Is there a reason why edits must be 6 characters long?

E.g. a parameter in recursively copy only images and preserve path is missing 1 character.

  • 2
    In this particular example, the code as posted works anyway (cp --parent is shorthand for cp --parents since GNU utilities accept any unambiguous prefix of a long option name). Sep 1, 2011 at 22:36

3 Answers 3


From an answer on Meta Stack Overflow:

Remember, when you suggest an edit, it requires multiple other people to look at it and approve it. The character limit is to prevent people from wasting time by looking at exceptionally minor edits. So, don't limit yourself to just a tiny edit: try to see if you can improve the post to a possible state of perfection. If you hit all errors on a post, then no one else will even need to edit it.

Once you hit 2k reputation, and thus your edits don't need to go through the approval process, you can make those tiny changes without the limit in the way.

The part about multiple people doesn't apply here (it only takes one user to approve; on SO it's two), but the character limit exists for the same reason -- they don't want people flooding the queue with trivial edits. In this case the best option was probably to leave a comment telling the answerer about the mistake, although it looks like it's already been fixed

  • 2
    I disagree here. Why can`t the system accept these tiny edits after asking a second time "are your really sure"?
    – Nils
    Oct 9, 2011 at 21:08
  • 1
    @Nils Would anyone ever say no? Oct 9, 2011 at 21:32
  • In an ideal world - yes. ;-) I see your point here.
    – Nils
    Oct 11, 2011 at 20:35

The quality of an improvement can't be measured in characters. Especially a code snipple can be turned from wrong to right by changing a single character.

Forcing the user to improve parts of a question, which doesn't need improvements, will not improve the text. It will just annoy and cost some time.

  • 1
    It can be annoying I agree, but this can easily be worked around by including a hyperlink, which can come in handy.
    – tshepang
    Sep 1, 2011 at 16:05
  • 4
    Why should I search for a hyperlink, if somebody wrote a & b instead of a && b? Inserting useless content, just to serve a kafkaesk rule, can be of more harm than minor edits. Or inserting <!-just a comment-> - later users and editors will wonder, what it means. Sep 1, 2011 at 16:14
  • But you already have enough reputation that you can just make the edit anyway....
    – Wildcard
    Feb 25, 2016 at 8:12
  • 2
    @Wildcard: Is it that unusual to you, to think about others, to remember of unprivileged time? Rules should work for a community, not just for some individualls, especially if those individuals aren't affected by that rule. Feb 25, 2016 at 11:51
  • 2
    I would correct your typo "quetion" but it's less than 6 characters - oh, the irony! :)
    – geo909
    Jan 18, 2017 at 15:36

I've registered with U&L yesterday and came across this issue three times now, when trying to add tags or missing quotes as I used to over at SO. I can sincerely say I consider this limitation an unnecessary nuisance :-(

  • 1
    One day and 83 points? You'll get to 2k in no time at all. :D
    – muru
    Feb 23, 2016 at 1:23
  • @muru is right; it really doesn't take very long to get to the rep level where you can just make edits instead of suggesting them. (And on a disrelated note, I love your avatar. :)
    – Wildcard
    Feb 25, 2016 at 8:14
  • @muru Has there been a change in the tagging privilege since I posted my question? I've just been able to add a tag (still pending moderation) without the nag.
    – Murphy
    Feb 26, 2016 at 19:20
  • @Murphy I have been seeing tag only edits for a while now, enough for me to post a fq about it.
    – muru
    Feb 26, 2016 at 20:15
  • @muru Then there may be some hidden (?) tagging privilege, as I wasn't able to add tags without fulfilling the 6-char-edit requirement while my reputation was < 200; yet I am now.
    – Murphy
    Feb 27, 2016 at 18:14

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