14

Before gaining 2k rep on StackOverflow I was only allowed to make substantive edits to posts. Now that I have 2k+ rep, my edits don't go through the review queue, and I am technically allowed to make all the 1 character edits that I want.

Should I? Is there another reason to avoid minor edits besides the approval cost?

  • 5
    From the post you linked: "If you want to make single-character trivial edits, earn 2k rep." Atwood implies he doesn't mind all that much. – hexafraction Jul 30 '13 at 19:37
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    But please, please, fix all the problems you can fix. Give the full post your attention and not just that one single issue you noticed. – Bart Jul 30 '13 at 22:08
  • @Bart I will - but interestingly, the motivation for this question was that I made a one-letter edit to my own post when I was re-reading and saw the spelling error. I immediately felt guilty for making a minor edit, and then wondered if there was anything wrong with that. – Cory Klein Jul 30 '13 at 22:10
  • That was bad and you should feel bad..... :) Nah, if that was all there was to fix, no problem whatsoever. – Bart Jul 30 '13 at 22:11
9

Yes, just be mindful to not go on huge minor edit sprees that needlessly bump lots of random questions.

  • Agreed. Just as a note, though: sometimes these large edit sprees are necessary, like when you're fixing systemic tag problems. In that case, just space out your edits a little bit. How much you need to space them out depends on the site. SO is huge and can absorb a lot of "bumps" without too much disruption. That's not the case for the smaller SE 2.0 communities. – Cody Gray Aug 1 '13 at 7:22
6

I see no reason why not. You aren't gaming the system, and you aren't making work for anyone else

  • 1
    and making the questions that bit more easier to read. – user226423 Jul 30 '13 at 19:49
  • @Damien I'm guessing I'm not alone in my hatred of those blasted isolated 'i's – StephenTG Jul 30 '13 at 19:50
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    Oh those drive me nuts, and the text speak! – user226423 Jul 30 '13 at 19:52
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    i dont know what u are talkin about... – Joe Jul 30 '13 at 19:56
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    @Joe I really wish I could downvote comments... – StephenTG Jul 30 '13 at 19:59
  • ;) I had that exact experience yesterday, actually (wanting to downvote a comment). Was sad I couldn't :( But then realizing commenting after the comment was just as good :) – Joe Jul 30 '13 at 20:00
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    I guess posting "I really wish I could downvote comments..." immediately after is the next best thing. Or upvoting it if it already exists – StephenTG Jul 30 '13 at 20:07
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    @Stephen Upvote it and then unupvote it, so that you can never upvote it again! Sure, it's not really a downvote, but it's a bit satisfying :P – Doorknob Jul 30 '13 at 23:40
4

There is nothing explicitly wrong with it, and certainly we all do from time to time.

However, the point of the no trivial edits is not solely to reduce approval cost. It is also that most posts requiring trivial edits also would benefit from more significant edits. Yes, perhaps just a typo in the title would be nice to be fixed; but what about improving the code formatting and fixing the paragraph spacing? In general I would say that you can make trivial edits if it is an otherwise exemplary post, but if it's a post in need of help, don't make trivial edits unless you're willing to make the more important fixes as well.

0

I fully agree with the other answers, however there is something else to think about here.

Whenever you edit a post, it gets bumped to the top of the hot questions page, where it hogs the attention. This is a good thing for posts with some value, but bumping mediocre questions for trivial edits robs better posts of the attention they deserve.

Depending on the site, there are usually 40-something posts in the Top Questions (43 on MSE, 90+ on SO and 48 on all others I frequent). For a hypothetical example lets say that eight 2k+ users edit just one old "OK, but not great" question. Add four mediocre questions from new users (really bad ones vanish pretty fast) and you have a Top Questions list 25% made up of mediocre questions. If, however, it is an answer to a good question, the question is worth bumping and improvements to its answers will be a good thing.

On more technology-oriented sites where information ages very quickly, bumping old questions which are no longer relevant, outdated, or incorrect can also have negative consequences. Someone might not realise that the question is obsolete, leading to confusion.

In summary, I suggest making sure a question is worth bumping before doing a minor edit.


Here is an old question of mine in a similar vein. It got some high-quality answers which are relevant to this discussion, and may be helpful.

Should I edit posts that have one or more important words spelled incorrectly?

  • If a mediocre question gets edited, it gets better. And how is it wrong it receives new answers? I see it as a plus. – Patrick Hofman Feb 23 '18 at 14:19
  • I see your point, but we are talking about minor edits. A minor edit can't really do much in the way of turning a mediocre question into a good question. (At least, I don't think so.) – hat Feb 23 '18 at 14:23

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