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Being new to the Suggested Edits Reviewer role, I've only done a few. I've approved some that were simple grammar and spelling corrections, but they were so extensive they definitely seemed appropriate. However yesterday I saw the first one I would consider trivial. Two changes were made: a double 'the' was corrected and a forgotten word added. This was in a rather long answer with a codeblock (not edited) in it.

Technically it's a valid edit. It's not a single character, it does correct something... but imho it's still a "tiny, trivial edit". It wasn't an old question, so I'm not looking at issues of bumping. And just for clarity, the edit was not by the answerer nor (I'm pretty sure) the asker.

This also speaks to some edits I have seen that are simple capitalization or reversed letter corrections in question titles, etc. Not edits requiring review, but ones that caught my eye as 'did that really need to be done, or "substantially improve" the post?' Unless you're already in there for tagging or something, or it's a key word for a search. Second languages are a given here, and if there are a lot of grammatical or spelling changes that could help improve understanding or just make it easier to read in English (and run through a translator?), I'm all for it. But if the intent and meaning is perfectly clear and there are just a couple of words out of order or a type-o or something, they seem unwarranted and even if they're technically correct I would be inclined to reject the edit.

In the end I chose to skip, because I wasn't sure if I should just accept it or go ahead and reject it - I don't know where that line is.

8

I rarely, if ever, reject an edit as too trivial, although some have caused me to hesitate.

I figure that if someone has put in the time to try and improve the readability and clarity of a Q&A, without reducing its quality, then that all contributes to the professional appearance of our site, and inevitably makes it more attractive to visiting and regular users alike.

However, we each have our own line on what we think is too trivial, and that is why at a privilege level of 2,000 our users gain access to the Suggested Edits review queue and can make their own call via the Accept/Reject buttons.

  • I agree on improving things, but the way Help is written it gave me pause. I can see at least a couple of reasons for the 'trivial' rule. I'm also aware that it's a vote and not an executive decision, so at least one other person would have to agree with me or two disagree (however the opposition mechanics work). I guess I'll base my decision on a) how old the question is and b) if I notice a string of such edits from a single user. I'll give this a couple more days for other opinions, then accept your answer if nothing contrary arises. Also, it's 2k rep for the Suggested Edits. – Chris W Jun 11 '14 at 17:11
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Editing can be problematic because it increases the visibility of a question. Many such edits made in a short period can cause old questions to swamp the new ones that deserve more timely attention.

Most edits also require review and approval. Reviewers, who may be burdened by many other site-maintenance tasks, should not be asked to devote time to evaluating inconsequential, trivial edits.

A most SE sites a reasonable balance has been reached: almost any kind of edit to a recent question is fine, but the older the question gets, the more substantial the edit should be. "Old" can vary, but typically by the time a question has been up for a day or more, it shouldn't be touched for trivial matters like fixing a single inconsequential typo.

As a moderator I lean towards approving any constructive efforts to improve our site, especially by newcomers, but I will not hesitate to reject a trivial edit on a months-old post proposed by a seasoned user, especially if that user seems to be embarked on systematically editing lots of old posts.

So, if you see a typo or misspelling on an old post that bothers you, please take an extra minute or two to clean up the entire post, including its title and tags. That should ensure the changes are approved.

  • I have just made a post that speaks to your opening paragraph at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/40221/… – PolyGeo Jun 12 '14 at 9:29
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    Maybe there could be a period of time where "trivial" edits would be encouraged. I've sometimes seen titles with typos and it does not look professional. If I understand well, the poblem is that edited posts move to the top. So either the site manager change the behaviour (edit do not move), or we ask for a cleaning period (e.g. durng Christmas, as looking at the graph there is little affluence then. I think that the first option is the best, but is it possible ? – radouxju Jun 16 '14 at 18:41
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    If nobody is looking during the Christmas period does it matter if the post is moved to the top? Generally the edits that I have seen have been on the first page, where all the attention is focused, and a little shuffling doesn't hurt. If the dedicated few take the time to edit older posts during this period would that really matter? A little fresh attention might stimulate better or in some cases first answers - it would not help the OP at that time but the next person with a similar problem would benefit. – Michael Stimson Jun 21 '14 at 15:38
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I believe the rules about minimal edits are better interpreted by those considering whether to make an edit or not in the first place, rather than by those with the power to thwart someone else's attempt to improve things.

In the past, i've had so many proposed edits rejected as being too minor -- thankfully, not many on this site -- that it leaves a bad taste and a "why bother" attitude.

A grey area, of course, is when a very small edit has been suggested and yet there are still other obvious ones that could also be made. Should we smack the editor (ie, reject the edit)? Not necessarily. Why not make the extra edits ourselves -- i think it's called improve -- and then accept?

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    And your first two paragraphs are why I hesitated to reject outright. I didn't want to discourage the editor, but I didn't really want to encourage what I thought was a trivial edit either. And yes, even in the few reviews I have done, I've already made use of the improve button once. That option didn't let me leave a note though - I guess it is or should be understood to check the following edits? In this specific case I didn't really see anything else to improve. – Chris W Jun 11 '14 at 23:46

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