The guidelines given to users who are about to suggest an edit are (boldface mine):

Your edit will be placed in a queue until it is peer reviewed.

We welcome all constructive edits, but please make them substantial. Avoid trivial edits unless absolutely necessary.

The last sentence does not seem good guidance to me, no matter how I interpret the word trivial:

  1. If I take trivial to mean with little value, the guideline is self-contradictory, because if something is absolutely necessary, it obviously has value.

  2. If I take trivial to mean ordinary or not intellectually challenging, the statement at least makes sense, but would exclude, e.g., an edit that inserts paragraphs, capitalisation, and punctuation in a typical wall of textspeak – which I would consider tedious, but still trivial, and in particular a worthy edit.

Also, while I am at it: Why absolutely? If a wall of textspeak can still be read eventually, I would not consider it absolutely necessary to edit it, but still a reasonable edit.

Moreover, the versatility of meanings of the word trivial make this guidance prone to be misunderstood by somebody who is not that familiar with the English language.

Note that this is not a duplicate (but probably a result) of: Remove "unless absolutely necessary" from suggested edits text


1 Answer 1


You are not considering the quality of edit target. Their edits will be placed in a queue until they have earned 2,000 reputation points that noes not necessarily mean they don't need a review or advice depending the essential quality of the edited entry. Trivial activity over low quality Q&A's brings unnecessary attention to front page and consequent advice if frequent. In my case I was told to focus preferably over topics I may help in or well sustained entries overshadowed by poor grammar and format. The rule of signs does not apply here, so edits reflected over low quality content is still a trivial result regardless of the quality of editing, resulting in advice that goes beyond site main drives.

Since this is the meta site, and the post is tagged as a feature request, a feature suggestion would be beneficial to it, because in the actual state, looks like a bug report, and the bug is actually an conceptual inconsistency that actually, in my opinion is still clear enough for all kind of welcomed members: Professional, enthusiasts and enrolled users in respective categories. I agree issue can't be avoided saying something like we are programmers not typographers. Currently the guidelines for editing are in all the communities and if something can be suggested is

Always consider if entry is helpful enough to be edited. Avoid doing unnecessary edits.

Anyone can be of help here while editing, but not a hero. Guidance is the main feature of Stack Exchange rather than an unmentionable and always potential rise of an editors culture. Sidekicks are just tipped with reputation, not encouraged to spend an editing career over the site.

  • 7
    you are missing the point the OP is trying to make. He is saying that given the commonly accepted definitions, trivial cannot possibly be absolutely necessary. A necessary edit would not be trivial. Sep 3, 2016 at 23:20

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