When making a small edit (say to code or hyperlinks) to fix something that's testably broken, you may get the error message forcing you to leave provably broken code.

Edits must be at least 6 characters; is there something else to improve in this post?

In reality, this restriction only happens if you have under 2000 reputation, and even then only if you aren't the original writer; which I think is a reasonable restriction.

However, questions about this message are constantly repeated, which I think itself is indication of a conveyance issue with the way the error is phrased.

What do we think about changing the text of this error so it's clear this isn't a universal restriction, but one limited to new users?

"Edits must be at least 6 characters for users under 2000 reputation; is there something else to improve in this post?"

Edit: There's some confusion here: it doesn't have to be the exact change I suggested. But given the number of duplicates it is an issue and we should probably discuss possible solutions (it's fine to shoot down my suggestion, but please suggest a better alternative yourself)

  • I don't see any improvement. If a user with the trusted universal edit priviledge edits the question, the message won't appear. It's a clear message for edit improvements given to users without that priviledge, so what? Commented May 22, 2019 at 16:51
  • @πάνταῥεῖ Try searching on Meta for "Under 6 characters" to get an idea of how many times people get confused enough by this to start a duplicate meta post. It's almost always new users (who are the least likely to know it doesn't apply to higher reputations). I count 3 pages of posts so far
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 16:53
  • 1
    Do you mean that users that get that error-message don't make the connection that it is related to their current reputation? I'm under the impression most complaints about that feature are for its arbitrary length and the unneeded blocking of the ability to fix something that is really broken. I'm missing for your post how the text change will prevent the type of posts I mentioned earlier to appear on meta?
    – rene
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 16:56
  • because the phrasing makes it seem like a universal restriction. If it's clear it's only to new users, it becomes obvious they can post a comment and have the op, or a veteran make the change instead of creating a new post on Meta... Like I did
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 16:59
  • Only to find out they need 50 rep to comment and 5 rep to bring it to a per-site meta ... I give you the returning annoyance. I'm not convinced at all a text change is going to solve that and I'm pretty sure the text change to mention the reputation will help even a little bit. If anything it needs to link to an FAQ item.
    – rene
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 17:04
  • and lots of other people too ...
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 17:10
  • Also I just realized my original subject came across as demanding rather than requesting discussion, I've changed it accordingly
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 17:28
  • This guy gets it.. Can you explain how adding the text "for users under 2000 reputation" makes anything easier or clearer for someone with under 2000 Rep. --- Should we add the opposite for users ≥ 2000 Rep. so they aren't similarly confused?
    – Rob
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 18:06
  • Users over 2000 rep can be expected to be veterans and don't need as much guidance. And to be clear the "for users under 2000 reputation" exists, just in a place where it's not obvious to new users. Also as I later clarified, I'm open to other options, please post an alternative not just snark. I'm looking for options, not to be picked as the right answer.
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 18:38
  • @Rob I don't follow your comment here. I'm not talking about editing my question, I'm saying there are so many duplicates posted about this non-issue that there's a problem with it's conveyance, and asking for alternative solutions to that problem if you don't like mine, or why you think that many duplicate posts doesn't indicate any confusion (Note: I've re-read your comment 3 times and I still think I might have misunderstood what you're trying to say)
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 18:52
  • Thanks, I appreciate it. For what it's worth this didn't come out of nowhere and I am genuinely trying to help, it derived from suggestions other people liked here and here. I genuinely think both that this restriction is good, and that there's a conveyance issue that's confusing new users. That being said there's probably an issue with how I've phrased something here that's making people mad instead of encouraging fertile discourse
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 19:13
  • If you have a suggestion on how I can change the question to encourage discussion I'm open to listening
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 19:15
  • Seems like the general consensus is that this isn't enough of an issue to be worth doing anything about currently. Accepting an answer and closing
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 20:26

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: the info is already there for new users and I doubt many 2kers wouldn't know about the restriction being lifted.

I think it's redundant and not a real improvement.

If you're editing a post while being <2k, you'll already see a banner stating:

You do not have edit privileges. Your edit will be placed in a queue until it is peer reviewed.

We welcome edits that make the post easier to understand and more valuable for readers. Because community members review edits, please try to make the post substantially better than how you found it, for example, by fixing grammar or adding additional resources and hyperlinks.

Note: as pointed out in the comments, it seems that link only appears on mobile and not on desktop (for me, at least). Investigating, any feedback on this is appreciated.

The link in this description takes you to the "Edit" privilege page, which reads:

Awarded at 2,000 reputation.

What is edit questions and answers?

We believe in the power of community editing. That means once you've generated enough reputation, we trust you to edit anything in the system without it going through peer review. Not just your posts—anyone's posts!

Pedantically speaking, the emphasized "anything" means the 6 characters thing doesn't apply anymore... So technically, the information is already here. One just has to bother educating themselves a bit.

Furthermore, do you actually count the characters before submitting the edit? I don't think many people do - if they click and realise the limit is gone, that should stick. And if they're 2k but are convinced that "I can't edit 'cause it's only a missing semicolon", by this point they should know they can just leave a comment. It'd be a bit redundant, but they'll know eventually.

  • That banner isn't particularly obvious, I've completely missed it every single time I've posted. Also as I've tried to clarify above (now) it doesn't have to be that exact change. There's a LOT of times this is brought up, which seems to indicate there is a conveyance issue. I'm open to other options to fixing it (it doesn't have to be my solution) but I think we should discuss possible options
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 17:16
  • @ChrisRudd IMO it's more a matter of Internet users being used to dismiss any kind of popup, as a reflex. But in all honesty - I think it still wouldn't prevent questions along the lines of "why can't I edit this character only? Yes, I'm not 2k, but it's important and not trivial, it should be authorized if it's a security issue"
    – Jenayah
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 17:20
  • Also your post is incorrect, my banner looks like this: ibb.co/sJ0R0LX There's no link in mine to that page.
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 17:21
  • @ChrisRudd just edited, the link is here on mobile (for me) but apparently not on desktop? WTF?
    – Jenayah
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 17:22
  • Strange. Also I'm trying to figure out why I've never noticed the banner across probably 30+ edits. Maybe when I hit edit I reflexively look for a textbox and scroll for that ignoring everything else out of training because so many other websites put garbage at the top? Since part of Intuitive Design (which stack exchange actually does pretty well) is leveraging existing training, I wonder if there's some way to call attention to the banner for new users who haven't retrained for Stack Exchange yet?
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 17:31
  • Also I just re-read through the "edit privileges" page and that sentence sounds like it's only talking about removing the "peer review" part of the restrictions, not that the character limit will be lifted. I do agree that once someone hits over 2k reputation they're likely to know this restriction no longer applies to them, but at that point they can reasonably be assumed not to be new users anymore. Given how many people seem to strongly dislike the idea of the message itself being changed, is there something else we can do to make this more intuitive to new users?
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 18:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .