The guidelines on general edits says: "Try to make the post substantively better when you edit, not just change a single character. Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged."

This morning in this spirit I rejected a proposed edit where something like three words had been changed which ultimately added nothing other than the editor clearly preferred his wording.

There was nothing wrong with the edited version but I rejected it on the grounds that (a) there was nothing wrong with the original and I felt if in doubt the original questioners voice should prevail and (b) we should discourage small edits even where there is nothing wrong as they don't add anything but do take people's time (even if it's only a few seconds to approve them).

Is this approach correct? Obviously I don't want to needlessly discourage people making edits as it's a useful contribution.

  • I'm glad I found this post. I have started to edit a couple of posts and thought "maybe I'm just going to piss off a moderator" and have just canceled it. There is probably more comedy gold to be had letting the broken english slide... turns out I was right!
    – jmq
    Feb 22, 2011 at 0:54

3 Answers 3


I often reject edits I feel are not substantive enough. I then go in and re-edit to make the post substantively better.

You should too.

In general, there is far too much turd-polishing in suggested edits.

Congratulations, you fixed one spelling error, in a post with missing markdown, terrible grammar, and run-on sentences. Would you like a congressional medal of honor?

  • 1
    absolutely love the term "turd-polishing".
    – Walter
    Feb 19, 2011 at 12:54
  • 1
    So you rather absolutely nothing be done about it since not everyone has the time to substantially fix people's posts? A series of small edits does much more than an non-existent person that will fix everything
    – TheLQ
    Feb 21, 2011 at 21:12
  • 1
    @thelq the bar is fairly low; failure to substantially improve the post is overt laziness. Also, turd polishing as a practice is masturbatory nonsense I actively want to discourage. Making a terrible post 10% better is a waste of everyone's time: yours, mine, and the original poster's too. Feb 21, 2011 at 22:23

I'm also approving and rejecting edits daily and would like to be able to explain why I rejected one particular edit.

Sometimes, I decide to not reject it because I feel that rejecting something without an explanation is a bit rude.

  • I sort of thought the same but then you could equally say that editing the original question without a solid reason is rude? Feb 18, 2011 at 10:52
  • @Jon: absolutely, but in that case, you can write a comment to explain why. Which is what most users do.
    – user2567
    Feb 18, 2011 at 11:00
  • but who writes the comment? It makes no sense for the person proposing the edit to because he has no idea if it's going to be accepted. It also makes no sense for me to as I can only assume reasoning why. I think the default position should be if it doesn't clearly add something, it gets rejected and respect the original questioner. Feb 18, 2011 at 12:55

I'm also interested in seeing the answers posted here as I've suggested edits containing only a few changes. The FAQ suggests that edits are welcomed and that they're a good thing for the site.

From edits, I've strived for having concise, descriptive question titles. Reasons for this are:

  • The are examples of what questions should be. This will, hopefully, show newer participants how to phrase their question and use the site.
  • The title is the main factor that determines whether people read the question (for people that do not read every question).

It's probably also a negative that 2 reputations are 'awarded' for each edit - surely these would rack up a lot of nonsensical edits and would impose additional stress on those deciding whether or not to approve an edit.

Apologies for treating this as a discussion, rather than a question-and-answer thing.

  • I agree that the rep thing is mixed. There is a ceiling on the total (a lifetime max I think) but there seems to be at least some anecdotal evidence that people are posting fairly pointless edits and this may be a factor. Feb 18, 2011 at 12:13

You must log in to answer this question.

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