Recently, I've made a couple of suggested edits to correct mistakes in posts, which were both rejected. One of these edits was to correct a misspelling of Somalia (it was spelt Somolia, which was a) wrong, and b) noticed by at least one other user). The other one, which was (in my opinion) slightly more significant, was to correct where a user had referred to the commutative properties of matrices as communicative - which is quite clearly wrong, and could cause issues for someone searching for further information on that aspect of matrix mathematics.

My opinion is that these edits should be approved, and as far as I can tell, this is the same opinion as the Help Centre - under the section 'When should I edit posts', two of the bullet points are:

  • To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the information relevant to the post is contained in one place
  • To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages

While I can agree that the Somolia->Somalia edit was borderline and probably too minor to accept (and so I won't contest that), the second edit was correcting a mistake with regards to terminology, and looks like it should have been approved. My question is, then:

Should minor edits like these be allowed? Or is there some reason for blocking edits like this, even though they are correcting an error?

NB: Just in case you're wondering, or if you're going to point me to the meta question on here about minor edits and rep-farming, I'm only making these edits because I see them as a signficant error, or something which is annoying me, not for the mere 2 reputation I get from answering them. As for the edits, minor minor things such as adding backticks to the matrix maths was mainly to raise the edit to the six character limit (and because, in my opinion, it improved clarity - that's subjective, though) - I deemed the 'communicative' error bad enough to do that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree about changing a misspelling of a country name. I would have accepted that. \$\endgroup\$ – Almo Aug 1 '13 at 12:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Editing posts causes them to be bumpped which often leads to them getting new answers (that are often terrible) and reduces the number of active questions that need attention on the front page. Unless the answer has been broken because the passage of time and needs to be fixed or updated there really isn't much point in bumping it. I think that "To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages" is more about keeping it relevent than fixing typos. \$\endgroup\$ – ClassicThunder Aug 1 '13 at 13:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ClassicThunder I know that editing posts bumps them to the top of the queue, but it's hardly as if the site was free of late answers - there's a review queue dedicated to it (and there are several each day). \$\endgroup\$ – Polar Aug 1 '13 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Late answers and minor edits to old answers aren't really the same. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Aug 2 '13 at 12:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 I was arguing on the basis that bumping questions gets them late answers from new people, which was ClassicThunder's point. My minor edit, however, would likely not have increased the number of late answers, which was Classic's issue. \$\endgroup\$ – Polar Aug 2 '13 at 13:16

Since I rejected both, I'll give my rationale for doing so. I think minor edits are typically OK. The edits you made are minor and I would accept them if the questions they were contained in were more recently active. The country change was borderline too minor and since the post hasn't been active in a month I rejected it. The communicative edit was more significant, but so was the time when the post was last active, it hasn't been active for two years.

I felt that both posts could still be understood and the answers were still useful without the edits. While the wrong words or spelling mistakes were there, I feel that in both situations, a reasonable person with just a little domain knowledge would be able to determine what was intended by the word choice.

So neither case made the posts "difficult to read".

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the rationale behind it. Honestly, I would still argue in favour of the communicative edit, but I'm not 2k yet :P \$\endgroup\$ – Polar Aug 1 '13 at 16:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're welcome to suggest the edit again, and I'll stay out of it this time. Then either a different moderator or two higher rep users can decide. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Aug 1 '13 at 16:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're a moderator for a reason, I'm not going to go against your decision over something as small as an edit. If someone else wants to, they can, but I'll keep to my place for now. \$\endgroup\$ – Polar Aug 1 '13 at 16:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is the same reason I reject minor yet useful edits to old posts. However this is a stupid reason. It would be nice if Stackexchange allowed minor edits without bumping the thread to the front page. \$\endgroup\$ – msell Aug 2 '13 at 4:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be nice. But I think it stays the way it is to encourage edits to be significant. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Aug 2 '13 at 12:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry to post a comment to an old post (somewhat ironically), although I know of no other way of asking you this question - was there any particular reason other than that the question was old for rejecting the second edit I made today? I can understand that it was old, but I thought the purpose of StackExchange sites was that the questions would still be useful to people in years to come, and therefore edits to old posts which help should be a good idea. I know it is somewhat like the case above, but in this case one user had already approved and I hadn't gone out of my way to make it. \$\endgroup\$ – Polar Oct 20 '13 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Polar Chat is always an option :). Yes, if an edit is just grammar and formatting, it'll have to be a pretty significant edit if it hasn't been active in over a year. Editing old questions is fine if the changes are significant. Updating bad links, or correcting misinformation are more significant than grammar and formatting. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Oct 20 '13 at 21:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Byte56 I understand that, it just seems kind of pointless to reject it (I'm not encouraging it as a practice, but it's not harmful). As for chat, I couldn't find a way to notify you (hence the 'Delete me" room). \$\endgroup\$ – Polar Oct 20 '13 at 21:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Polar The reason to reject it is because it's a edit that shouldn't be pushing new questions off the front page. You can ping people in chat with @, same way you do it here in comments. That'll display the red notification with a link to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Oct 20 '13 at 22:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, thanks for clearing the chat issue up :) \$\endgroup\$ – Polar Oct 24 '13 at 19:58

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