The 6-character minimum requirement for edits means that you can't fix spelling errors in a post. What is the reasoning behind this?

  • 1
    When it's only a typo I will leave a comment telling the OP of their trivial error. But sometimes, where there are two or three typos then there other things that can be improved on; the formatting, the punctuation, better tags, a question title that reflects the question in the main text... The six-character limit isn't that restrictive, but it does make users think a little harder!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 22:32
  • 3
    If you have enough rep you can make 1-char edits anyway. I've no idea exactly how much enough is, except that it's less than 87K. Personally I think ELU (and ELL) are rather "special cases", in that it's not just nitpicking here to change, say, an incorrect it's to its (or vice-versa). Such errors have no real effect on legibility, but they reflect badly on sites that are supposed to be concerned with correct use of English. Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 22:20
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers, thanks for explaining this. I agree that it's not nitpicking to edit typos on a site that is about language usage. I recently encountered an answer with two typos and was flummoxed why I couldn't fix the typos. I would feel nitpicky, though, if I left a comment to the user noting the error. It would also feel wrong to simply find a way to change a few more characters to sneak the edits in. Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


The standard wording is "This edit is too minor; suggested edits should be substantive improvements addressing multiple issues in the post." While I have no authority here, I can suggest three possible reasons:

  • You can gain reputation and badges (and, for all I know, hats) by proposing edits. This is based on the idea that your edits actually improve the post and contribute to the site, which single-character typo corrections do not.
  • Every edit puts an extra load on the servers and slows the site down, particularly if it has to be peer-reviewed. Any individual edit is negligible, but the total number is not.
  • There are a number of small-minded Holofernes-like pedants about who believe that English is what they were taught in school and nothing else. Changing an American spelling to British or vice versa, inserting or removing a single comma, or correcting an 'obvious error' that was actually meant as a joke apparently justifies the existence of such people, and they really should not be encouraged.

So if you really can't find any way to improve a post that doesn't change six characters or more, for goodness' sake leave it alone.

  • 3
    I don't think relieving the load on SO servers is our concern (frankly, I find it hard to believe edits on ELU could be a significant factor for them anyway). Also I've hardly ever seen any problem with "pedants" unjustifiably editing other people's posts. Whilst I'm not calling for any change in existing policy, I can't endorse this justification. I probably wouldn't bother correcting, say, a minor typo on meta. But per my comment under the question, I can and do sometimes fix typos and egregious errors by non-native speakers, whether it's one character or numerous more substantial faults. Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 22:35

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .