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
    Dec 15, 2014 at 22:32
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    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. Dec 16, 2014 at 22:20
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    @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. 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. Dec 16, 2014 at 22:35

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