ask a moderator to change it that's good in your view. So either way you waste a moderator's time... So what's the value of rejecting the suggested change in the first place? – UpAndAdam Oct 21 '13 at 17:15
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    @UpAndAdam I meant to ask a real person whom you knew to change it, not a moderator (just someone with edit privileges). That way the edit doesn't have to enter the review queue and waste 5 people's time, especially since they are obliged to reject the edit. – hayd Oct 21 '13 at 17:19
  • @UpAndAdam "It's "OK" for a moderator in your view to make an edit that should otherwise be rejected as too minor". Yes. – hayd Oct 21 '13 at 17:21
  • Ahhh. 1 vs. 5; that is a good point. Makes more sense. (and that's what I meant by moderator, someone with the edit privs) Thing is that gets confusing to new users; Who do you look for to be a good example of the proper behavior? High ranked users, so they look at their edits and say "Oh it was ok when this high ranked person made the same type of change, so that must be an acceptable edit I guess I'll suggest the same". It's an interesting dilemma; granted I'm not a 3K edit user & don't have the experience to appreciate why that's so bad; but from my naive view lack of consistency is worse. – UpAndAdam Oct 21 '13 at 17:24
  • @UpAndAdam The system requires 2k rep to "trust" a user make the call whether the edit is acceptable. Another case where this crops up is fixing (an answer's!) trivial technical inaccuracy/typo which wouldn't pass the review queue since it requires specialist knowledge. – hayd Oct 21 '13 at 17:32
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    @UpAndAdam it's a good point re consistency, I try and be comprehensive with my edits and so should we all. The best feedback you'll get is from having your edits accepted/rejected... -> Learn but don't lose heart. :) – hayd Oct 21 '13 at 17:37

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