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I found myself again in the situation that led up to this question on this meta site asking why a suggested edit was rejected.

Several edits by the same person, some too minor, some bordering on the minor and others just half hearted: a few words changed to the correct way of writing (e.g. wifi -> Wi-Fi), but

  • done inconsistently by not changing all occurrences
  • not changing ungrammatical sentences missing words

Currently there seems to be little beyond rejecting or improving and unchecking that the edit was helpful to leave feedback. And I am not even sure if there is any feedback of that to the "suggested editors". Is there something I can do to let those editors know what they need to improve on the edits (beyond hoping that they look at what I did if I improve and uncheck), to make their edits acceptable for my standards?

The suggested edit that finally triggered this particular question: https://unix.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/39381, but there were a few in a row that where IMHO not so good.

And one of these minor edits that I improved was on a closed Q, thereby triggering it, unnecessarily in the reopen review process (I just noticed that).

If the person in question would be active on chat, I would leave a message there, but the low rep users involved most often are not.

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I have approved quite a few of that user's edits (some of which after additional editing myself); and I agree that many of them tend to be minor.

My view is contrary to the message displayed about not making minor edits: I see these as valid attempts to improve the site that are, from time to time, imperfectly executed and that the overall quality of the site benefits from having people willing to do this sort of work.

More generally, I think the stock response:

This edit is too minor; suggested edits should be substantive improvements addressing multiple issues in the post

should not be regarded as particularly helpful. Capitalizing a single letter can be a valid edit as it—albeit minimally—advances the overall quality of the question or answer and contributes to the imporvement of the site.

If everyone followed the current dictum, small and annoying grammatical errors, typos and other errata would proliferate and the overall impression that people have of the site would be impacted.

Small, janitorial-type edits are just as important in the long term view as the big, sweeping rewrites and the laborious reformatting of mangled posts.

I'd much prefer us to actively encourage people to edit the wiki and collectively push the site to include high quality content that is well written and free of errors. Lots of small edits don't add much to the member's reputation, but they do benefit everyone that uses the site. I'm appreciative of that effort and want to support it.

There are always opportunities for others to review these edits and correct any errors or further improve upon them.

  • 1
    In principle I agree that everything little bit helps, and that we should be grateful for that. When new, ungrammatical parts are introduced in a edit (not with this particular user) I try reject and comment on that. I just get the feeling (no statistics) that suggested editors do not notice their edits get rejected unless most of them are, and they notice not gaining any points. I rather be able to leave them a positive message asking "Can you watch out for X and Y while editing, then more of your edits would be acceptable without change". The current system discourages instead of encourages. – Anthon Feb 21 '14 at 5:53
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    @Anthon Yes, one of the drawbacks of the site is the limited avenues for interaction; it does inhibit the ability for people to coach and encourage newcomers. – jasonwryan Feb 21 '14 at 8:11
  • Maybe we should suggest changes for some more positive way to leave comments? I also don't remember how and if you are notified on what happens with suggested edits, so that makes thinking about what to do (and what the system might already be doing) difficult. And if I remembered, it might have changed with the new taskbar anyway. – Anthon Feb 21 '14 at 8:16
  • @Anthon You could open a feature request, but my sense is that it is by design. From time to time I find it frustrating (I pretty much refuse to use chat because it is so broken), but most of the time I am just resigned to the fact that this is how it works here... – jasonwryan Feb 21 '14 at 8:35
  • +1 I'm very wordy, lol, and sometimes find the "limited avenues for interaction" frustrating too BUT also recognize that might be for the best...ultimately time spent pursing details such as this with individual people might be better spent just doing edits yourself, etc (after all, they aren't doing anything wrong, they're just not doing as much as you'd like). My pseudo-Taoist mixed metaphor of the day: Act like water and work within the form, the fish should thrive, big and little in each their own way ;D – goldilocks Feb 22 '14 at 14:56
  • @goldilocks Indeed; swimming with the flow seems the most rewarding approach. :) – jasonwryan Feb 22 '14 at 18:45
  • goldilocks, jasonwryan: I find it interesting that you should choose an analogy that includes “fish,” “water”, “swimming” and “flow”, because I have a counterargument that also features “fish”: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach him how to fish, you feed him for life.” The drive-by suggestor (the user without edit privileges who suggests an edit that fixes only a small subset of the problems in a post) is doing something wrong, inasmuch as he is creating work for a conscientious high-rep user. … (Cont’d) – G-Man Jul 13 '16 at 19:20
  • (Cont’d) …  (And, arguably, is also misbehaving in that he is farming rep for shoddy work.)  If you can communicate with such a person and train him to be more thorough when he edits, you might create a user who churns out high-quality edits rather than low-quality ones, and you will have accomplished more than you can by fixing a never-ending stream of inferior suggestions. Note, as terdon points out, that the (now defunct) “too minor” rejection reason … (Cont’d) – G-Man Jul 13 '16 at 19:21
  • (Cont’d) …  was never meant to be a reason not to do an edit.  It is only a reason for a low-rep user not to clutter the review queue with suggestions for incomplete edits that high-rep users must deal with. (And, while I have some sympathy for the guy who sees a typo and wants to fix it, we all know that there are people who make their livelihood by suggesting edits.  They are motivated by the rep at least as much as by the goal of improving the quality of the site, and they seem to look for excuses to edit things.) – G-Man Jul 13 '16 at 19:22
  • @G-Man my experience of the site is that the majority of people are here for free fish and chips, and the fishing instructors are left standing around with their poles on their hands... – jasonwryan Jul 13 '16 at 20:00
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I have a slightly different take on this than @jasonwryan's. I also rejected the specific edit in question as too minor. Basically, I feel that such minor edits are great from users with enough rep to make them directly but are not worth going through the edit queue as I feel they just produce unnecessary "work" for the high rep users who review the queues.

Yes, all edits that improve a post's quality are good for the site. However, tiny edits like changing "wifi" to "Wi-Fi" do not really add anything that useful to the post and just needlessly fill the review queue. The cynical bastard person in me also sometimes thinks they are just cheap tricks to get easy rep. This is probably truer in the larger sites of the network than here but still, the thought occurs.

They also push old posts back to the first page or into the reopen queue. While this is also true for edits made by >2k rep users, they tend to know how the site works better and would not edit a closed question.

So, in all I feel that such minor edits are best left to the users who have the rep to do it directly and submitting them for review causes needless load on the system. On sites where I don't have the rep for example, I have often left a comment to the OP pointing out the typo so they can fix it themselves.

Specifically, edits that actually correct spelling or grammar mistakes I would approve as I don't think they are ever "minor", corrections of SuSe to SUSE or wifi to Wi-Fi and the like I tend to reject as too minor.

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