I tried to update a jQuery code block that was missing a curly brace. The code is incorrect, but I cannot edit it since changes under 6 characters are not allowed (at least at my level of rep?).

I understand why you don't want to allow minor copy-editing, and I agree that's fine for textual descriptions and regular writing, but 1 character can make a big difference in code.

  • Where was this, SO? I can make edits as minor as inserting a single character here on MSO.
    – Pops
    Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 15:10
  • Yes it was StackOverflow. Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 15:14
  • 11
    @Popular There is a character limit if you are doing edits with less than 2000 reputation. And, apparently, it's 6. At 2000 and higher, there is no such requirement.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 15:15
  • related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/93977/… Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 20:49
  • 1
    Incidentally, what is the reason for 6 characters - simply to reduce the burden on moderators? Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 1:49
  • 3
    I've seen atrocious code listings with inconsistent indentation or bracing styles. Cleaning those up can go a long way towards getting someone to help answer the question. Its rare that there isn't more that can't be fixed, but it is the case sometimes and prevents helping improve a question. I guess 2k is the answer but in the mean time the question (and my eyes) suffer. Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 2:23
  • @mindless.panda: I thought whitespace edits don't count toward the quota
    – endolith
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 2:20
  • Jeff's answer is dead-on here: either earn the privilege to edit as you please, or work within the restrictions placed on untrusted editors.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 14:51

3 Answers 3


Allowing edits of less than 6 characters in code blocks might not be a bad idea for answers, but
it may be problematic for questions.

Don't take me the wrong way, I'm not a big fan of the 6 character rule, as I've seen editors do some strange and irritating things to meet the requirement, (I saw someone edit in the word "link" after a link, just so they could remove a comma).

I've seen a few questions where the reason the OP was asking about their code ended up being as simple as a missing curly brace, comma, semicolon, or what have you.

In these cases a suggestion to add the missing character would be a great comment, or possibly an acceptable answer.
Notice that I said an acceptable answer not a great answer.

If these corrections are edited into the question then it could leave a non-sense question asking whats wrong with perfectly working code.


Was the post otherwise so perfect that absolutely nothing in it could be improved?

I'm sympathetic when the issue is a single character error in code, but I also believe deeply in the idea of encouraging people to go beyond the minimum level of effort.

So your options are

  • earn 2k rep and character twiddle away
  • with less than 2k rep -- while you are there, improve some other aspect of the post to reach the 6 character threshold
  • 24
    Take the top answer here: stackoverflow.com/questions/1163459/… I really want to change "struck" to "struct". I don't know enough Python to change anything else. I understand wanting to nudge users into more substantive changes. But this hard, rigid, inflexible, uncompromising rule strikes me as wrong. Any other change I would make to that answer would just be pointless fiddling to get around the rule. Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 1:46
  • 1
    I've taken a liking to the review process and code listings in particular can sometimes really improve a question. Sometimes I work a few minutes to improve the indentation/bracing/layout but have to abandon the edit because I don't know enough about the rest of the subject matter to try and improve. Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 2:25
  • 11
    "Was the post otherwise so perfect that absolutely nothing in it could be improved?" Yes. Do you understand that this rule discourages people from fixing errors, making the sites' content less trustworthy in the long run?
    – endolith
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 15:46
  • 2
    @endo it encourages people to earn 2k rep if they want the privilege of making trivial bit-twiddling changes. Peer review costs time. Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 17:58
  • 9
    @JefAtwood: It discourages people from fixing factual errors in answers (which will in turn cause problems for hundreds or thousands of readers). Sometimes it actually prevents them from fixing errors without resorting to hackish workarounds. I'm a peer reviewer, and it would be very stupid to reject a 1-character edit that fixed a bug in example code or 3-letter edit that reversed the meaning of a mistyped sentence, just because the editor hadn't met some prerequisite of busywork.
    – endolith
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 2:19
  • RT Answer by @JeffAtwood: yes, that is exactly what I do. After editing the error which is bugging me, I take out my thesaurus and go word-hunting...
    – kumarharsh
    Commented Sep 16, 2012 at 15:49
  • 1
    I think the rule (and the answer by Jeff Atwood is not very helpful. Indeed, you may either discourage willing helpers - or create an extra burden to the reviewers, because people just might start changing random things to circumvent the 6 character limit. Prettifying / correcting code is helpful for many other readers. But if that's undesired, I can keep myself aloof from helping in those cases.
    – Axel
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 8:58
  • 1
    Are you suggesting that a critical edit be constrained by the need to dig up a minor improvement? This answer has the tenor of logically convincing fortitude, but seems more like a practice in the power of rhetorical debate for its own sake, rather than being worthwhile. Commented May 27, 2013 at 17:52
  • "..while you are there, improve some other aspect of the post to reach the 6 character threshold". In my limited experience this tends to be frowned upon.
    – nsandersen
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 17:47

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

This is so it's clear this isn't a universal restriction, but one limited to new users?

  • 2
    Asking a new feature request to make it clear that users with editing privileges aren't subject to the 6-character limit is a better way to actually get it implemented. It's something I'd support, and after searching, I couldn't find a duplicate. (There was one case where a user was actually unaware of this.) Commented May 14, 2019 at 0:32
  • @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog I've created a new feature request here, feel free to make it more clear, it's a little "wall of text"-ish.
    – Chris Rudd
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 16:57

You must log in to answer this question.

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