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While anyone with >1000 rep is allowed to freely edit any post, this privilege comes with the responsibility to ensure that your edits actually improve the post, and don't just clog up the site with noise. The Help Center page on the Edit privilege states:

Tiny, trivial edits are discouraged - try to make the post significantly better when you edit, correcting all problems that you observe.

Editing a post also bumps the question to the top of the homepage. Please be mindful of this and make your edits count, so that the new attention is brought to something substantial.

While it's good to fix problems that you see, you should make sure that:

  1. The edit is substantial and actually improves the question. Don't just play around with it or change the wording of something because you like it better that way.
  2. Try to fix every problem with the question. If you see a spelling error in an old question, don't just edit that one thing, try to improve the whole question. See if there are more typos, formatting errors, issues with tags, etc.
  3. Try to respect the original poster's writing style. If the change is just stylistic and a matter of opinion, don't edit it, even if you would have written it differently.
  4. The standards for editing a question should be higher if it's old. There's no reason to bump a 5-year old question to the top of the homepage just to fix a simple spelling error. If you're going to bring that old question up again, you really should try to improve it significantly.

Sorry if this came out as a bit of a rant, but I thought it was worth bringing up. Please post a response if you disagree with any of this.

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  • This looks like an announcement, NARQ. Sometimes, turning it to a question helps solve the problem better. E.g., "what can we do to overcome the problem of any edit, including minor ones, make posts float to the top of the homepage?" This is not a new problem at all, so it is possible that the community has worked out solutions better than "make it perfect or don't even try". – bytebuster Jun 11 at 4:11
  • @bytebuster since this is tagged as [discussion] I think it's an open invitation for others in our community (rather than the network-wide community) to discuss how they view these tiny edits. I think it's fine to add a new answer if you have another view on or solution to the problem (even if that has already been brought up on main Meta). – JJJ Jun 11 at 15:38
  • @JJJ, fair point, but this <s>question's</s> announcement's title and highlighted statements within its body leave little room for discussion :) – bytebuster Jun 12 at 19:58
  • I don't know why this site doesn't have a 'minor edit' checkbox that keeps small changes from floating a question to the top of the forum. that seems like such an obvious and reasonable addition. – Ted Wrigley Jun 14 at 0:57
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I think you raise many different points which together may be annoying, while they don't have to be individually.

Following your points, I'd counter them as follows:

  1. Yes, edits should improve the post. In fairness though, even a tag-only edit, updating a broken link or fixing a spelling error is an improvement.

  2. While we encourage fixing as many mistakes as you can, it's not a requirement. It's nice, but if you're only aware of one issue then fixing that is an improvement overall. Of course others can easily chip in and edit some more now that the post is bumped to the homepage.

  3. This is true, if there's no real improvement then there's no need to edit in the first place.

  4. Strictly speaking, I think the edit is allowed (and even encouraged) as long as it improves the post.

What your current post doesn't address directly, though it's something you have addressed in a previous question, is edit volume. I think the most important aspect of your frustration is already stated in the first sentence:

Don't just clog up the site with noise.

Overall, I think there should be a balance between those two. On the one hand, I'd like users to edit whenever that improves the posts they're editing. On the other hand, it can be annoying when most of the active page is taken up by minor improvements.

Another aspect where edits can be even more annoying is when closed questions receive a minor edit. This may push the question to the reopen queue when you don't intend to. Relevant question on our Meta. From the answer on Main Meta:

[A]s of December 20th, 2019, a closed question will automatically be added to the reopen queue when it is...

  1. ...Edited (body edits only) within 70 days of closure by the author. Or,

  2. ...Edited (body edits only) within 70 days of closure by a 3rd-party, provided the editor has not also flagged the question or voted to close it. Or,

  3. ...Sufficiently popular, where popularity is calculated based on question score, top answer score, or views per month.

So to give you my advice in an enumerated list:

  1. Feel free to edit when you think it improves the post.

  2. Don't push too many small edits at once (relative to the flow of other activity on the site).

  3. Remember that editing closed questions may push them to the reopen queue. Even a few of those edits can be a burden on other users as it fills up the queue unnecessarily.

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  • I see you’re 1. Taking 2. Shogs 3. Advice 4. To 5. Heart :) – Ekadh Singh Jun 10 at 20:48
  • Those are good points. I don't think it's asking too much for someone to at least read and check the entire post for typos and such when they make an edit, but it's probably better not to discourage edits if they're legitimate. It's also a good point to think of edits not just as an edit, but also a "bump" – that is, don't make the edit if you don't think the question should be bumped (for example, it's appropriately closed or it's a time-sensitive question that's out of date) – divibisan Jun 10 at 21:52

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