I would be quite happy for someone to correct a minor spelling error in an answer (or question) that I posted. Would that offend some people? Or is there another reason that it is not allowed? This restriction makes sense on the other stackexchange sites but here it is a different situation because English learners who come here should be able to expect that examples and definitions are correctly spelled.


3 Answers 3


Is the post otherwise so perfect that it cannot be improved in any other way?

Somehow, I doubt that. :)

The reason for the restriction is that suggested edits are peer approved; they take time and effort for your fellow users to read and process. That is why we ask that your edit suggestions please be substantive improvements, at least 6 characters' worth. I do not feel this is an onerous requirement.

And if you do, then earn 2k rep at which point you can make all the 1 character edits your heart desires.

  • 13
    Sometimes, there is indeed just the one misspelling. I guess that's what invisible html comments are for...
    – Marthaª
    Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 14:26
  • @martha dream bigger! Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 16:15
  • 4
    Thanks Jeff, I am still working on my 2k rep... but in the meantime I guess I will just have to explain why I edited more than simply the misspelling.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 11:18
  • 5
    Corrections of at least 6 characters build a quantitative, not a qualitative barrier for correction. To be found by searching algorithm, a single character can be too much. Additional edits are just noise; noise for the peer approving process too, I guess. Commented Apr 1, 2011 at 16:10
  • 1
    I find a lot of posts which actually are pretty good, but have one minor typo or word that needs to be capitalized. My solution is to flag them until I've gained enough rep to edit.
    – JYelton
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 18:15
  • 9
    @Jeff: I think this restriction had a very reasonable foundation in the first technical-related sites as SO, superuser and serverfault, but may have to be re-thought for language stacks.
    – Petruza
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 10:23
  • 7
    Is the post otherwise so perfect that it cannot be improved in any other way? Somehow, I doubt that. That's a silly reason for not allowing a user to fix one blatant mspelling.
    – J.R.
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 22:04
  • @J.R.: If an error is "blatant", surely it stands to reason it will be noticed and corrected by somebody with sufficient privilege to unilaterally force through an edit? I think it's not worth cluttering up the review queue (or the question page itself) with 1-char "suggested edits pending approval". Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 18:51
  • I wanted to correct a typo in someone's quote from a poem (think should have been thick). Dealing with arbitrary limits that someone pulled out of their... back pocket is such a pain in the neck.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 15:47
  • @tim it depends whose time you feel is more valuable, but I find people tend to be biased towards.. themselves. Not me though 😉 Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 21:30
  • The definition of "substantive" as "at least six characters" is utterly arbitrary. You'd think this site was designed by the US Congress -- that's a joke. But seriously, why is 6 characters substantive when 5 is not? A substantive edit is one that is important in some way.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 11:43
  • Also, there is is a perverse notion here that a single-character edit would be a waste of time to review whereas a single-character edit with some other minor "tidying up" of the answer would make the review worth the effort. This has nothing to do with anyone thinking their time is more important than someone else's.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 12:03

Another factor is that after some number of edits a post (question or answer) automatically kicks over to community wiki, which means (as I understand it) the previous owner loses any rep that was there and loses the ability to gain more. So you should try to consolidate edits -- one edit fixing six one-character errors is better than six separate edits (even if they were possible).

  • 1
    When a post is edited from 5 different users, or 10 times from its OP, the post automatically becomes a CW post. I agree it is better to consolidate the edits, rather than doing 6 different single-character edits.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 23:09
  • That's a crazy side-effect of editing. Shouldn't exist. Too clever for its own good.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 15:49

@Jeff's answer is fair enough, what I think the problem resides in is that people without enough reputation to make small edits without approval are still presented with the message ... unless absolutely necessary giving them the illusion that they still can make that minor edits if just they can play the absolutely necessary card, but that's not possible at all. It's just misleading.

If low reputation users should wait for approval of any >6 char edit anyway, why not allow them to make any minor edit and still have to wait for approval?
I realize this would make the stack of approval-pending edits bigger for other users to consume, this minor edits could have a somewhat lower priority, so more elaborate edits still get resolved sooner.

  • 1
    This is good for a comment, not good as a answer.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 16:33
  • wow, you should post that in meta.meta.
    – Petruza
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 17:06
  • 4
    @Mitch; that should be an answer, but I can't make single-character edits on comments :) Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 15:44
  • @Tim: Gah! I'd give some justification but it's just a typo.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 23:05
  • 1
    It's a waste of time letting users review a single-character edit; if such edit would be necessary, users with the privilege of editing any post can edit it. The other reason for not allowing single-character edits is that posts edited from 5 different users are converted to CW posts.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 23:11

You must log in to answer this question.

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