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I recently suggested an edit to a question that did nothing but add a single highly relevant tag:

screenshot of suggested edit

It scraped through with 3 accepts and 2 rejects. Two reviewers voted to reject on the basis that:

This edit is too minor; suggested edits should be substantive improvements addressing multiple issues in the post.

Is using a suggested edit to add tags (or a single tag) to a post acceptable (assuming the tags are correct, obviously)? A canonical answer that can be referenced in edit descriptions by future edit suggesters (or in rejection reasons by reviewers) would be helpful.

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This is actually a very contentious issue. Not everyone agrees on whether retagging a question is sufficient to constitute a "significant" edit, or if it falls into the "too minor" category.

Perhaps some history is in order. Originally, we had a "retag" privilege offered at around 500 reputation. The full editing privilege was still set where it was today. Aside from that, low-reputation users could not make any edits to posts.

Relatively recently, we added the suggested edits feature, which allowed anyone to suggest edits to posts that would be subject to community review by experienced users. If the edit is approved, the suggester gets a minor reputation bonus and the site gets a little bit better. If the edit is rejected, the suggester is supposed to learn what they've done wrong from the rejection reason(s) that were given and the site avoids a poor quality edit. When the suggested edits feature was introduced, the retag privilege was eliminated—the idea was that there is no longer a need for it, as anyone who wants to suggest a retag can always do so through the suggested edits system.

That's all well and good, except that the suggested edits system brought with it a fair amount of overhead. Reviewing all those edits requires the attention of multiple high reputation users, taking their attention away from other things they could be doing to improve the site, like posting answers and making their own edits. So the rule was invented that you needed to be suggesting significant edits, because those were the only ones that were really worth the time of the reviewers. In fact, the system is built around this principle: users cannot even submit edits to the suggested edits queue that change fewer than 6 characters. And one of the canned rejection reasons for reviewers of the suggested edits queue is that a proposed edit is "too minor".

Of course, what constitutes "too minor" is virtually impossible to define in objective terms. Every reviewer has their own opinion. So if you're looking for a comprehensive policy, sorry, you won't find one.

The only way to be sure that your edit is not considered "too minor" by anyone is to fix all of the problems you see with the post while you're making the edit. If you want to retag or fix a misspelling in the title, that's fine, but you also need to make sure that code blocks in the body are properly formatted and that you've removed all superfluous signatures. Lots of people reject edits out of hand if they fail to fix glaring problems with a post. You could argue that retagging is an exception to that rule, of course, and people have made that argument. But you're not going to convince everyone; lots of reviewers are not regular contributors here on Meta. So the safe strategy to ensure your edit gets through is to fix everything. That's also best for the site, so everyone wins.

If you still insist on splitting hairs, arguing that retagging belongs to a whole different category of edits and should therefore not be subjected to the same rules, you would be hard-pressed to find a much better analysis than the one Matt offers here.


As for this particular edit, I would have implicitly approved it. Meaning, I would have clicked the "Improve" button but left the "this edit was helpful" checkbox checked. While improving, I would have done the following things:

  • Retitled the question. Mainly to remove the tag warts, but also to make it more readable, like an English sentence.
    (Tips on writing good titles are available here in the FAQ.)

  • Added inline code formatting to the one bit of actual code that appears in the body text (frames['nameOfMyIframe']).
    (Please do not use inline code formatting for anything other than code! Quite a few people suggesting edits recently seem to have gotten the idea that inline code formatting is for emphasis and are abusing it. This is horrible, and I reject all such edits on face with a custom reason.)

  • Maybe ensuring consistent capitalization for things like HTML and jQuery, assuming I noticed it.

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  • +1 for the comprehensive answer and "Please do not use inline code formatting for anything other than code!" Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 10:21
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    This is all very comprehensive, informative, and reasonable. Thanks.
    – Mark Amery
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 11:14
  • @MarkAmery don't let a setback stop you from making edits though; I looked through your revisions list, they are A-OK. Thanks for your effort in helping to tidy the site. Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 12:05
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When using the review queue, one is expected to review the entire post, the quality of the question/answer, spelling or grammar where possible, indent/format code, re-tag appropriately where possible.

You could have added code markup to frames['nameOfMyIframe'], and remove the tag "jQuery/JavaScript: " from the question title.

If you have extra time, do capitalize HTML and jQuery as well, and rewrite the last sentence, or remove it entirely (as it doesn't add value to the question):

Is there a known workaround for this problem?

enter image description here

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  • 'one is expected to review the entire post' is asking too much. If one can, certainly one should, but that's a high expectation. We have good iterative edits, no one person is expected to do this. And tags are fundamental to the systems exposure of contents, so correctly tagging, even tag-n-run, is perfectly sufficient. Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 10:13
  • @GrantThomas is that your own opinion, or do you have evidence to support your claim? Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 10:22
  • I have more evidence in my favour given that the system has no such constraints as you suggest - it allows multiple, iterative, partial edits. Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 10:33
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    @GrantThomas “When using the review queue, one is expected to review the entire post”. In a review queue, you are held to a higher standard: you're supposed to address all the issues that need addressing, or click “Skip” and leave the item in the queue for someone else. However, Mark didn't see this question in a review queue, so this higher standard doesn't apply. It's still a good idea when you're making an edit to look for other things that need editing. Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 11:24

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