I've been doing quite a few edits in stackoverflow, and had pretty much 0 rejected so far.

Some of my edits target redundant text that is simply noise. For example:

  • "Thanks a lot."
  • "Please help."
  • "Hope that helps."

In my opinion above text contributes nothing to the actual post, and removing it would save a small (or even tiny) amount of reader's time.

However, my first edit on programmers.stackexchange was rejected because:

This edit does not make the post even a little bit easier to read, easier to find, more accurate or more accessible. Changes are either completely superfluous or actively harm readability.

Didn't my edit remove noise, that is, increase the info per time spent reading? Doesn't that make it "..even a little bit easier to read.." ?

Is there a flaw in my reasoning? Should I avoid such edits on this site?


I am in favour of edits that remove irrelevant phrases. Any such edit is an improvement to the overall quality of the site. However, merely removing “Hope this helps.” is a very minor edit, especially compared with the length of that specific answer. When you edit a post, try to improve it as much as possible. Do not focus on only a single problem with a post, since there will often be other problems such as with spelling, grammar, markup, or flow that could be addressed as well.

In particular, only fixing a single very obvious problem such as a “thanks in advance” phrase might suggest you only scan posts for very superficial problems in order to earn a quick +2 rep or the editor badge without real effort. (Though seriously, who would do that?). To discourage this perception, provide more in-depth edits, or show your familiarity with this site by answering questions :) Edit reviewers are probably more inclined to click the approve button when the edit doesn't come from a 101-rep user.

Judging from your Stack Overflow edit history, you know how to make a really good edit, so you can apply those same skills here. Also, don't try to draw conclusions from a single data point. So far, only one edit of yours has been rejected on Programmers. While the two users who rejected your edit are pretty familiar with this site, suboptimal decisions happen now and then, and do not necessarily carry special significance.

  • 3
    As one of the persons who rejected the discussed edit a few hours ago, I confirm that this was exactly my reasoning. Yes, "Thanks a lot."-style sentences are not welcome, but I consider an edit which removes just a sentence like that as too minor. Especially since the answer had (still have) minor formatting problems which could have been corrected as well. – Arseni Mourzenko Mar 1 '15 at 14:49
  • I did not notice any other problems with that post; if there were any, i would definitely try to fix them. As for the quick +2, or my low rep here, they should be no factors when determining edit validity. Rep gains are in place to encourage certain behaviour. I do agree that post length made my edit ..have a smaller effect, but I still consider even a tiny noise reduction beneficial. I also agree that i should not draw conclusions from a single data point. – user Mar 1 '15 at 15:09
  • @MainMa I don't know the volume of suggested edits you get. Perhaps there are too many, and therefor the tiny increase in readability doesn't overweight the resources spent on approving or denying it. However if there were other points that should have been fixed, i most certainly missed them; overall it looked like a very clean post. If more >2k users consider this edit to be too minor I will refrain from similar edits in the future. – user Mar 1 '15 at 15:16
  • @user5061 edits only go through the review queue if you have less than 2,000 reputation. Given how many active members there are who have access to the edit review queue compared to edits from low-rep users, it is not exactly a huge amount of work (the close vote review queue is far larger and more work). – user22815 Mar 2 '15 at 3:19
  • "Especially since the answer had (still have) minor formatting problems" - Are there really formatting problems? Could you point me to them? Because now that i reread the post i see none. If your reasoning was about not giving +2 rep, that's a very bad reason to deny a legit edit. – user Apr 19 '15 at 7:02

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