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In an edit of another person's post, you need to change at least six characters. What if the OP just got one important word wrong (it's "atronach", not "astronach"), which means the question might not show up on a search?

I left a comment, but I believe it might be quicker if I could just fix the mistake.

EDIT To clarify: I know that I can suggest an edit, but I cannot submit one unless I change at least six characters. Should I add additional, unnecessary changes to get over the limit, or should I type "yay, edited by me", or can we just drop the limit on the number of characters in an edit?

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    Add a link. Rephrase a sentence. Fix more typos. Add a note. Format the post. It's easy, really. :) – badp Dec 18 '11 at 9:52
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    I should point out that once you reach 2000 reputation you can edit questions yourself,without needing them to be approved, at which point the character limit no longer applies. – Wipqozn Dec 18 '11 at 16:11
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    Does anyone else suddenly feel the need to find and fight an astronach? – Ben Blank Dec 19 '11 at 19:32
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Reasons for editing:

  • to fix grammatical or spelling mistakes
  • to clarify the meaning of a post without changing it
  • to correct minor mistakes or add addendums / updates as the post ages
  • to add related resources or hyperlinks

If the first 3 don't reach 6 characters, then add a link. Links are incredibly easy to add, keep the meaning of the post, and are all-around helpful.

I will advise against performing trivial edits that don't improve the post (such as swapping out synonyms). They don't make the edit any more significant, other than getting past the 6 character limit.

  • I agree; edits should improve the post, not add something just to be able to correct the spelling of a word. – kiamlaluno Dec 18 '11 at 15:17
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    @kiamlaluno - In general that's true, but there are certain for words which an incorrect spelling can be severely detrimental to a post. The cited example of 'Astronach' is a good one - it means that the word will no longer properly show up in search results. – LessPop_MoreFizz Dec 18 '11 at 15:20
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    @LessPop_MoreFizz The limit of six character edits has been raised on the English site too, where the correct spelling and grammar are even more important, but so far the limit still exists. I think the rationale is that, as the proposed edit needs to be reviewed from other users, the edit should be more substantial than a single character edit. If I don't have the privilege of editing any post, and I cannot improve the post any further, I leave the task to correct the spelling to somebody else. I don't think correct, e.g., to add an HTML comment to avoid the edit limit. – kiamlaluno Dec 18 '11 at 15:54
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    @kiamlaluno I respectfully disagree, as having proper spelling, grammar, and presentation here and the ability to edit posts into readability is one of the primary reasons I think we're better than most other resources on the internet. – FAE Dec 18 '11 at 15:58
  • @Kiamlaluno - I agree that there's a much higher standard as to when it's appropriate to do so - but I do think that there are corner cases where kludging through the rule makes sense. This is one of them. There aren't many. – LessPop_MoreFizz Dec 18 '11 at 15:59
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz The problem is that Stack Exchange software is not able to understand when an edit falls in a case, or in the other: For it, an edit involving a single character is just that. The software is not even able to understand if that is the only possible edit, or there are other possible edits that the user could have done. There is also another issue to solve: How do you decide which cases are more important than others, and how do you teach the software which is one, and which is the other? – kiamlaluno Dec 18 '11 at 16:05
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    @kiamlaluno You don't teach the software. You trust human judgment to know when it's appropriate to circumvent it. This is why edits must be approved, and the privilege of making them without approval is reserved for trusted users. – LessPop_MoreFizz Dec 18 '11 at 16:07
  • @FallenAngelEyes Changing "i think" to "I think" is probably less important than correcting something else, in a site where the topic is not English. The software running Stack Exchange is not able to understand which correction you are doing, and it consider as single character edit everything that is a single character edit. As Stack Exchange thinks that single character edits are too trivial, they don't allow them. If the single character edit is required, then a user with the privilege to edit any post can do it. – kiamlaluno Dec 18 '11 at 16:16
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz There are already many edits rejected as "too minor"; imagine how much they would be, if single character edits were allowed. I personally would not be happy, if users would get 2 points just to make a trivial edit, and then 2 points more for making another trivial edit on the same post. If there were the limit that a user could not do two single character edits on the same post (or other restrictions), then I would be more favorable to such edits. To notice that on some sites I don't have the privilege of editing every post, and what I am saying is valid for me too. – kiamlaluno Dec 18 '11 at 16:24
  • I do like the idea of adding a link; indeed, that's a way to make the post better without making unnecessary trivial changes. – Jonas Dec 19 '11 at 19:46
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My usual method of handling these is to look for something else I can change - even if it's just replacing a word with a synonym or a retag - to get the edit through.

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    it is rare indeed the post which is so perfect that it cannot be improved .. more than 6 characters. – Jeff Atwood Jan 11 '12 at 17:20

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