Trivial edits. Especially when it consists of adding a single space.

Currently, there are 9,415 results for “Stackoverflow” written as a solid compound. Some of those results spell the name with two capital letters, i.e. StackOverflow. Instead, there are 24,058 results for the name "Stack Overflow

Each time someone edits the spelling and changes it to Stack Overflow this bumps the post to the front page, so there are at least another 9,000 posts to go.

Personally, I consider yanking archaic posts to be detrimental to the site and to the author of the post. Recently, an OP earned two downvotes, through no real fault of their own, because their unpopular post was bumped to the front page by what I would call a trivial edit.

according to the Help Center guidelines [emphasis theirs]

Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged - try to make the post significantly better when you edit, correcting all problems that you observe.

However, I might be mistaken in my fury and... perplexity.

  • Is this type of edit considered trivial or not by the SE team or by the community?

  • Should the name Stackoverflow, even on posts that are five or even ten years old, be always fixed? Why?

The same also refers to splitting the compound name StackExchange to Stack Exchange. This, despite the fact that the name of the site is written as one word

enter image description here on the topbar.


Further reading
Why are trivial edits discouraged?
Addressing users who make many trivial edits
Notification when a trivial edit is made on my post
Resolving the dissonance on edits and bumps

  • 4
    How many more of these posts are we going to get for every form of trivial edit? ;) – Bart Dec 2 at 12:13
  • @Bart just the two. I didn't want to include this in the earlier post as I believe the issue is quite separate. The two types of edits are not exactly the same. – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 12:15
  • 5
    I personally think that everything that (every thing) that can be fixed should be fixed. If that sometimes means a post a bumped due to a single space being added, so be it. That doesn't mean someone should now go find those 9,000 posts and edit them all. But if you are going over posts from a certain quality angle (a tag, score, maybe a user) touching posts and you fix everything there is to fix, I see no issue, even if that means some posts only change for one space. – rene Dec 2 at 12:16
  • 1
    "This, despite the fact that the name of the site is written as one word on the topbar." That's SE's logo. – Anne Daunted Dec 2 at 13:35
  • @AnneDaunted fine, I know but there's still no space between the two words. So why the need to edit StackExchange, when it mimics the logo? – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 13:38
  • 2
    @AnneDaunted Why drag posts from the past if it's only to fix such a minor thing? Leave them alone, especially if they have a sea of downvotes. The number of downvotes a post received made their point clear enough, didn't it? The edit(s) seemed so incredibly superficial and needless. But obviously, I am in the minority thinking that. – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 13:49
  • 1
    @AnneDaunted yes, yes, 10-year-old posts that are outdated and talking about features and bugs which no longer exist are really invaluable... – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 13:59
  • 1
    @AnneDaunted I limited this post to the spelling of the company and its flagship site. It is not asking what constitutes a trivial edit, or if an edit that involves fewer than 6 characters is trivial. Some minor edits/corrections can be hugely important for legibility. I have absolutely no qualms with them. – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 14:12
  • "because their unpopular post" - If the contribution was not popular, couldn't the author could have improved it, to address the reason(s) it was unpopular? – Ramhound Dec 3 at 18:55
up vote 6 down vote accepted

When

We need to make a distinction between the making of trivial edits and the acceptance of those by the community.

I disagree with the suggestions to roll back the edit. If a post has been made more correct then the fact that someone disagrees with the act of editing is no reason to reverse an improvement. We can accept that an improvement has been made without agreeing with the act of making it.

If we accept the above as true then your question becomes: "When should a user edit a post?"

It's been network policy for a long time that searching out old things to edit is a Bad ThingTM and the editing help discourages trivial edits.

In other words, a user should edit when they naturally come across a post that needs fixing, and they believe their changes to be beneficial.

Consequences

This is where I begin to have problems. What happens if someone, especially a mod, disagrees with a particular user's definition of beneficial? What proportionate consequences can there be?

The only threat that's available is banning. If a user is not going to be banned over making trivial edits then the threat is ineffective. I believe that banning would be an inappropriate and disproportionate response to someone improving posts.

Reality

It sounds like we just need to talk to each other. If someone's making trivial edits on many old posts we should be able to talk to the individual and politely ask them to stop. We should be able to accept that they might not and if they do not then there's very little that can be done about it.

Actually, the space is an essential part of the name. While its "One word" they're two different colours.

Honestly? Its a simple mistake to make. Its "Super User" not Superuser (A mistake I made for years), Stack Exchange not StackExchange and Stack Overflow not Stackoverflow.

And well, if we're going to go "We shouldn't be editing these" one by one, we have a bit of a problem, simply cause we will never run out of words.

As a new user - the edit limit is designed to let you get used to what's a substantial edit. On the other hand, we trust experienced users to know when to bend the rules. That's to say - trivial edits are more of an issue if they're the only edit made, but if someone fixed Stackoverflow don't touch that ed to Stack Overflow with other useful or substantial edits. I might even be cool with it helping make up the minimum for a new user with other fixes.

If someone's farming these fixes on their own, you can ping them and let them know that maybe more substantial edits can be made.

if this fails, or things get heated, flag and a mod'll probably take a look, and see if there's more that can be done on those posts, and let the editor know where there's room for improvement.

  • Please check the recent edits, I have not checked each and everyone but a couple of these edits (not suggested edits) just added a single space. – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 12:11

It seems you're pretty well aware of what constitutes a 'trivial' edit, and what it's possible negative ramifications are: frontpages flooded with old posts and no new ones in sight.

Let's just treat this as we would on any other site: If someone makes a single trivial edit to a post of yours, you're free to rollback and explain that it was too trivial for you (even though Stack Overflow is the correct spelling) or you can just let it be. If you see someone continuously flooding the front page with trivial edits, flag one of the posts they edited/one of the editor's posts for moderator attention.

I really think there's no need to discuss this on a word-by-word basis. If anyone sees someone flooding the front-page, flag. Otherwise, please don't get into roll-back wars over trivial edits. If the original post-owner doesn't mind, don't be the third party stepping in and completing the drama-triangle.

  • Rolling back an edit is bumping the post again, and the edit, in this instance is not "wrong" just superficial IMO. – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 12:18
  • Therein lies a bit of a problem. We have something nearly impossible to police - and that we trust users to do in good faith. The bump acts as a check so people can review it (and trust me, mods have asked for non bumping edits for certain tasks), and this seems a major problem for you too. Rollbacks bump a post back in the short term, sure, but that's also by design. I'm not sure what can be done practically here. – Journeyman Geek Dec 2 at 12:29
  • 1
    The two posts are related but not identical, the first is arguing that writing the term "internet" is not considered incorrect. This post specifically refers to the name of the complany and its flagship site. There might be a valid argument in favour of making sure the name is always correctly written. I don't know. Hence my asking. In fact you were corrected by another user when you suggested that rolling back the edit could be useful. – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 12:40

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