I was reading this answer to a recent question about how to get honest, unbiased feedback on writing from friends when I noticed the author had accidentally used the wrong character to close a parenthetical statement. I was about to edit the answer when I saw this line at the top of the screen:

"We welcome all constructive edits, but please make them substantial. Avoid trivial, tiny one-letter edits unless absolutely necessary."

My edit, of course, would be a one-letter edit. How do I determine if it is "necessary" to make it? While the punctuation error is distracting, it doesn't change or confuse the author's intended meaning from what I can tell. Would this mean it's too insubstantial to make?


In general, you should always be using your best judgement. What happens when you make an edit to a question or answer? A few things. Among them:

  • The question is bumped up to the top of the main page.
  • The original poster of what you're editing gets a notification.
  • The counter towards turning the post to Community Wiki goes up by one. (CW posts don't give the author reputation for the post. IIRC 20 edits turns the post into CW.)
  • If your reputation is below 1000, a reviewer needs to consider your edit and approve/reject it manually.

Doing all that for a niggling typo probably isn't worth the effort. Doing all that to correct a typo in the question title might be more worthwhile, since the title's so visible. Or if you're fixing a bunch of typos, that's already a significant improvement to the post, making it clearer and more readable for everybody.

In the end, it's your own call (and a reviewer's, until you get enough rep...). The important thing is to avoid "edit spamming" - making lots and lots of teensy changes, possibly to lots and lots of different questions. That's the kind of behavior that becomes actively disruptive; less than that really won't bother anybody. OTOH, if you do decide to correct individual typos... well, then you're likely to run into a lot of them, and if you try to actually fix them all it'll basically lead to "edit spamming" as above.

Hope this is clear and helpful :)


I'd make the fix, but I'm seriously anal-retentive that way. If it were my post, I'd want you to fix it. There aren't many typos I'd consider "necessary" to leave there, wrong, hanging their wrongness out in the breeze for others to mock.

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