4

I decently often reject minor edits such as this one for being too minor.

The following is a "rejection" reason:

This edit is too minor; suggested edits should be substantive improvements addressing multiple issues in the post.

It seems everyone else approves these. Or at the very least, most people have very few rejected edits.

As a site do we want to approach edits in the sense of, "does this improve the post?" and if so, approve it - regardless of how minor?

6

The edit should not have been rejected, the word in the title was incorrect. It wasn't a minor word in the middle of a long question.

The lesson you taught the new user was that changing the word in the title wasn't good enough.

You rejected the edit because there were other changes that the question needed, but you then didn't make them. If you had made them, and then credited the suggested edit as being helpful the new user might have learned to be bolder in their changes.

2
  • 1
    The lesson you taught the new user was that changing the word in the title wasn't good enough <-- this is exactly my point I guess. According to the "reject" justification I posted, and used, it in fact is NOT good enough. I don't really care either way which is why I'm asking here - it seems most people approve any edit which is beneficial, regardless of how comprehensive it is. – enderland Sep 30 '13 at 13:43
  • 6
    I think edits to titles are more important than comparable edits to bodies. The title is what shows up on the main page and in links; a poor choice of wording or an embarrassing typo there has much broader impact. (I didn't participate in this particular edit, but I would have approved it -- the original was a head-scratcher and misleading.) Also, if the question is already near the top of the front page, the bump doesn't do much harm. – Monica Cellio Sep 30 '13 at 16:59
6

For Stack Overflow, being strict with minor edits makes sense because there are more people trying to game for the Copy Editor Badge. We only have 2,245 questions here and 8,356 answers so gaming the badge is far more difficult (it would be a lot more obvious if someone were constantly adding in edits -- our top reviewer only has 120 or so reviews).

Given the low probability of someone causing a serious burden through overzealous editing, I think we should be a bit more lax. I will accept suggested edits which do any of the following:

  1. Make the post clearer (I believe this edit falls into this category)
  2. Fix obvious errors in spelling and grammar
  3. Adjust tags to fit the question better
  4. Add relevant information from comments to the question/answer

I will reject edits (or improve and not mark as helpful) that meet the following criteria:

  1. Changing the style of the post without making it clearer ("I strive to perform to my manager's expectations" to "I try to do my best")
  2. Adjusting spelling for localization purposes (center to centre, etc.)
  3. Changing a single typo when there are obvious other errors
  4. Suggested edits on closed questions (I will usually just vote to delete)
  5. Suggested edits on low-quality questions that are very old and haven't been active recently (I will just vote to close)

So basically, if the edit is well-intentioned (it makes the post better), even if that is a minor thing like clearing up a few their/there/they'res, I think it should be encouraged (it is making the site a nicer place). Edits that bump garbage to the top of the queue or seem like an attempt just to get +2 reputation or otherwise pointless should be discouraged.

2
  • In this case, the rejected edits were made to the title of the post. While I agree with your accept/reject list as a general rule, see my answer here for why title edits are considered more substantial. – jmort253 Oct 2 '13 at 5:20
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    I fully agree @jmort, because of the fact that it was an edit to the title, I think this makes the post clearer and should have been approved for that reason. Titles are very important for people browsing the front page, searching for questions, or for search engine results so they are definitely a very important portion of making the question clear. – jmac Oct 2 '13 at 5:28
3

I would have approved that edit. As a general rule, edits to improve titles are not considered too minor and should be approved, assuming they significantly improve the ability to draw users and outside visitors to the post. This means the edit to the title should have some meaning. If we're fixing a spelling error or rewording something so it's less confusing, approve. But if someone is changing a word from one synonym to another synonym of equal quality where the improvement didn't clarify the title, then perhaps a disapprove would be okay.

But any edit that improves a title should, as a general rule, be approved. Here's why:

Not only do titles grab our attention, but they play a huge role in SEO. A user searching on Google for "How to be found by headhunters" may not click on the link if it looks unreliable due to major typos, or in this case, wording that just doesn't make a lot of sense.

A variation of this particular question was also asked on Meta Stack Overflow, and here's the answer posted by Jeff Atwood ♦:

I just noticed these were title changes!

In titles, I think it is much more important to get key words correct -- so in the case of title edits, yes, these are OK and I would approve them.

If they were trivial body changes, I would be much less supportive of this, per http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/04/in-defense-of-editing/

The bold emphasis isn't mine. That's all Jeff. SEO is something Stack Exchange considers very important, and our most powerful Stack Exchange feature, the editing feature, is what helps make sure a Google searcher clicks our link and not someone else's. Hope this helps clarify! :)

4
  • In the specific case, the words "haunted" and "found" have very different connotations. Changing this word completely changes the tenor of the question - perhaps to something not intended by the author. I can imagine the author thinking "that's not what I meant", and I worry that this might discourage others from writing. – Joe Strazzere Oct 2 '13 at 11:43
  • @joe the meta question was this edit was too minor to even consider, your comment was that it was too major to consider. It can't be both. – mhoran_psprep Oct 2 '13 at 12:39
  • @mhoran_psprep - agreed. That's the difference between the general question about "minor edits", and the specific example pointed out. – Joe Strazzere Oct 2 '13 at 13:05
  • @JoeStrazzere - I reread the question on the main site, and "found" seems to match much better than "haunted". Although you make a good point that editors should look at the context when editing to avoid accidentally changing the meaning of someone's post, when avoidable. In this specific case, I don't see that happening here. Hope this helps clarify. – jmort253 Oct 2 '13 at 14:52
0

I like the option of rejecting edits as too minor.

I worry that a continuous stream of minor edits can cause the question to drift from its original intent, and invalidate perfectly good answers. I think these minor changes also discourage new members from posting questions - particularly if English isn't their primary language.

I wouldn't like us to become the grammar/spelling police. Instead, I think it's wise to focus on content, instead of minor typos.

-4

In this case, I agree with your rejection as "too minor". There are other wording issues with the question that could be improved, but that the edit didn't touch. If that's the case, "too minor" is accurate.

Minor edits are acceptable in the case where only a minor edit is needed. If there are a couple typos (or a their/they're/there mistake or similar), but the post is otherwise fine, then the edit, while minor, is not too minor.

I reccommend rejecting edits as "too minor" in two particular cases:

  • Trivial edit that doesn't necessarily improve the post (changing "5" to "five" or some such thing)
  • Minor edits that leave other issues untouched

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