4

In Austio's response to this question, it needs a single character edit which is critical to the response (@user should be @users). However, due to the edit length restriction, I could not make the edit. By looking around in meta, I sensed that the edit length restriction is primarily to discourage bots that do minor edits to get the rep bonus.

If this reasoning is true, my suggestion is to enable arbitrary edits, but then restrict rep bonuses to edits beyond a specified length. That way, those sincere about adding value even with a couple of characters will do it, and bots craving for rep will be discouraged from short edits.

2

The goal is partially to avoid "bots," as you call them, but it's also significantly to promote good, full edits. The correct approach in situations like this is to find more to fix, or leave a comment as you have.

Ultimately, there may be a couple "perfect" posts in the Stack Exchange network, but the vast majority have more than five characters of errors, or are missing five characters of content. That makes it worth, in the 99.99999% of cases, forcing users to put some thought into it.

A good edit in this case might have explained why that was the best approach, in addition to fixing that error. If you didn't want to make that significant of an edit, the right thing to do, again, is leave a comment so that someone else, perhaps the poster, could have made it. You may notice, also, that that error was actually fixed by the answerer.

  • Thanks. So, if I understand correctly, in this example, I could have edited with a line describing why I edited. I didn't want to make the response unnecessarily verbose, but this does make sense, since it also helps the poster or other readers understand why the edit was made. Thanks! – Anand Nov 14 '14 at 4:49
  • @Anand No, no, no. Don't add in why you edited, add in an explanation of why that answer was correct. The answer was basically just "this is how you should do it," which might have been fine for the asker and even for you, but it would be a much higher quality answer if it included a line or two about why that was how he should do it. – Matthew Haugen Nov 14 '14 at 4:52
  • I think we are saying the same thing - 'why I edited' implies the same thing as 'why that answer was correct'. In this example, it might be 'Edit: Changed @user to @users above, which is the variable name used in the question' – Anand Nov 14 '14 at 4:59

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