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I am sometimes directed to the edit history of various other questions, and I have noticed a clear trend; minimal edits.

I thought I would take the time to write up post asking everyone to be a bit more careful with their edits, after noting that no such post has been previously made (at least, under the tag). Many of these edits aim to improve a sentence in the post, but miss problems with the rest of the post. I have also seen edits that aim to make a correction, but only correct a single instance, when the original mistake exists in multiple instances of the post.

There are lots of valid reasons for this type of activity

I think it is completely acceptable that most of these edits are made in good faith:

  • We are all human, we all make mistakes, and can not be spot on 100% of the time.
  • Grammar is a pain in the butt. I have only met one person in my life who had perfect grammar; and she was my primary school grammar teacher.
  • Some of us (I assume) are not native English speakers. Props for learning a second (or third, fourth etc.) language - especially one that is known to be so obtuse, at times. These users, I feel, deserve a little extra slack when it comes to these things.
  • I admit that some times, users may not necessarily take the same interpretation of the post as I do. I find it acceptable that, in these cases, previous edits may have neglected areas where the user felt they might be varying too far from the original post due to difficulty in understanding the original post (lets be honest.. every now and again we get one that is really hard to understand, despite asking an acceptable on-topic question).

In summary

In summary, keep doing the good job that you guys do; but when you perform edits, please try and be a bit more careful to avoid minimal edits.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure if I understand what problem we're trying to solve here. I agree an edit that fixes everything should be preferred over an edit that fixes one thing - but is there an inherent problem with a one-fix edit that I'm missing? I've never found the edit review queue to be overwhelming, for instance, so I don't think it's a volume issue. What specific harm are we trying to avoid? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory May 2 '17 at 15:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ There used to be a "too minimal" edit rejection reason, which was removed for similar reasons as to those @DMGregory seems to be arguing: sure, maybe the edit could be more significant, but that doesn't mean the edit is harmful. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh May 2 '17 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ What I mean is, I've started encountering edits that were literally single characters. I am not even sure how these edits make it through in the first place; As far as I was aware, you need to edit more than a single character to be able to confirm the edit. \$\endgroup\$ – Gnemlock May 2 '17 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ In fact, the most minimal edits I encounter are not from users who are subject to review. \$\endgroup\$ – Gnemlock May 2 '17 at 16:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can make single-character edits, at least (see the edit history of this post), it wouldn't surprise me if others can. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh May 2 '17 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I ran across an edit in the queue where the edit had done a pretty good job of fixing up the post. The only problem was that one i had become O instead of I. I tried to do an "improve edit" and change the O to an I but the thing wouldn't let me make a one character change and I couldn't see anything else wrong. (Well, that's not true, I found another sentence that could be capitalized, but at two characters it wasn't enough). I ended up skipping the review. \$\endgroup\$ – Draco18s May 8 '17 at 15:13
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I generally think any improvement to the question is acceptable.

The purpose of the suggested edit review queue should be to

  • help train new editors in what constitutes a valid edit so that they know what to do when freed of the training wheels and
  • to provide a springboard to potential subsequent improvements to questions by more senior editors.

It shouldn't be about "punishing" new editors whose proposed changes don't meet some arbitrary (and often subjective) bar of what constitutes "too minor." That's a slippery slope.

Further, impeding incremental improvement of the site content because a bigger single change might have been possible seems silly. If one feels a better edit could or should have been made, one can approve and improve the question oneself.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I have removed some of the content of my question. Where I was trying to support a bigger issue, I think it was misconstrued as the primary problem. In fact, the most minimal edits are users that do not need to be reviewed. For example, I see instances of "It's officially called <this>" where only one instance of the incorrect name is changed. As mentioned in the question comments, today I encountered a single character edit. My understanding was that these type of edits were "too minimal" by definition. \$\endgroup\$ – Gnemlock May 2 '17 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged," (per the help); that is not "tiny, trivial edits are not allowed." Plus the "too minimal" rejection reason has been removed. I thus stand by my assertion: if it makes the post better, who cares if its a single character edit? I don't see any reason to look down at incremental progress (with no associated cost) simply because it's "not incremental enough". \$\endgroup\$ – Josh May 2 '17 at 16:59

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