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I went to fix an obvious typo in someone's post, and was unable to do so due to the six-character minimum. I'm new to this site, so I want to understand why.

I've read What defines a necessary one-letter edit? Standbuck's answer explains the consequences of "edit spamming." The post a few years old and seems to imply that one-character edits are allowed, although too many of them are discouraged.

Has this policy changed, so that fixing an obvious typo is now disallowed? If so, that seems counter to the ideals of a site about writing, so there must be a practical reason for it. Can someone explain, please?

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    Welcome to Writers and thank you for helping to improve the site! I think that SE blocks one-character edits from suggested edits (i.e. from users who don't yet have the "edit" privilege) but allows them for people who can edit directly. I'm not sure about that and can't research it right now, but maybe this will help somebody else find out more. – Monica Cellio Jun 9 '17 at 18:20
  • @MonicaCellio That could be. I do have the "edit button" which allows me to get in and edit; don't know if that's because I got a 100 rep automatically for signing up or not. – BobRodes Jun 10 '17 at 4:56
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    Bob, sorry I was unclear. When you make an edit it isn't immediately applied; it goes to a review queue as a suggested edit. There's a higher rep level where your edits are immediately applied, and I think at that level you aren't prevented from making small edits. – Monica Cellio Jun 11 '17 at 2:59
  • Relevant: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/223878/… – Neil Fein Jun 12 '17 at 3:07
  • He makes a valid point though... some times there are obvious 1 letter typos such as "fo" instead of "of". While typos like this may seem picky on other SE sites, we should take pride in being able to have proper spelling and grammar regardless of how minute the change is. We are the writers SE and we should have good representation with being able to fix words too :) – ggiaquin16 Jun 12 '17 at 23:14
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    @ggiaquin Thank you. That's my point exactly. – BobRodes Jun 13 '17 at 6:39
  • @MonicaCellio would this be something we can change on our site or is this a SE rule that is not changeable? Please see my above comment for clarification on the question being asked by BobRodes. – ggiaquin16 Jun 13 '17 at 17:19
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    @MonicaCellio is correct; once you get past the point of your edits needing community review, you are allowed to make tiny edits, including changing a single character. (That said, just because the system doesn't prevent you from making tiny edits doesn't necessarily mean that making tiny edits is a good idea. Exercise good judgement.) On beta sites such as Writing currently is, that happens at 1,000 rep; on non-beta sites, you need 2,000 rep to do the same thing. – a CVn Jun 13 '17 at 20:26
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    Seriously itching to make a one-letter edit for "Standbuck" :P – Standback Jun 14 '17 at 11:43
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Summary of the comments: This is by design.

Users with editing privileges (1K rep here, 2K elsewhere) can make edits without going through the review queue; users who can suggest edits have a 6-character minimum. The thinking here is to prevent minor typo-fixes (or frivolous edits) from overwhelming the site or the review queue; higher-rep users are also more trusted not to use minor edits in a disruptive fashion.

So to answer your question: Stack Exchange effectively cares less about fixing one-off typos, than it does about keeping maintenance manageable. If you see something that seriously makes an answer less clear, consider commenting, pointing the issue out in chat, or finding additional helpful fixes to the same post. If it doesn't merit that kind of effort, you can safely let it lie.

  • Yeah, looks like that's about the size of it. The editor in me cringes... – BobRodes Jun 20 '17 at 8:30

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