I wanted to add a missing ampersand in some code in an answer and I couldn't. I added >6 dummy characters which worked, wanted to delete them but couldn't, because the unreviewed edits are combined into one … which means I still can't add that stupid ampersand. You can't be serious! Do I have to add a haiku or what's the intention of this rule?

  • 2
    You sound angry! Intention of that rule is that usually editing less than 6 characters means the edit is "minor" and "not important", and as far as you don't have 2k rep, it means someone else has to review it. As I have said before: no "law" is perfect and works well in every case.
    – yo'
    Aug 31, 2012 at 10:23
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    I don't want to argue against the review process. It's just that interfaces that won't let you do what you need to do, no matter what you try, do make me angry. If there's a review process anyway, why not let the reviewer decide if it's trivial or not?
    – Christian
    Aug 31, 2012 at 14:15
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    Well, the problem is that the reviewer has to deal with it. And as I said, such edits are usually "minor" edits and dealing with them itself costs time. If you feel it needs to be done, you can always hit us up in the chat, or leave a comment by the Q/A ;)
    – yo'
    Aug 31, 2012 at 14:20
  • Just ran into this issue. This seems somewhat silly; even correcting a typo or adding backticks where appropriate would be a worthwhile edit in my book. Alas, I can't. It's not a big issue if users > 2000 can, though (which I'm not sure).
    – Ingmar
    Mar 27, 2013 at 13:43
  • @Ingmar Yes, apparently my new >2000 status allowed me to make a small edit. But Alan's answer is actually much more useful than it might seem :) Which makes this restriction even more pointless BTW.
    – Christian
    Mar 28, 2013 at 15:01
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    Just ran into this issue again. Still don't think it's a good idea. Submit edits to subsequent moderation, by all means, but don't restrict it arbitrarily based on length. Especially in a code-heavy forum like TSE even minor edits may be very important.
    – Ingmar
    May 1, 2014 at 3:47
  • @Ingmar Even though I don't seem to have the problem anymore, I still agree. I mean there is the workaround with using HTML comments as padding but it's really weird to force people to do that in the first place.
    – Christian
    May 1, 2014 at 13:36

3 Answers 3



  • Are you serious?
    – Christian
    Sep 7, 2012 at 7:15
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    No. I thought it was funny to have a minimally small answer. (Notice that you can't actually post an answer this small without some trickery.) And since some of the decisions made by the SX powers that be have exactly that flavour, it seemed appropriate.
    – Alan Munn
    Sep 7, 2012 at 11:56
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    Oh, what trickery?
    – Christian
    Sep 7, 2012 at 12:10
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    That would be telling. :) (It's not too hard to figure out, though.)
    – Alan Munn
    Sep 7, 2012 at 12:12
  • @AlanMunn Posting a question and then going back and deleting some chars? Sep 7, 2012 at 13:17
  • @YatharthROCK No, this actually doesn't work, I tried. Topskip tipped me off though. But I have no idea who on this site likes ducks :/
    – Christian
    Mar 12, 2013 at 19:47

I have reviewed that particular edit and rejected the first version about the remark regarding the SX.

In the first case I didn't understand that the real intention was the ampersand addition so I rejected since it was going to look like it's Joseph's remark. The second time I was not that stupid and scrolled down in the code and saw the replacement.

In the review tools there is a button called Improve visible during the suggested edit review and I have used it to remove the excess text.

I thought you have added that text just for the ampersand and also that text made it possible that I can remove it (removing text also counts for the character count, or maybe I have enough rep for that I'm not sure).

But please don't take this as a blessing because that sort of edits can put the OP in a difficult position if readers don't pay attention to user who edited the question/answer etc.

I agree that the rule is a little weird but it's a defensive one against the interesting collection of users mainly at other SE sites (I have no memory on such problems here), 2 points beggars for the edits or perfectionists or question pingers etc.

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    Thanks for accepting the edit and making it right. I could see the point for your own questions but when editing answers by other people, I can't just add more text precisely for the reason you mentioned: it would look like their text, not mine. Next time I will just use something like "please remove this line when accepting the edit".
    – Christian
    Aug 31, 2012 at 16:51

What do people think to having a secondary edit feature that, say, only allows edits less then six characters and doesn't require review from high-rep user ? This way, the people that want to only correct typos in an edit can go around and do that, whilst not bothering the reviewers. Note that people wishing to make malicious edits (like adding curlies :D)(if this is indeed a problem) could be deterred by, say, only allowing these 'mini-edits' to come from users with >100 rep.

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    To some degree, this is already implemented: Users with at least 2000 rep can make small edits (and their edits don't need to be approved). meta.stackexchange.com/questions/97825/…
    – Jake
    Sep 6, 2012 at 15:22
  • Oh, right, thanks for the 'heads up'! It appears, from the above comments, that high-rep users are being frequently nagged to check minor edits, although I don't know much of a problem this really is. Maybe if they lowered the 2000 rep mark, it would reduce the problem, then again, it may have already been calculated that 2000 rep is the optimum compromise.
    – User 17670
    Sep 6, 2012 at 16:50
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    Don't think it has to be a separate edit feature. Just let small edits go under the radar and don't make them bump the question since I take it this is also one of the reasons to forbid small edits: people frequently adding a comma or something to bump their own question.
    – Christian
    Sep 6, 2012 at 21:08
  • The problem is that even small edits can totally change the meaning of a question/answer (add/remove a "not", for example), and thus should not go without a review. Apr 2, 2013 at 21:29

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